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A Puerto Rican rapper from Brooklyn who built a buzz with his series of rhyme marathons entitled 125 Grams, Joell Ortiz eventually signed with Dr. Dre's Aftermath label and released his debut full-length on Koch in 2007. Turning down an academic and athletic scholarship to look after his mother in Brooklyn, Ortiz earned initial attention with his no-frills attitude and rhyming prowess, being featured in critical polls in XXL and The Source magazines. Although an opportunity to sign with Jermaine Dupri fell through, managerial connections helped get a tape of his work into the hands of Dre. Dre flew him to California and signed him immediately. While working on his debut for Aftermath, Ortiz released (with the permission of Dr. Dre, of course) a collection of his work that is centered around his dense, rhyme-based work, The Brick: Bodega Chronicles, on Koch Records, to act as a lead-up to his more "official" debut. He also worked with such hip-hop luminaries as KRS-One and Kool G Rap. ~ Christopher M. True, Rovi