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Mello Music Group

Monday

by Joell Ortiz

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1.
2.
I hear niggas like... what’s going on he been missing He used to run the show, it’s been a long intermission I remember the mission he was on it was different He was sick, now my nigga done gone in remission That’s what y’all think? Y’all think I lost my step Was on a run, but had to stop and never caught my breath.. I’m drenched, I’m on the bench wit like 4 more reps In otherwords, I got sh*t left to get off my chest Coming up you heard the hunger in me, tough as can be You couldn’t sound cloudy nigga nuttin was free If u ain’t get a record deal then u was stuck in the pees Wit dees tryna Spotify had a wonderful stream Of income, my outcome was suttin to see I was in the Jeep, sunk in the seat, beats bumping tryna outrap Nasir and Keep up wit Jay Z Crumbling 16s I was only 16 Fast forward, niggas out here mumbling B Why be smart? When niggas on the charts dumber than me A Bunch of bums wit more money than me So staying Complex, yea that’s a Everyday Struggle for me I’m from when everybody wanted 5 Mics And Riggs Morales gave u Unsigned Hype if You rhyme right A stretch Armstrong spin was a highlight And all the mixtapes was 2 for 5 like treys of that Fire white I understand why some would retire mics, Pack up turntables the tables turned wild right? But me I’m in it fully... it’s like that one bitch I just can’t stop fucking man these beats to something to me I post up on the throne Don’t end up on a highlight poster cause you grown Who u posed to be Malone? I delivered like Post offices pre post Malone’s You’d dickride if u saw what I don’t post on my phone Ey lines a great line baby New York’s Own It’s like I play for Jim Boeheim Boy stay in that zone This is my house, trespassing I don’t condone Let me be don’t be them 2 niggaz from Home Alone And get iron in face tryna roam where you don’t belong Brooklyn, Staten, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx I stomps through all of that what happened? New York I’m so proud to be yo Captain.... Enjoy the rapping
3.
I’m prolly one of the illest in the flesh wit writtens Various letters that connect wit rhythms boy don’t be the next victim I delivers wit Gilette precision You’ll get popped like razor bumps all on ya neck for itching To try to come for the title, not yo best decision I’ll put them Nikeys on ice, yea u get checked for slipping.. I’m number 1 when that number 2 pencil lead twistin No lie.. No whole wheat and no Rye I’m bred different Been nice a long time just In case u forgot I don’t care where u get yo cut, they say my name in that shop I don’t care where the beat drop, I lay some flames and it pop My pants drop, baddest thots look like the making Salaat I don’t make record that the radio be playing a lot But that’s cool, chain still weighing a lot I’m on the way to my spot in the Benz trucks, just bought my lady the drop Haters watch as we his and hers Mercedes the lot Hook: Sip Slow homie Yea, enjoy the show Sip Slow homie Verse 2: I’m watching em watch me they sloppy could never copy the papi they do some pretty good renditions but they not me You’re Actually one World away how you gone stop me when I’m cruising at a Mach 3 on moons wit Anunakis I’m cool where life got me.. in way above that block popping Roxys, but still below ducking Papparazis And the flow well that keeps me kinda cocky I’m nice, the feature price 5 dice, on these mics screaming Yahtzee Worried bout mine.. Quick question, what is you up to? Me? I’m making music wit the idols that I grew up to On stages in true Blues, Jet Blues to Ws wit pool views feel like a baby owl.. Who knew? Michele’s only son that sold crack in the circle A be the same kid with gold plaques in commercials .. cause he can really rap, no trap, no commercial But this ain’t me vs you, don’t take it personal Hook: Sip Slow Homie Yea, enjoy the show Sip Slow Homie
4.
This my National Anthem Probably feel like Opera music in the Phantom Ain’t got one of those, but the Benz nose is gigantic Them LEDs sneeze, it’s allergies as i Breeze Down Atlantic I never get to flex so let me talk my shit dammit.. whoever said lyricists money ain’t wavy need to can it Cause I ca see the waves In my pool from my hammock Ice smoking as I pour the Johnny Walker blue Slanted My wife she pop Rose like Jack did in Titanic Blasting music, but the neighbors too far to understand it so.. We Turn it higher, Bonfire in my yard while the homies shuffle cards i live large, they live large We rockstars, no guitars, backwoods rolling by R Stuff the granddad til it look like my granddaddy cigar Half a kilo on the chain call me Neckscobar golf Ball diamonds in the Roley so far from sub par switch it out wit the Azad, on God this no fassad Beef? Don’t even wrap ya head around it like jihad The wind Chester knock the wind outta ya chest from 50 yards I don’t halfstep nothing I go harddddd Hook: I’m a Champion Raise my arm, I’m a champion Know my name, I’m a champion Raise my arm, I’m a champion Raise my arm... Champion Verse 2: I felt like it was eybody versus me Now let’s toast cause everydays my anniversary Celebrate the boy that climbed through adversity well versed, versatile when it come to laying verses B Went from emerging to filling that emergency room Wit any rapper doing work and feel they worth a speech My bars like clay they take shape and just murder beats Im at that Barclay in row A wit the perfect seats You having trouble tryna stay afloat? I Just bought the crib on the lake, yea me and you ain’t in the same boat Buoy.. This feel good I never talk crazy This for the smiles in my face niggas that all hate me I’m 2 adored for you to root for? Or is it the 2 door zooming up route 4? Yea.. Rap figures better than trap figures Especially when you rap better than all the trap niggas Hook: I’m a Champion Raise my arm, I’m a champion Know my name, I’m a champion Raise my arm, I’m a champion Raise my arm...
5.
(free) 03:27
Waking ups a struggle, I used to wanna hustle I used to want the whole world to know that I existed now I cuddle In the bed wit myself hoping the phone don’t ring Hoping a text don’t come through, an email don’t bling I feel funny... Shouldn’t I be happy? I get money Instead I put on all new clothes and feel crummy But I’m showing up for work like I’m A. ok Anxiety? who me? no way Jose ... I Hide behind a smile while my mind is running wild Nervous for no reason heart beating 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 I’m a nutshell feel like I’m going 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 I.D Forgot what it feels like to really feel like me... Hook: Ok... Oh No! 1st I can’t catch a breath feel the moisture as I begin to sweat I Start feeling dizzy like my balance left And Now my hearts beating like it’s out my chest... It’s happening again.. it’s happening again.. But you can’t tell nobody they gon think you crazy... it’s happening again... it’s happening again.. Just let it pass boy, you’ll be good baby... Anxiety verse 2: 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 joys 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 going through what is this??? Why won’t it go away never thought I would know a day That the ship captain started acting like a stow away I’m Thinking bout a meeting tomorrow with sweaty palms now Like if I catch a panick attack, how can I calm down? Nervous that I might feel nervous, what a vicious cycle I See myself fading away without the vitiligo I hit the gym and try to get off some steam But I get anxiety just tryna pick a machine Some pictures make me smile cause my figure was lean And then the very next thought is I can’t get in them jeans Wish that I could go to sleep, wake up and life is sweet, but truth is I fight this beast in the middle of dreams Hook: Ok... Oh No! 1st I can’t catch a breath feel the moisture as I begin to sweat I Start feeling dizzy like my balance left And Now my hearts beating like it’s out my chest... It’s happening again.. it’s happening again.. But you can’t tell nobody they gon think you crazy... it’s happening again... it’s happening again.. Just let it pass boy, you’ll be good baby...
6.
I heard so many stories guess I'm here now Every days a fishbowl I'm gettin stare downs So this is 3 hots and a cot? A bunky I don't know and some funky cell block? Guess I'll stay to myself and if they try me I'll Pop Since I was tiny I could box but I ain't tryna get Shot And eybody look grimy I gotta find me a OX They asking if I'm homie or I'm cuz but I'm not .. I'm NFL .. guess it's time I find me a slot Yo Who controlling these phones? I gotta dial back home .. how u write a letter?, where u get the paper? How much is a stamp? How u mail it out player? Damn... This shit fucked up, really fucked up I'm super hungry but the shit for lunch yuck... and one CO got it in for me I got tough luck Thinks I used to rough his nephew up on that yellow bus I wonder if my girl Living right... A OG told me never call in the morning or night... He Said the afternoon safe thats when she'll Speak clear Cause if a nigga spent the night, he probably Still there I play chess wit my homie in the wheelchair Never once asked him how he got in there... I never beat em either but shit I don't care, them stories that he tell make me feel like I got up outta here Ey morning im out there on the count Ey evening I'm in here thinking bout How the judge really gave me that amount And How old I'm a be when I get out Why the fuck im here???? Hook: In here at the same time But we don’t do the same time In here at the same time But we don’t do the same time.. Verse 2: I'm in and out this place ey couple years Face tatted wit a couple tears ... Yelling at some faggot on the upper tier He keep keep crying through the night like "why the fuck I’m here?” Nigga deal wit it.. I keep my gun close... And anybody face a peel wit it, it's real rigid Commissary never a problem, my locker packed ... And If I ain't got it then u got a snack homie holla back .. I'm finna hit the yard lift the entire rack Today I'm doing chest and back Extra pack of sticks on the juggle from a Redskin Fumble how wild is that? When It come to the Playoffs the Giants snap! Got a kite and a flick from this Guyanese bitch I used to fuck with dreads She getting fucked in my head New fbresh batch of hooch on the way a Niggaz twisted Extra toothpaste my next visit keep my breath hidden My brother solved my problem in the other house Some Newcomer runnin his mouth so he ran in his mouth And If he wanna take it further them hammers is out You know my name and what my handle about ... what’s up?! Hook: In here at the same time.. But we don’t do the same time In here at the same time But we don’t do the same time.
7.
Had to chase this dream, I was on my grind Working on my craft, took up all my time I gotta be where?, I’m there at the drop of a dime But through all my travels, y’all stayed on my mind My 2 lil boys, 2 pieces of me My 2 looks in the mirror, my 2 reasons to be Sorry i didn't go them places I needed to be Trips that I missed with your school, games I ain’t root for your team Seems like yesterday, I would wake up to ya screams Y’all was crying for bottles When did y’all turn into teens? Tryna go mustaches, peach fuzz look clean Ya voices got deeper, make sure u say what you mean Happy y’all don’t say y’all hate me, for all the time I was away What good was was the toys If I never stayed there to play I’m asking you both for forgiveness.. can we start over today? Y’all don’t have to answer that now... I just wanted to say .. Hook: I know that I missed out on em’ Sorry that I’m never there I tried to get everything you want... I hope you know I really care... to Learn You now To Learn you Now To Learn you Now To Learn you Now To Learn you Now To Learn you Now Let me learn, let me learn you now Verse 2: I would stare at y’all pictures, on the bus after shows It was rough on the road, must’ve been tougher at home Even on the west I’m moving, but that the bus driver know Find me that Western Union, id send ya mothers some dough.. I’d try to find time, whenever I was alone Try to get y’all on the phone, just to see what’s going on... Y’all ain’t lil boys no more, look at how much you have grown My youngest one taller than me, my olders my skinnier clone I know that I missed out on ya... Bothers me down to my soul My lifestyle was outta control Replace Time with the money, trade that I tried to barter So you daddy would pop up.. but i ain’t show up as yo father Praying y’all let me change that, I have so much to offer Life will come at you at god speed, Please use my ears as the alter I’m Asking you both for forgiveness, can we start over today? Y’all don’t have to answer that now.. I just wanted to say Hook: I know that I missed out on em’ Sorry that I’m never here I tried to get everything you want I hope you know I really care.. To Learn You now To Learn you Now To Learn you Now Let me learn Now now now now now ..
8.
Damn screens kids don’t come upstairs with grass stains on They jeans No playing tag at night, no more sundown freeze No more falling off they bike peroxide on knees Geez I ain’t seen a double Dutch in years What happened to skelly, no more tops hitting squares? I used to front flip off the fence, backflip off the swing Somebody dared, u had to do it to be playground King! Walked across the monkey bars, rubber Mat so far Something crazy drove by I screamed that’s my car ! threw rocks up on the roofs they couldn’t match my arm And Manhunt lasted long, we couldn’t catch Taiquan shit.. Red quarter water water ask ya man to have a sip Pack of now and laters and a quarter bag of chips Never would i ever thought a game of catch and kiss Would be something that these kids would have to miss... imagine this .... Hook: Phone screen, tablet screen, computer screen 80 inch TV screen, I never seen So many ways to look away from the world These screens raising ya sons, baby suttin ya girl So many screens... everyone say Hi. You’re on a screen... Verse 2: I used to wanna go out in the rain Moms would say no so I complained near the window pane She’s always gave in to that look on my face those days I get chased cops and robbers in the staircase Where they at, in the front or the back? It was quiet and then.. Pap.. til u run out of caps Every basketball court in the summer was packed Every winter was tackle football don’t fumble the snap Now every time I look another app man what’s up wit that ? It’s like every single day involves a double tap Used to beg moms can my boys have some fun wit me ? Off the top rope was the dresser, WWE Now my son wear headsets running through the trees Playing Call of Duty, guess that’s what they calling company Was known eywhere, couldnt front on my team These kids don’t go anywhere man they front of them screens Hook: Phone screen, tablet screen, computer screen 80 inch TV screen, I never seen So many ways to look away from the world These screens raising ya sons, baby suttin ya girl So many screens... everyone say Hi. You’re on a screen... Eni, Meni, miney, Mo Catch a piggy by the toe If it Hollas , let him go Eni, meni, miney, mo You it!! (Red quarter water ask ya man to have a sip Pack of now and laters and a quarter bag o chips.. Sheeeit)
9.
This how it look when doves Cry? She hurting looking in her love eyes Tryna muster up why He threw it all away to bust a nut I Wish I had a different answer than lust but yup... guys Weakness is them feminine creatures wit symmetrical features That hour glass.... a hour wit that ass it a keep us Occupied, satisfied, gratified Thank you These hands that count money spank you then shackle ya ankles Intercourse in a Telly we never been before A light knock that's room service let me go get the door Finish our dinner course then throw you in the figure 4 One mo time choke u like a little whore to get you off I like the smell of perfume, I like a skin tone I like the wobbly booties I like the gym tone Yoga pants over Yeezys, jeans over the pumps Flats under that skirt at an after work drunk ... Hook: I be like.. I ain’t tryna be rude But it looks like you ain’t come in here wit no dude Is this true? If it is, well may I ask who are you? Cause girl you walked up in this spot and made it hot like Jamaican Food Look around these boys sweating like Jamaican Food That fatty patty looking like Jamaican Food Wine all night, let’s grind all night, be mine all night We’ll spice it up like Jamaican Food Verse 2: Shorty tell me some lies, I'll tell u a few of mine Call me Emo when I tell u that my sign symbol’s 69 We’ll Sip wine and have a good old time front of my mind I'm like she flip her hair twice that pussy mine I don’t know what I give off, but they often give me what they get off I still be stroking they be like get off I’m not a player, I just fuck a lot... shit, I’m lying player in a fucking Thot... And if that thang looking sweet I’ll give my tongue a shot On that lil Square lolipop I’m a sucker for box Uhhh Y’all look at women and fantasize about being wit ‘em I look at women like... nah don’t fuck up her life My regular day to her... a wonderful night So They be try hold on, I don’t put up a fight... once I’m done nuttin it’s like we done nothing I’m like.. Let keep in touch you got my # righttt? Hook: I be like.. I ain’t tryna be rude But it looks like you ain’t come in here wit no dude Is this true? If it is, well may I ask who are you? Cause girl you walked up in this spot and made it hot like Jamaican Food Look around these boys sweating like Jamaican Food That fatty patty looking like Jamaican Food Wine all night, let’s grind all night, be mine all night We’ll spice it up like Jamaican Food
10.
Big boy toys that clap like a dirty bitch box Ladders attached with 36 shots Inserted and cocked You ain’t gotta take my word this shit pop Ask around how I circled these blocks before Hip Hop Sandwich baggies, drop it in , and tie knots Invite my favorite fiend over to come and try rocks Dope the only thing stamped inside my mailbox Folded money til the rubber bands popped before Hip Hop Old E, St Ides and Valentine Ale Dutch masters, Phillys and White Owl smells L train to Linden and Powell to roll L’s Token booths nigga, no vocal booths before Hip Hop.. Whole different dude.. I’m rolling to you I got a dub that I don’t fold to that deuce Eything good even yo nasty ass shoes now here’s my Moment of truth .... Yea, that was life Before Hip Hop Hook: You Think u know me, you don’t really know me Back in my hood I’m still the one and only Before these music projects, I’m the projects homie Y’all just see the new me, y’all don’t know the the old me Before these beats was trapping, I was out there trapping Before these birds was rapping, I was bird wrapping Before the fans was clapping, it was cans clapping No bank accounts, hand to hand transactions.. Before Hip Hop Verse 2: A bunch of candles in the lobby, who got laid to rest? Empty bottles near the flicks, I know the wake is next I’m from a place where people walk around with major stress.. don’t say something you’ll regret Before Hip Hop uhh I was crazy fresh .. Trapping in my Avirex Blue Yankee fitted, 501s above the Navy checks I Never had to beg for pussy, bitches gave me sex I left all the drugs at they address Before Hip Hop Shit ya boy was out there tryna survive Too lazy for a 9 to 5 I bought a 9 and got live Til it jammed .. said goodbye next day went outside And bought that pretty 38 it’s on the lap in my ride right... It wasn’t all about these verses and words It was being 1st to the curb from the 1st to the 3rd It was bout staying alert, you see em lurking you swerve.. to this day, I thank God I ain’t get Locked before Hip Hop Hook: You Think u know me, you don’t really know me Back in my hood I’m still the one and only Before these music projects, I’m the projects homie Y’all just see the new me, y’all don’t know the the old me Before these beats was trapping, I was out there trapping Before these birds was rapping, I was bird wrapping Before the fans was clapping, it was cans clapping No bank accounts, hand to hand transactions..
11.
Mommas eyes seen some things that made her proud now Fans cheer her baby name, they say it loud now Her baby baby boy on tv she be bugging when she see me She be crying when she call me, when I’m touring she can’t see me Momma miss me, makes her sad, but she be happy when I’m leaving Always tells me go with God, I keep Jesus right here wit me Mommas eyes used to tear up for a different set of reasons We won’t talk about those nights, let’s just focus on these evenings We be watching flicks together on her OLED tv Order food from anywhere, or she chef up some baked ziti That’s my grandma recipe, we both miss her yes indeed We agreed, Momma gon Live it up while granny Rest In Peace Momma Momma I’m emotional cause God keep blessing me.. I stopped by, u wasn’t there, Pat said u had therapy.. I forgot you and chat with Ms Gonzalez every Tuesday Helps u cope with all your losses and remind you it’s a new day Anyway, on ya dresser left a quarter of that pure’ That u like from up in Dyckman.. Since the last one wasn’t true Hayes .. Im bout to step in this meeting with MTV Call me when u back at the crib on the fridge I left a G. Hook: Took a while to reach this type of peace we own But we’re here.. Moving forward, loving strong All that’s worth having is worth struggling for.. We didn’t have it all but we’re here to win Momma Verse 2: Momma I’m so proud of you in case you didn’t know Not the verbal type of son and plus I’m always on the go But see I do talk to these beats and so I figured I would show.. How much I love you through this flow... Perform this at my show Have every light up in the air until the venue starts to glow Almost as much as ya smile does when I walk through ya do’ I be tryin not to think about a life without you with me But the years is moving fast I can’t believe that you’ll be 60 Please don’t hit me for just screaming out ya age in to the public But you still look 40 something you should love it... I remember I would wake you up with raps while u was sleeping Loose leaf paper in my hand, half awoke you’d say keep reading Momma I just got the chills, we ain’t worried bout the bills, all the cereals is real, we ain’t munching on no frills I ain’t doing drug deals you ain’t using drugs still No more mice across the floors, you like how them rugs feel? Momma momma look at us member things was looking rough ?? Daddy looked the other way, they looked at us with such disgust But now things is looking up So here’s a song for the only face I saw when I was looking off that bus Hook: Took a while to reach this type of peace we own But we’re here.. Moving forward, loving strong All that’s worth having is worth struggling for.. We didn’t have it all but we’re here to win
12.
I don’t need your awards thats not What I look towards I don’t want a reward for any song I record I don’t gotta look back to know that I’m moving forward I ain’t try to compete, buy things that I can’t afford I’m just doing me... rhyming beautifully like the bluest sea I mean musically I’m like truancy You gon learn today there’s no schooling me All my rap classmates no not to fool wit me Check my rap sheet, 2 or 3 eulogies Lock me up, lose the key for everything I do to beats For those who wouldn’t sign me I ain’t losing sleep I put the past behind me like we drew up a sweep Came up rough, I know what to do with defeats I turn all of those to motivational musical speech Oh, and by the way, guess what I’m doing to eat Yup, rapping.. who cares about the snapping Of the pictures and the carpets and the fake hands clapping And the “should of been me’s” in all the afterpartys acting Like you having a good time but you guzzling down yac and tryna be accepted by people who tryna do the same I’m just tryna hit the booth with flames Plus I suck at being corny so I don’t play the music games All the politics is stupid lame If you ain’t Billy Dance then I don’t co-sign the shit y’all do for Fame A lot of of y’all don’t know who I’m talking about Cause u ain’t from where they’ll M.O.P you up when u walk out the house We have nothing in common except our love for rhyming No nominee, but y’all know what category I’m in... I don’t think that any rapper could do me any harm Wit this Word designing, like a lineman I defend my arm But if you wanna step, then bring it on And Catch this hook, not the type that make you sing along... Hook: I may not ever win a Grammy but I’m taking care of me and my family and that’s a win to me Ok, lemme Open this up... And the rap album of the year goes to: I may not ever win a Grammy but I’m taking care of me and my family and that’s a win to me Make some noise for ‘em wooo! Alrighttt yea... Grammy verse 2: How so? I grew up in a single parent household Pick up the house phone it’s no dial tone When the cable wasn’t out though.. I would watch Tom and Jerry on the floor near a mouse hole Intro to my life but the outro Much different, see them credits rolling down slow I’d like Thank God I owe this to you Thank Dennis for introducing me to the booth I escaped holding 9s in the projects Now I’m a artist working on my 9th project Somebody tell 9th Wonder I’m the object Of Rap discussion why I ain’t get the Grammy nod yet? Lotta politicing and some bottom kissing I ain’t got the time I’m renovating my momma kitchen did her bathroom since we have a pot to piss in No more lobby pitching, this is honest living Just left the hospital seeing a fan that was in a car collision and met another one with a heart condition We had a lotta laughs keeping optimistic Before I left we took pics, I told the doctors get in ! This Real world not a gram post Life turned into the story that my hands wrote Man I’m bout to world tour for the 3rd time All because of how crazy I make these words rhyme Sold out shows, they cheering for me I can’t believe that everyone here is for me Last stop Moscow minus 20 degrees I’m a Fly in from the snow and land on a beach Relax in some water that’s clear as can be I Went From airing beef to airing these beats If there ever was a day they was sharing a seat I’m sure I wouldn’t have a problem preparing a speech Hook: I may not ever win a Grammy but I’m taking care of me and my family and that’s a win to me Ok, lemme Open this up... And the rap album of the year goes to: I may not ever win a Grammy but I’m taking care of me and my family and that’s a win to me Make some noise for ‘em wooo! Alrighttt yea...

about

"I’m back to work. Monday is the start of the week. The grind. Working people normally dread Mondays. Not me though. I embrace them! Feels like another opportunity. Another chance. The beginning of what’s ahead. On “Monday” I talk about life. Old me, new me, and the guy that next Monday may introduce to you all." - Joell Ortiz

Joell Ortiz isn't interested in seeming like a superhero. His new album for Mello Music Group, Monday, is an album about keeping your head down and getting back to work; there’s nothing to do other than to persevere. 

With his new record, Ortiz pays tribute to the qualities that have allowed him to not only survive, but thrive in an unforgiving industry and era. “Monday refers to the idea that no matter how big you get, the hustle to stay on top is always there,” he says. “Monday is the first day to get out and grind.” That urgency can be felt all over the album, from the swaggering “Champion” to the furious opening cut, “Captain.” Beyond and beneath that unifying theme, Monday is littered with Ortiz’s trademark wordplay and verbal pyrotechnics, once again affirming him as one of the rappers most dedicated to the types of lyricism that marked rap’s golden ages.

Ortiz was born in 1980 and grew up in the East Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. When he was just 23 years old, he was highlighted in The Source magazine’s storied Unsigned Hype column, which had predicted the future success of acts like DMX, Common, Cannibal Ox, Eminem, Capone & Noreaga and, perhaps most famously, The Notorious B.I.G. A proud Puerto Rican and unapologetic New Yorker with verve and a rugged intensity to his rhymes, Ortiz seemed perfectly suited to vie for his hometown’s crown in the mid-2000s. His album from 2007, The Brick: Bodega Chronicles, was hailed immediately as a game-changing work that earmarked him as one of his generations unmissable talents.

His masterful technique reached no less than the ears of Dr. Dre, who gave him the ultimate co-sign by signing him to his Aftermath Entertainment. A full-length never hit stores, but it helped Ortiz grow as both a rapper, artist and man. It set the stage for him to become one-quarter of the rap olympian supergroup Slaughterhouse, which built a massive cult following and eventually secured a deal with Shady Records, which led to massive commercial success (topping the Billboard Rap Album charts) This decade has seen him transition from brash upstart to legendary veteran as he’s fleshed out a catalog that now includes mature albums like Free Agent, House Slippers, and his full-length collaboration with Apollo Brown, Mona Lisa, released via Mello last year.

Even while he’s keeping his nose to the grindstone, Ortiz finds a few moments to exhale and reflect. Monday ends with a pair of such songs: “Momma,” a heartfelt ode to the parent who raised Ortiz, and “Grammy,” which rejects the notion that outside validation is needed to qualify a music career as successful. (The juxtaposition of those titles is, of course, just one more bit of wordplay.) But Ortiz is at his warmest and most charming on “Screens,” a lament about how kids today spend so much time with electronic devices at the expense of time outside. Where other rappers would finish such a song sounding like an old scold, Ortiz uses it as a vehicle to reminisce about getting grass stains on his knees and phone numbers from neighborhood girls scrawled on scraps of paper. It’s rooted in the present but still able to conjure the sounds and smells of an era that’s long gone –– the kind of sharp perspective that can only be honed by years of dedicated work at the craft. Monday is a testament to sharpening one’s skills and approach in the face of immeasurable odds.

credits

released August 30, 2019

Production by The Lasso (1), Heatmakerz (2, 4, 9), Apollo Brown (3, 6), J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League (8, 12), Nottz (5, 11), Big K.R.I.T. (7), & Hesami (10)

Recorded at Diamond District Studios
Mixed & Mastered by Mags
Screens Mixed by Edward J. Nixon & Assisted by Dimitri Ward
Photography by Jeremy Deputat
Graphic Design by Austin Hart

Executive Produced by Michael Tolle, Erik Stephens & Joell Ortiz

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Joell Ortiz Brooklyn, New York

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