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Album Review | Joell Ortiz - Monday

Album Review | Joell Ortiz - Monday

There is something incredibly beautiful about watching Hip-Hop mature and grow. Over the years we have seen the maturation of Jay-Z, owning his dirt on 4:44, Bun B become a man and Kanye do whatever it is that Kanye does.But for the most part artists don’t always embrace their longevity in the same way. Mainstream is a young man’s game, and for some looking to stay relevant, it’s tempting to attempt to keep up.

Joell Ortiz is not one of those artists.

Following last years near-classic "Mona Lisa" Joell returns to us, but his voice has changed. It is plain to see that Mr Ortiz is no longer the angry talented young man we knew and loved when he first hit XXL's Unsigned Hype - it is less raspy than previous albums. He sounds older and wiser but has not lost his way with words. Presented unfiltered is the last verse of the first track ‘Monday’:

“I post up on the throne, don’t end up on a highlight
Poster ‘cause you grown, who you ‘posed to be? Malone?

I deliver like Post Offices, pre-Post Malones
You’d dick ride if you saw what I don’t post on my phone

Every lines a great line, baby, New York’s own
It’s like I play for Jim Boeheim, boy stay in that zone

This my house, trespassin’ I don’t condone
Let me be, don’t be them two niggas from Home Alone

And get iron in your face tryna roam where you don’t belong”
— Joell Ortiz - Monday

In the era of trap music, lyricism like this is rare and we are still only on the opening track. A few tracks in he touches on his anxiety attacks feelings of displacement:

“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?

Why won’t it go away? Never thought I would know a day.
That the ship captain started actin’ like a stowaway.”
— Joell Ortiz - Anxiety

The song is something is something anyone who has ever had a panic or anxiety attack can identify with.

There is no guest appearances - this is Mr Ortiz on his one and only and at his best. He is now a family man but frustrated by his kids on social media:

“Phone screen, tablet screen, computer screen
Eighty-inch TV screen, I never seen.

So many ways to look away from the world
These screens raisin’ ya sons, babysittin’ your girls

So many screens
Everyone say hi, you’re on a screen.”
— Joell Ortiz - Screens

By the end of the album Joell realises he will never be an award-winning artist but he is happy in his position as a well-regarded artist that true hip-hop fans will always recognise. There is no shame in being a Bun B or Joell Ortiz - those who want and wish to know will always know those in the know.

Read More by Ian O’Shea

Disclaimer: This article is not for commercial ends and no gratuities were asked for or received from any products or companies mentioned herein. Chrystal 2019

Musique | 5 chansons à écouter en Turquie

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