Free Agent, Joell Ortiz, 2010

I waited for this album to drop for months and out of nowhere, and somehow, I missed the fact that it already dropped as a digital download. Physical copies will be available in March, but who buys cd's anymore? Free Agent was pushed back from summer 2010 to a full release in early spring 2011.

Joell Ortiz is 25% of head from hip hop's Cerberus+1, aka Slaughterhouse. Ortiz dropped a single from this album name Call Me (She Said), last summer and I patiently waited for it to drop until I finally forgot about it. In that time, I picked up the majority of his mixtapes to hold me over until Free Agent dropped.  It deflated my excitement for the album because I had these other albums to listen to, but I imagine it will only affect how the album performs commercially. Quality hip hop always prevails and stands up against time, in my opinion.

From what I understand about Joell Ortiz, he has problems with record labels and that is partially why he calls this album called Free Agent. Apparently, Ortiz had problems with Aftermath, So So Def and it has been covered to death in the underground scene. All of that drama doesn't matter to me because Ortiz's lyrical skills put him at the head of his class.

[audio:http://ra-nyc.com/boywithstick/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/12-Oh-feat.-Iffy-Explicit.mp3|titles=12 - Oh! (feat. Iffy, prod. by Large Professor)]

Before you approach Joell Ortiz's music, you have to be able to appreciate someone that makes you laugh with nasty, graphic descriptions and funny comparisons at dizzying speed. Ortiz is a Puerto Rican battle rapper from Brooklyn and eventhough he is featured on a lot of other albums, he doesn't advertise his alliances.  He works with a lot of respected producers and rappers though and it makes for classic tracks. Free Agent has an impressive list of mostly NYC featured mc's/producers including Fat Joe, Sheek Louch, Styles P and Jadakiss, Just Blaze, Royce Da 5' 9, Funkmaster Flex, Large Professor and DJ Premier.

I haven't heard too much hype about this album and that could be because I don't listen to the radio or watch MTV/BET.  Either way, this album is worth picking up.  Ortiz has a raw style of controversial lyrics and he offsets it with paying homage to Big Pun and Biggie often, rep'ing Brooklyn and showing how creative and lyrical talents.  I was expecting this album to get him a little more exposure, but it seems like the Slaughterhouse album is getting more attention right now.

Top Tracks

Intro, Put Some Money On It, One Shot, Sing Like Bilal, Finish What You Start, Battle Cry, Nursery Rhyme, So Hard, Oh!, Good Man Is Gone,



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