Joell Ortiz is one fourth of the self-proclaimed greatest rap group ever assembled. He’s a dangerous MC who stacks bars with intricate couplets and punchlines capable of embarrassing your favorite rapper. Yet within Slaughterhouse, Ortiz maintains the role of the balanced member. He’s the dude capable of wilding out, but stays relatively grounded by the fact he’s surrounded by other A+ talent.

Human is Joell and producer Illmind delving to personal depths while producing the most accessible and revealing work of their careers. This is a record meant to expose Ortiz as the beast he is. Backed by Illmind’s haunting and extremely subdued production, he’s able to take center stage as a boastful storyteller with heart. There’s an intelligence woven into these tracks that raises his stock one track at a time.

“Six Fo” is trademark Joell. He’s on that shit again, proving why he’s steady cashing checks and turning heads. Nobody’s safe here. Bloggers, fake rappers, thugs, battlers… Everybody can get it. Another standout is “Lil’ Piggies”, which might be Joell’s career defining moment. There’s a bunch of imposters flooding hip-hop with smoke and mirrors; it’s a social media trap and now we’ve got a soundtrack for calling out the clowns one by one. “Bad Santa” is an unguarded account of a part-time dad. It’s a glimpse at an artist truly grappling with the gift and curse of life on the road.

Human is a brief but powerful release, pairing one of hip-hop’s most underrated MC’s with Illmind, a quiet menace in his own right. These stripped down 11-tracks creep past the monotonous sights and sounds of hip-hop to create a living, breathing embodiment of the world as it Joell Ortiz understands it.