Joell Ortiz and KXNG CROOKED are easily two of the best emcees in not all of Hip-Hop right now. But among the best lyricists and emcees of all-time period. Building two of the most legendary careers in all of Hip-Hop history. Whether it be Ortiz signing as a solo artist with storied producer Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment before later joining longtime Aftermath artist Eminem’s Shady Records, as part of super group, Slaugherhouse with Joe Budden, Royce Da 5’9” and KXNG CROOKED.
To Crooked himself joining Virgin Records as a solo artist at just the ripe young age of 17 before later joining Death Row Records when it was relaunched in the early 2000s, as Tha Row. With Crook going to work on with everybody from fellow legends such as Tech N9ne, the late 2Pac and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Twista, Xzibit and RZA, to name just a few.
The two likeminded emcees first met well over a decade ago, when they were both chosen for the inaugural XXL world-renowned and coveted Freshmen List in 2007. Not knowing a few months later they would join forces as one half of the biggest and most talked about groups in the history of Hip-Hop, Slaughterhouse. With the group recording two albums, a mixtape, EP and a third album that was very highly-anticipated and talked about, but never released. The founder of the group Budden left rap to pursue media, reality tv and other endeavors. Forcing Crook to eventually leave within the past few years as well. With the group appearing to be disbanded, but Crook, Royce and Ortiz still collaborating with each other. Many, myself included, thought that one half of the group, Crook and Royce, would possibly eventually do a collaboration album with each other. As something fans clamored and hoped for. Little did they or any of us know that not Crook and Royce, but Ortiz and Crook would decide to out of nowhere do a collaboration album with each other.
The duo releasing just yesterday their very upbeat and momentous new Heatmakerz-produced single, H.A.R.D. That they announced through the Complex premiere of the single. That also features a very beautifully hopeful and momentous amazing hook from MRK SX, will be released via Mello Music Group at the end of the month on May 29th. Instantly also becoming one of the most highly-anticipated not only Hip-Hop projects, but projects of 2020 and the new decade with their upcoming new collaboration EP.
“It felt great to catch up with my bro and chop it up! We’re like long lost cousins. Crook and I grew up 2800 miles apart under the same conditions. Poverty, struggle, injustice, etc.” Ortiz told Complex. Also adding, “Whenever we get together we have rap discussions and world talks that almost always turn into legendary childhood stories. This time was no different, except, this time we ended up in the vocal booth. This is H.A.R.D. (Housing Authority Rap District). Enjoy!!!”