Ahead of his forthcoming album, Joell Ortiz drops off a gritty black-and-white visual for his Hesami-produced single, “Before Hip Hop.” Inspired by Craig Mack’s classic “Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)” music video, the Devon Johnson-directed clip finds Ortiz looking straight into the camera while he spits candid bars.
“The ‘Before Hip Hop’ video is black and white by design. I didn’t want to dress it up. I wanted it to remain as cut and dry and honest as possible,” Ortiz said in a press release. “I wanted the camera in my face so the viewer could look in my eyes and see that it’s pure.”
While the song reflects on how Hip Hop changed Ortiz’s life, the video pays tribute to fallen childhood friends, as flashes of their photos continue throughout the clip.
“Before Hip Hop, I was a different person. I grew up in a rough environment that made me behave, respond and live in a certain way,” he continued. “I lost childhood friends way before I could even fully comprehend death. Yet, I found ways to smile, have fun and enjoy the hood with the homies almost every day. A simple video for the simple truth of a rapper from Cooper Park House in Brooklyn, NY. I’m just happy to be here.”
The ex-Slaughterhouse rapper’s 9th studio album, Monday, is expected to arrive August 30 and will feature vocals from Blakk Soul and vocals and production from Big K.R.I.T., as well as additional production by Nottz, Apollo Brown, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, The Heatmakerz and more.
Check out Ortiz’s video for “Before Hip Hop” above.