Joell Ortiz Says Most Rap Millionaires Are “Scared Silly” Of His Rich Bars (Audio)
In the eyes of some, Kendrick Lamar’s #1 status and fast-track to platinum with DAMN. suggests that lyricism, clever songwriting, and album-making is winning. Clearly, for one Compton, California creative master, it is. However, it took Kendrick some years and quite a few apparent setbacks to get that spot. At the top of the decade, K-Dot was another MC looking to stand out in the blogosphere, and seize every opportunity available to him. So many are still out there.
Joell Ortiz has been rapping even longer than Kendrick. A decade before To Pimp A Butterfly, the Brooklyn, New Yorker was the MC fast at work at Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment. Nothing released. However, Ortiz’ career rallied. Back to independence, the MC plugged away with acclaimed albums, co-founded a celebrated bar-brotherhood in Slaughterhouse, and helped drive real change in the landscape.
On “Rap Millionaire,” one can hear that just over a decade after The Brick: Bodega Chronicles, Ortiz still needs answers, and still feels wary navigating a tricky, highly-political industry. He makes several pointed swipes at a number of targets. First up is superstar rappers seen as lyrical, who he believes is scared of him. “Trust me, I bump into these rappers you think is barred up. They see me and get hit by Polaris.Yeah, they be star struck. Say that me and them should collaborate on a raw cut, and then all of them become Oregon. Man, they all duck,” he raps. He goes on, literally calling them “scared silly.” From there, Joell makes a reference that may spark rumors, given the timing of the record’s release. He raps “If I dropped a few bars out of thin air, would you care? Would the air feel like it’s thinning, anticipating what you gon’ hear? Would it break the Internet and get a million shares, same way it do for these popular Rap millionaires?”
The track is a collaboration with !llmind, with whom he made 2015’s Human.
Not a woe-is-me moment in the least, Joell Ortiz spits about why “breaking the Internet” and having plugs at the platforms is not the motivation. He celebrates creating art in the image of those who influenced him, while listening to dub tapes on the bus. Today, as he takes the ferry to the studio daily, he weighs what excites Rap fans anymore. This is his passion and his vocation, and it’s about “bars” not metrics.