Ten Rap Songs You Need To Hear – Number Four

4. Joell Ortiz – Battle Cry (prod. Just Blaze)

Who – How many rappers per capita does Brooklyn produce? Add another one to the list with Joell Ortiz. Born to a Afro-American father and Puerto Rican mother, Ortiz grew up in the Cooper Park Houses in the East Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York. He has been around for awhile, appearing in XXL’s Unsigned Hype back in 2004.  He was also formerly signed to Dr Dre’s Aftermath label.  Ortiz is probably most known for being a part of the “super-group” Slaughterhouse.

Why You Have To Hear Him – Ortiz is another example of a rapper that has gotten better through dedication. I remember thinking he was just another mixtape rapper out of New York at one time.  Worse than that, IMO he sounded like Peter Griffin on the mic. Wasn’t a huge fan.

On the other hand, I am a big fan of Joe Budden, Royce the 5’9 and Crooked I, so I was surprised that he was included in the group when they formed Slaughterhouse. He seemed like the odd man out.  My doubt was quickly quelled tho since he had some song stealing verses with Slaughterhouse, including one of their early songs – “Move On”.

There is no trend-hopping here. Ortiz is simply a spitter, who usually chooses classic New York Boom-Bap to rhyme over. Can he blow up? Who knows? His group mates seemed to be cursed when it comes to that, so maybe it will rub off on him as well. Even if he doesn’t he is certainly worth checking out based on skill and his throwback sound.

The Song – Battle Cry is Joell at his peak IMO (thus far anyways). He did a great job choosing this beat. This is a certified Just Blaze banger. JB is probably the most underrated hip-hop producer out there. He absolutely laces this beat. Great drums, great soulful sample all layered with some catchy strings. Beat has a real epic feel.

You know how a lot of rappers have that “effortless” flow?  Where the goal is to try to sound like you aren’t trying at all. You are trying to prove how natural of a rapper you are. Well Joell leaves that kind of pretentiousness at home – he is attacking the mic here. He is hungry. It is refreshing to hear this kind of emotion. Joell doesn’t care about swag, his goal is to spit as hard as he can on this track.

This is just a great example of hungry rhymes over an epic beat. Pretty much the essence of hip-hop.

Extras –

The first song that got Joell on my radar.



  • JFrenzy718

    Audible Doctor Produced it...Just Blaze added a little additional production but pretty much just shouts on top of the track...

  •  Thank you - Ill keep an eye out for that dude's production now.

  • On Joell's album this song says (feat. Just Blaze) so I assumed he produced it. However, on the EP Joell released earlier the production is attributed to "The Audible Doctor".

    Can anyone confirm who produced this?

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