Joell Ortiz grew up in Brooklyn's Cooper Park housing projects, but these days you'll more likely see the Shady Records rapper strolling around Williamsburg's hip streets to satiate his food kicks.
As a part of BK Hip-Hop Week, a celebration of the borough before it hosts the 2013 Video Music Awards this Sunday, Joell took a trip to his favorite local food spots in the borough. It all airs at 5 p.m. on "RapFix Live" as part of MTV's All Access Live Experience. The show will also feature special guests Pusha T, Junior Mafia and more.
Back in his early days, Chinese take-out was considered fine dining. "The main thing you eat is Chinese food," he said of his time growing up in the projects. "There were certain meals you got in the Chinese store depending on how your pockets looked. Now if you got a dollar or two dollars back then — I'm not that old! — you got chicken wings, and you got a little extra dollar you got chicken wings and french fries. That's the main 'hood meal you can get. But when you had four dollars, you got chicken and broccoli and the first time I ever had an order of chicken and broccoli I was like ballin'!"
These days, Joell is living flush after the success of his Slaughterhouse group with Joe Budden, Crooked I and Royce da 5' 9", but his modern menu still takes a cue from his Chinese chicken days. He said he's a huge fan of the chicken burger at Teddy's, a restaurant his manager recommended to him one day when they were hanging out at the nearby Thai place Sea. "I've been in love with the chicken burger ever since!" he exclaimed after his first bite there. Staying consistent with his poultry fixation, Joell also admitted to something of an addiction to the chicken and waffles at Pies 'N' Thighs. "The chicken is fried of course," he said with a laugh, before adding that he likes to pep it up with some cinnamon butter.
Adding variety to his foodie jaunt, Joell revealed that he plumps for the fried calamari while attempting to knock down the pins at the Brooklyn Bowl emporium. "I don't like calamari chewy and I don't like calamari extra crispy and theirs is right in the middle," he explained of the seafood dish which he likes to pair with marinara sauce. Consider it your official appetizer for Brooklyn Hip-Hop Week.
Check MTV News and RapFix.MTV.Com all this week to hear from your favorite Brooklyn artists, all leading up to the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on August 25.
VMA 2013: Brooklyn Hip-Hop Week Map