It takes guts to name a song “My Block,” knowing that it will inevitably draw comparisons to Scarface’s anthem–one of the greatest street raps ever laid down. But Joell has always had balls of brass…
His “Covering the Classics” mixtapes is one of my favorites–never outdated, never tired. And as for Apollo Brown, well, he’s the perfect DJ for a rapper who likes to hew close to older school material. Ortiz is an O.G., for sure, even if his major label deal imploded and ever since he’s pretty much been known only to underground headz and fans of the collective Slaughterhouse.
Mona Lisa is a worthy addition to Ortiz’s catalog, as well as Brown’s. The beats are East Coast grime, the lyrics the same–just an all around solid rap album. And there’s just one cameo: Royce Da 5’9″. Royce is the perfect partner for Otiz, and their street-fighting cut, “Timberlan’d Up,” is tough and raw.