Aftermath Signee Joell Ortiz Is No Sellout, "Dr. Dre Makes You Bigger, He Doesn't Change You"

 Though the days of artists yelling "please listen to my demo" may be fading, don't tell that to Joell Ortiz. This Brooklyn lyricist caught the ear of Dr. Dre after the super producer heard his CD and in no time Ortiz went from ashy to classy. While J.O.'s "not eating Spaghetti O's out the can no more," he can still eat up your favorite rapper without breaking a sweat.

"My deal didn't come from me running around New York all crazy everyday rhyming everywhere. Mine came from Dre getting the CD and saying 'play that again, he's crazy, let's fly him out,'" Ortiz said.

"The mistake that people make is that they start rhyming about what happens to them, cars, house, etc. None of that helped you get here," Ortiz continued. "I rap for the audience who loves the art. You ain't gonna hear flossy shit from me cause that's not my style. I'm raising the bar. Dudes are out here doing 16's, I'm doing 125's."

Though signed to Aftermath, Ortiz will be delivering fans his frist album via Koch Records. The Brick (Bodega Chronicles), which takes it's title from O's 125 bar verses, features guest spots from Big Daddy Kane, Maino, Ras Kass, M.O.P. and Immortal Technique and beats by Showbiz (of D.I.T.C.) and The Alchemist.

"I wanted to drop an indie [album] to get my fan base up, but it so happened that Dre was feeling it and they came at the same time," the rapper explained. "With The Brick, I wrote it when I was still on the grind, before the deal. People been beating me in the head with 'you gotta bring New York back' but New York never died, you can't kill it."

"This album got that early New York feeling, cause we've been shying away from what we do [lately]," Ortiz said. "I'm a nice MC, not a rapper, an MC. I know what's missing and I'm trying to start something here."

With The Brick serving as a preview to his Aftermath project, some may suspect that Ortiz would be feeling the pressure of trying to live up to a Dr. Dre co-sign. But for Ortiz, it's just another day in the studio.

"What I found out about Dre is, he makes you bigger, but he doesn't change you. He makes you a better artist but it's still you, he says. " I don't know how not to be hip-hop. I don't know how to sellout, dude. When you're lyrical like I am, you gotta be nice and say something. I just want people to say I'm consistent, that I broke down barriers and that I'm nice, and not just for a Spanish rapper. It's my turn. They better put their rain jackets on 'cause it's about to be a storm."

The Brick (Bodega Chronicles) hits shelves on April 24.

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