Joell Ortiz's writing and rhyming has been the only constant in his life. His safety, his source of cash, and his means of transportation, however, have been quite the opposite. Growing up in Brooklyn, Joell came from nothing, and when things didn't turn out like he expected at his graveyard shift with UPS, he walked away from day jobs forever.
From there, he turned to the guys riding down the block in shiny Mustangs, seeking a less legal and more simple means to make his money. During his time running the streets, he owned the only two cars he's ever had: a Plymouth and a Mercury. Part of the reason he hasn't had a whip since is because he's careful with his money. But the main reason stems from a car accident, in which the wreckage was so twisted, he had to be cut out of the car.
Not until about three years ago was he finally able to ride around with his buddies. Today, Joell's nerves still get the best of him on the road, though with lines like, "They dribble on my balls in the whip, now that's a sports car" you wouldn't think so. After moving to Jersey, he's finally shopping around for a new set of wheels with hopes that he can once again put his foot to the gas pedal with the same confidence that he puts his pen to his notepad. Joell sat down with Complex Rides to discuss his job at UPS, his haunting accident, and his search for a new vehicle.
We heard you’re looking for some new wheels?
Yeah, I’m actually lookin’ for a car right now. I haven’t driven in a long time.
What are you looking at?
I was looking at the G-Wagon Benz, the squared-off one. I was also looking at the Wrangler. I like the square ones, that trucker-on-the-road type thing. So, those are two of my favorites right now. And the Land Rover, the LR4.
What are you looking for in your car?
There’s such a wide range of prices. You got the G-Wagon as the upper echelon, you have the Rover in the middle, and you have the Wrangler at the bottom. I like the Wrangler, because it has my personality all over it. It’s fun, but it’s broad. You can take the roof and doors off, if you want to play around. Or you could own the road, and do whatever you want to do as far as traction.
I’m leaning toward that, plus I’m really, really, really, really conservative with money. I got to give myself a lot of excuses to spend money, because I come from nothin’. And that never leaves the back of my mind. I think, “Would I do this if I were back in the projects?” If I was in front of the wild sneakers that were $200 or the $50 ones that I know I could freak anyways, I would get the $50 ones and keep the $150. Whatever I do decide to get won’t make me. It won’t make who’s driving it. I feel like I’m bigger than whatever else happens. I don’t do jewelry and that shit either. I’m on my own little glow. I’m leaning towards the Wrangler. I think my lady will respect me a little more if I get the G-Wagon [Laughs]
His girl: Or we could just go in the middle!
Joell: Yeah, or we could go with the Land Rover, and I could look like a dentist. Whatever she wants is fine. [Laughs]. It’s between those three.