Joell Ortiz, 'Free Agent' (E One)

Free Agent
Critical Mass
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Label: E One

by Charles Aaron

Brooklyn's Pillsbury corner boy (and Slaughterhouse member) pops fresh rhymes about project life's ills with such high-spirited, ingloriously precise detail that he renders voyeurism unseemly -- hence his limited commercial appeal. The title of this re-recorded version of his leaked second album (featuring a half-dozen new tracks) refers to a scrapped deal with Dr. Dre's Aftermath imprint, and Free Agent rolls its shoulders with a froggy local-hero smirk. Producers DJ Premier and Just Blaze, and guest bullies the L.O.X. and Fat Joe, fuel the pissy-staircase East Coast ambience.

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