Album Review: Joell Ortiz – House Slippers

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Joell Ortiz

Album: House Slippers

Label: Penalty Entertainment

Release Date: September 16, 2014

Over the last year or so Joell Ortiz has made multiple lifestyle changes such as losing weight, cutting back on drinking and even stopping smoking. Ortiz said in recent interviews that after making these changes, and from all that he’s learned from Eminem and being on tour with Slaughterhouse, he has started to see life from a completely different perspective and become much more comfortable with himself.

His new solo album, initially titled YAOWA, was released as House Slippers, and its his new found perspective that led to the change in title. Ortiz said that he was at point where he didn’t give a f*ck what anybody thought about him and wanted to be completely honest on his album. Eventually Ortiz thought about where he was most comfortable; it was at his house, lounging on his couch in a robe and house slippers, hence the title of the album.

This album serves as somewhat of a prelude to the release of Slaughterhouse’s (Joell, Crooked I, Royce Da 5’9 and Joe Budden) forthcoming album Glass House. Although Slaughterhouse is signed to Shady Records, as an individual artist Joell Ortiz is signed to the newly revamped Penalty Entertainment, which may be one of the reasons that this album dropped with very little marketing or promotion. The 12 track LP shows Joell’s maturity as an artist and certainly showcases how comfortable the artist is with himself and his creativity, whether or not he is rocking those house slippers.

The album features excellent production, mostly from The Heatmakerz but with a few tracks by !llmind and Frequency, as well as features from all the members of Slaughterhouse, B.o.B. and Maino. The album once again showcases Joell’s uncanny ability to drop seamless punch lines while telling true to life stories that seem too accurate to be made up.

On the opening track “House Slippers” he states, “your loved ones sick all in the mist of this/ watchin your mom’s shoot insulin is ridiculous/ Your son got a mask on his asthma bad/ His older brother actin up cause he don’t have his dad.”  Joell has always had knack for touching on real life situations seeming to draw from his own experiences or from those close to him and House Slippers is no exception.

Joell’s flow and delivery are crisp throughout the entire album especially on tracks such as “Dream On” and “Get Down.” Ortiz’s witty streetwise metaphors are a perfect complement to the heartfelt content on tracks like “Phone” and “Music Saved my Life.” This album will have your rewinding track after track trying to catch onto every punchline and metaphor.

House Slippers is another serving of solid hip-hop the way it was intended to be. Real gritty hip-hop beats and samples with verses that require flow, breath control, delivery, and intelligence; instead of the watered down “club-hop” with auto-tune and EDM beats that has become so prevalent on the radio today. No, you won’t catch Joell bragging about how much ‘swag’ he has or making an attempt at a radio single. House Slippers serves as a reminder that some MCs still actually value hip-hop for more than a get rich quick scheme.