Joell Ortiz Explains Origins Of 'Yaowa,' Preps New Mixtape

'It's a term of endearment around my way,' he tells 'Mixtape Daily' of the invented word.

The O.D.: A Mixtape Daily Exclusive

Brooklyn's Joell Ortiz now has one of the most recognizable call-outs in hip-hop. If you're not familiar, after his mixtape drops this month, you'll be saying: "Yaowa!"

"I got so many meanings of yaowa, it's crazy," Ortiz laughed. "First, it's used as a term of endearment for dudes around my way. How you say, 'What up?' We say, 'Yaowa!' It came from my man Smash. Shout to Smash. He used to be really drunk around the way. It's a distance between the buildings. He used to be saying, 'Yo, what up?' But he'd be so drunk, it sounded like he was saying, 'Yawhuhup?' He'd be twisted. I just turned it into yaowa. Every time I get on a beat, I say, 'Yaowa,' before I rap on it. Then I started playing around with it and turned it into [meaning]: 'you're actually one world away.' I be feeling like my flow is not of Earth. I zone out, become an alien with it. On another freestyle, I said, 'I'll put you in a hospital because my flow is so sick.' That's 'your ass on wild anesthetics.' I just be spazzin' out with the yaowa. But it's a term of endearment around my way."

Joell's new mixtape is named after his favorite word and hosted by DJ Green Lantern and Don Cannon. "Its called Yaowa. Green Lantern is hosting it along with Don Cannon. We been tossing around ideas," Ortiz said. "We didn't really get to the meat of it. But we have a few ideas to see how we gonna make it classic. Don Cannon's got some ideas, Green Lantern's got some ideas. I think we gonna make it a good one.

"Green kinda hooked that up," Joell added about how the Evil Genius and Cannon got involved. "Me and Green was hollering, he said it would be a good idea to hook up with Cannon. Cannon was like, 'That's nothing. I been fiending to do something like that.' So we running a triangle offense with this tape."

Lantern and Green will have the primary production on the mixtape, but Joell said he's open to submissions from everyone -- as long as the tracks are hot. As for big-name guest appearances, which have become customary with tapes from Rick Ross, the Game, Fabolous, Jadakiss, T.I. and Young Jeezy this year, the Slaughterhouse member said he hasn't thought about it yet.

"I'm just thinking about zoning out," he said. "I'm not thinking about who I'm reaching out to. I'm not thinking about who to bring to the tape. I'm just thinking about making a really, really good tape. Letting people know who Joell Ortiz is one more time. This time with Green Lantern and Don Cannon. Just rapping, that's what I do the best. I rap. I'm concerning myself with rippin' this tape and getting some good feedback on it."

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