Joell Ortiz Makes Art Out Of Anxiety. He Puts His Darkest Thoughts On The Table (Video)

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If there is anything that these past few have proven, it’s that Slaughterhouse co-founder Joell Ortiz abides by an incredible work ethic. Last year, the Brooklyn, New York veteran MC linked up with Michigan producer Apollo Brown for a joint record, Mona Lisa. At the top of 2019 came Ortiz’ collaboration album alongside Dipset affiliates The Heatmakerz, and Bronx’ Fred The Godson for Gorilla Glue. Then, at the top of the summer, the rapper linked up with Grammy-Award Winning producer Salaam Remi for BoxTalk. It wasn’t until the final days of August that Joell Ortiz readied the release of his latest solo project and ode to his labor of craft, Monday, to further prove his freakishly lively output.

This week, a cut from Monday gets the video treatment with “Anxiety.” It is a tell-all track that depicts Joell Ortiz’ personal and previously private struggle with mental health. Here, the Brooklyn rapper candidly opens up about his internal issues, exploring topics that weigh heavily on his mind and detailing the severity of his anxiousness.

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The visual opens up with Ortiz holding a gun to his head as a solution to silence his overworking thoughts, before breaking out into his first verse. He raps with sincerity over an instrumental by Nottz, telling the audience how he avoids his career duties for the sake of attempting to catch-up with himself:  “I feel funny / Shouldn’t I be happy? I get money / Instead, I put on all new clothes and feel crummy / But I’m showin’ up for work like I’m a-okay, Anxiety? Who, me? No way, José / I hide behind a smile while my mind is runnin’ wild / Nervous for no reason, heart beatin’ like a mile a minute / Where’s the nearest bathroom? I’m in it / Splash some water on my face, wipe it dry, let’s get it / That’s my life in a nutshell, feel like I’m goin’ nuts, well / Let’s keep it on the low, can’t let ’em know that you ain’t upscale / I shouldn’t even carry real ID /Forgot what it feels like to really feel like me.”

He dives even further into his pain, explaining how his struggle with anxiety is overcoming his willingness to be in the public eye, and how it’s propelled feelings of depression in his lifestyle: “Sometimes I hear a song and wanna cry / It brings me to before I was this guy and puts water in my eyes / I keep my faith strong, if there’s a Lord up in the sky / I pray that I feel happy one more time before I die / I get glimpses / Then it’s gone in an instance / Joy’s in front of me and then it’s off in the distance / No one in my phone book I could call for assistance / ‘Cause they won’t understand what I be goin’ through, what is this?

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The song is frank and thoughtful, as Ortiz describes the symptoms of anxiety he feels with urgency for the track’s hook: “Okay, oh no, first I can’t catch a breath, Feel the moisture as I begin to sweat / I start feelin’ dizzy like my balance left / And now my heart’s beatin’ like it’s out my chest / It’s happenin’ again, it’s happenin’ again / But you can’t tell nobody, they gon’ think you crazy / It’s happenin’ again, it’s happenin’ again, Just let it pass, boy, you’ll be good, baby.

Similar to the genuineness Ortiz shows on “Anxiety,” Monday also features the rapper’s heart-felt dedication to his mother with “Momma,” a sweet Blakk Soul-featuring tune that shows vulnerable tenderness. Monday, according to Ortiz, is an album dedicated to the grind. “Working people normally dread Mondays,” he says on the album. “Not me, though. I embrace them! Feels like another opportunity. Another chance. The beginning of what’s ahead.”

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Monday is out now, courtesy of Mello Music Group, and features an appearance from Big K.R.I.T.

#BonusBeat: Joell Ortiz speaking about his anxiety with The Library With Tim Einenkel. Many episodes of the show, as well as an interview with Ortiz and Apollo Brown, are available at AFH TV. We are currently offering free 7-day trial subscriptions: