Brooklyn-born rapper Joell Ortiz, who has long been among the most critically acclaimed unsigned talent on the East Coast hip-hop scene, has gone a long way to earning that reputation. A dedicated and accomplished student through his early years, and always a person to whom language came easily, Ortiz was an impressive rapper by his early teens. As Ortiz reached high school, family strife and his urban environment turned his attentions from his studies and rap career to street life and the drug trade. After a short time, however, Ortiz turned his attentions back to the life-giving pursuit of excellence in his music. Thanks to his natural talent and serious work ethics, opportunity soon found Ortiz, and he began to gain some recognition. An appearance in The Source magazine and winning Chairman's Choice from XXL magazine earned Ortiz credibility and buzz that resulted in his appearance on the NBA Live 2005 soundtrack. Jermaine Dupri's So So Def label offered Ortiz a contract that year, a deal which quickly went sour, creating bad blood between Ortiz and one of the industry's most powerful players. Since that time, Ortiz continued to record and write actively, collaborating with artists like KRS-One and Kool G Rap. ~ Evan C. GutierrezPortions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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