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Joell Ortiz, 'Uncle Chris Car'

As we near the year's end, #NowPlaying recommends songs that slipped through the cracks, but remain in our headphones.

For the opening of "Uncle Chris Car," Brooklyn rapper Joell Ortiz drops us head first into a detailed account of his own birth: "Fresh out the womb, scour the room, a new flower just bloomed / My momma tells me, 'You was 'posed to come out me in June."

Upon leaving the hospital, the family loads into his uncle's car, driving home to the projects. From here, Ortiz walks us through a harrowing childhood of poverty and violence. He nails his point home by proclaiming that "If God really wanted me to get far, then why my Uncle Chris car made a left / He should've made a right," showing us how environment and circumstance can dramatically change a person's life trajectory.

Copyright 2021 XPN

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John Morrison is a writer, DJ, and sample-flipper from Philadelphia. As a writer, his work has appeared in NPR Music, Bandcamp Daily, Jazz Tokyo, Grammy.com, and more. He is also the host of Culture Cypher Radio, a hip-hop radio show on NPR member station WXPN.