Album Review | Joell Ortiz – The Brick: Bodega Chronicles

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I know this is a really random review, but it was the next thing on my schedule, so fuck it. It was released on April 24th in 2007. The first time I’d ever heard of Joell Ortiz was when I was playing Grand Theft Auto IV, so I must’ve been about 9 or 10 years old. There was a radio station in that game called The Beat 102.7, and it had a remix of a song by Joell Ortiz called Hip Hop. Keep in mind, this was before I really got into Hip Hop at all. I mean, I always secretly liked Hip Hop, but I didn’t wanna admit it because I thought it was corny. I never heard anything besides the mainstream stuff that was on the popular radio stations. Aside from that song, the only other music I’ve ever heard from Joell Ortiz is a few singles from his 2014 album, House Slippers, and his joint album with !llmind, Human, which I reviewed last summer. I’ve of course heard him on a lot of features too. I’m not really sure how this album was received, but I’m expecting it to be dope. I’ve only heard one song from this album, but I loved it.

Track 1: 125, Pt. 1 (The Bio) [Prod. Moss]

Joell’s goin’ in right away. Huh… His voice sounds weird on this track… It’s like he’s trying to make it sound deeper than it really is. Or maybe his voice has changed since 2007. He doesn’t sound like this on Hip Hop tho… Whatever. It’s not really a bad thing. It’s just kinda weird. This beat is wack. Damn. Joell’s rappin’ his fuckin’ ass off right now. I wish the beat was better… I guess this whole song is just one long ass verse. He’s been goin’ in for over 3 minutes now. He killed this shit. It’s over 5 minutes of bars. The beat sucked tho. That really holds this shit back for me. I still fuck with the song tho. Joell was spittin’ too hard for me to not fuck with this shit. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 2: Brooklyn (Remix) Feat. Cashmere, Maino, Solomon & Big Daddy Kane [Prod. JPaz]

I don’t know who the hell Cashmere & Solomon are. The only thing I know about Maino is that he’s a hard ass motherfucker, and that he has a fucking God-awful song called Hi Hater. Of course I know who Big Daddy Kane is. I never heard the original version of Brooklyn. I’m assuming that’s a popular song from one of Joell’s earlier mixtapes. Okay, it’s starting now. This beat is cool. Oh no… This… Ugh… REALLY? Are you fuckin’ shitting me Joell? I hate it when rappers end every single bar with the same word. This first verse from Joell isn’t very good. I mean, it’s decent, but nah. Every line ends with Solomon yelling “BROOKLYN!” He’s barely even rhyming. Oh my fucking God… THE WHOLE FUCKING SONG IS LIKE THIS? EVERY SINGLE VERSE? EVERY SINGLE MOTHERFUCKING LINE?? Dog… FUUUCK! I don’t believe this shit… Jesus fucking Christ. Whose fucking idea was this? Cashmere’s verse did nothing for me. This is so disappointing… Maino’s verse wasn’t good. I can’t believe they actually did this. Wow. He really wasted that Big Daddy Kane feature… Nah. I’m not feelin’ this song. 2/5

Track 3: Caught Up (Prod. DJ EMZ)

The way these tracks roll into each other reminds me of Tech N9ne’s albums. That’s not a good thing. I’m not really feelin’ this beat. The horns sound bizarrely weak. I’m not really feelin’ this hook either. This first verse is dope af tho. He killed that shit. Man… I just wish this hook was better. Or nonexistent… Fuck, man… The second verse was awesome. WHY? Why does this always happen? The hook… No, man. The verses are great, but this song is really underwhelming sonically. The production and hook really hold this one back for me. Joell was rappin’ his ass off tho. It’s alright I guess. 3/5

Track 4: Night In My P’s Feat. Big Noyd (Prod. Ax The Bull)

The production on this album is really weak so far. This is probably one of the better beats tho. The first verse from Joell was dope af. The hook is super simplistic, but it works. Big Noyd’s goin’ in now. His verse was really good too. I don’t really have anything to say. This song is just two very good verses. The beat is average, and the hook adds nothing to the song for me. Nothing about this song is really bad tho. I enjoyed it. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 5: 125, Pt. 2 (Fresh Air) [Prod. Frank Dukes]

This beat is cool. This is definitely the best beat on the album so far. Goddamn. Joell fuckin’ ripped this track apart. He’s rappin’ his motherfuckin’ ass off right now. The song is structured the same way as the first track. It’s just one long ass verse. This one is much more enjoyable tho. Mostly because the beat is way better. This is definitely my favorite song on the album so far. The song ends really abruptly, which kinda sucks. Joell was gettin’ fuckin’ busy on this track tho. This shit is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 6: Hip Hop (Prod. Hecks)

I already know this song is dope af. This is the first beat on the album that I really think is far above average. This song should be on every Hip Hop elitist’s playlist. “Yo, do me a favor; accidentally step on your white sun glasses. We don’t wear those over here, this is Hip Hop.” Hopefully that quote from the intro of this song helps you understand what I just said. I fuck with the song tho. Each verse is great, and the hook is really fuckin’ dope too. “I wake up Hip Hop, go to sleep Hip Hop, dream ’bout Hip Hop ‘cause I am Hip Hop.” I’m more familiar with the remix to this song, which had Jadakiss & Saigon, but this version is still really dope. I definitely fuck with this song. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 7: Modern Day Slavery Feat. Immortal Technique (Prod. Jonyfraze)

I can tell from the feature and the title of this song that this is about to be preachy as fuck. I like Immortal Tech tho, and if they do it well it could be a really good song. It’s starting now. Oh, wow. This beat is actually really fuckin’ dope… I fuck with the hook too. The first verse from Joell was great. Wow. This is actually a lot better than I was expecting it to be. As you probably could’ve guessed from the title, they’re rapping about the fucked up prison system. Tech’s verse was dope af. Damn. This song is actually really fuckin’ dope. I feel like it could’ve used another verse, but it was still really good. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 8: 125, Pt. 3 (Connections) Feat. Ras Kass, Sha Stimuli, Grafh & Gab Gotcha [Prod. Frank Dukes]

Okay, this should be great. I’m not as familiar with Ras Kass as I should be. I know he’s supposed to be dope af tho. I’ve heard of Sha Stimuli, but I don’t really know anything about him. Or her. Or them. Grafh is dope when he’s really trying. He has a song called Trap Phone Ringin’, and it’s absolutely terrible. I’ve never even heard of Gab Gotcha. Okay, it’s starting now. This beat is dope. Ras Kass is goin’ in first. His verse was great. Joell came in right behind him with a really dope verse. Sha Stimuli killed his verse. Damn. Grafh went the fuck off too. Gab Gotcha did his thing. This song is fucking awesome. The production got kinda old after a while, but everyone on this track was spittin’ like a motherfucker. I definitely fuck with this song. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 9: BQE Feat. Lord Black (Prod. The Alchemist)

This beat is kinda dope. I think The Alchemist can do better tho. The hook is nothing special. This beat is actually growing on me the more I listen to it. The first verse was dope. Lord Black did his thing on the second verse. What the fuck… Those vocals in the background during the hook are annoying as fuck. Who the fuck is that? It sounds like some 5 year old kid. I don’t think he was speaking English tho… The final verse was pretty good. Ugh… I don’t think I’m gonna be coming back to this song. It’s not really bad at all. There’s just very little replay value for me personally. It’s alright. 3/5

Track 10: Block Royal (Prod. Prince & Machavelli)

…Prince? Prince produced this song? That’s definitely not true… Was it legal for this producer to call himself Prince? Whatever. Prince probably didn’t give a shit if some irrelevant Hip Hop producer was using that name. Anyway, the hook on this song is pretty bad. The beat’s nothing special. The first verse was cool. The second verse wasn’t bad. Meh. This is a decent song, but, just like with the previous track, I won’t be coming back to this shit. It’s alright. 3/5

Track 11: Latino Feat. La Bruja (Prod. The Mighty V.I.C.)

I hope this song is as good as its sequel. This beat is fine. The first verse was cool… You remember how I said that I hoped this song would be as good as its sequel a few sentences ago? It’s not… This hook is wack. This line seems pretty fuckin’ offensive to Latinas… “We got beautiful women, and they all seem to know their way around the kitchen.” I guess it would be more offensive if a white dude said it. I feel like that stereotype pretty much applies to all races except white people… The background vocals from La Bruja sound really corny to me. The second verse was decent. The final verse was cool. Nah. I’m not really feelin’ this song. The verses weren’t really bad, but they didn’t stand out that much to me. The beat was nothing special, and I didn’t like the hook. It’s cool that they made such a dope sequel to this song, but this one just didn’t do it for me. It’s decent tho. 3/5

Track 12: Keep On Callin’ Feat. Akon (Prod. P-Money)

Why. Why did he have to have an Akon feature? Fuck, man… Alright, let’s get this shit over with… I just can’t stand Akon’s voice… Joell already loses points for the F bomb in the first verse. I’m not feelin’ this shit. That line about how the food keeps on callin’ was corny. I’m not really feelin’ this beat. This isn’t the worst song I’ve ever heard, but it’s still wack to me. I’d never wanna hear this shit again. I’m not feelin’ it. 2/5

Track 13: Time Is Money Feat. Styles P (Prod. Street Radio)

This beat is dope. The first verse from Styles P was good. Joell definitely had the better verse tho. I’ve always thought that Styles P had a really lazy flow. This song has a really simplistic structure. It’s just two verses with a short break in between. There’s not really much to say. I fuck with the song. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 14: Brooklyn Bullshit (Prod. Showbiz)

I’m not really feelin’ this beat to be honest. It’s not terrible, but it does nothing for me personally. The first verse was fine I guess. The way his verse is structured is pretty underwhelming for me. The hook is nothing special. Wow… This is a surprisingly underwhelming track. I was expecting this to be dope because it seems to be one of the more popular songs from this album, but… Nah… It’s not that good. I don’t like this song. I don’t think it’s terrible, but I’d never come back to it. It’s boring as shit to be honest. 3/5

Track 15: 125, Pt. 4 (Finale) [Prod. Frank Dukes]

This beat is pretty good. This song has the same structure as all the other 125 songs. This is probably the most personal song on the album tho. Joell just sounds really hungry. I guess that makes sense since this was his first album. He’s rapping about how he doesn’t wanna blow his opportunity to make it big in the Hip Hop industry. It’s a dope song. It’s REALLY dope actually. I just don’t have a lot to say about it. 5/5

Final Thoughts:

Holy fuck… That album seriously took me forever to review… When did I start this shit? …Damn… Hahaha. I started this review on July 28th. It usually takes me like 1 day to review an album. I just could not bring myself to finish this shit tho. I don’t even know why ’cause it’s a good album. It is very flawed tho. It started off really slow… The ending was actually pretty rough too. Joell was spittin’ on this album, but the lackluster production and underwhelming structure of a lot of the songs really held this shit back. This isn’t an album that you put on to enjoy sonically. This is an album for the elitists. I got a good amount of dope tracks outta this project, but I don’t really think I’d be missing out if I never heard this shit. If you’re a casual fan of Joell Ortiz you might enjoy this, but you definitely won’t be blown away. It’s a solid effort. Joell can and has done better tho. Human is far better than this in my opinion. It’s still a dope album tho. I fuck with it.

Favorite Song: Hip Hop

Least Favorite Song: Brooklyn

Verdict:

74%

70-79

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