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Fat Joe

Latino rapper Fat Joe (aka Fat Joe da Gangsta, Joey Crack, and his real name Joe Cartagena) was raised in the South Bronx area of New York. It was through an older brother that Cartagena learned the ways of the street, as well as discovering rap music via the sounds of such groundbreaking artists as Theodore, Funky 4 + 1, and the Furious Five. Eventually going by the name of Fat Joe, the rapper secured a recording contract with the Relativity label in the early '90s, resulting in the release of his full-length debut, Represent, in 1993 (which spawned the single "Flow Joe," peaking at the number one spot on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart). Two years later, Fat Joe issued his sophomore effort, Jealous One's Envy, which included a cameo appearance by KRS-One as well as production contributions by the likes of DJ Premier, LES, and Domingo. Around the same time, Fat Joe appeared on LL Cool J's big hit "I Shot Ya" (along with Foxy Brown and Keith Murray) and collaborated with the Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon on a track from the "Envy" single, called "Firewater." By the late '90s, Fat Joe had switched record labels (signing on with Atlantic) and tried his hand at other non-musical career ventures such as opening a clothing store called Fat Joe's Halftime, a barber shop, and a fashion line, FJ560. In addition, he signed a production and distribution deal with Atlantic Records and Mystic Entertainment (which he runs along with a partner named Big Greg). 1998 saw the release of Fat Joe's debut for Atlantic, Don Cartagena, which featured cameo appearances by the likes of Puff Daddy, Nas, Raekwon, Big Pun, and Jadakiss (L.O.X.), following it up in 2001 with Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E.), which included contributions from Ludacris, Petey Pablo, M.O.P., R. Kelly, and Remy.

Fat Joe: Is there still beef with 50?

Fat Joe’s tired. He’s been grindin’ every day all day since the Terror Squad’s hit “Lean Back” became one of the biggest smashes of ’04. At one point during the interview, he wearily admits, “Sometimes I don’t remember what my kids look like. My mother doesn’t get to see me often cause I’m busy giving my life to hip-hop.” It’s the sad revelation of a rap soldier.

And there’s no time to rest now. All Or Nothing, which has been delayed in release, due to Joe wanting to add more tracks to give his fans what he knows they want from him. Joe promises more hits with “Lean Back” producer Scott Storch, J. Lo, R. Kelly, Nelly, plus Joe’s first collabo with Timbaland.

It seems like your album keeps getting pushed back.
I’ve been waiting a long time for this album right here. I’ve been doing this for 12 years. I finally feel like I got the ears of the people. I have to make sure I put out the best album I could possibly do. This album has different flows, different concepts, different beats, a lot of hits. I got the song with J. Lo, “Hold You Down,” a joint with R. Kelly, “It’s So Hot” that we did over, a joint with Nelly, “Get It Poppin’,” which is crazy. Of course, the “Lean Back” remix with Eminem, Lil’ Jon, Mase and Remy. I worked with Timbaland, Scott Storch, Cool & Dre executive-produced the album, DJ Khaled, Novacaine, LV, Swizz Beatz. I worked with a lot of producers. I just want to make the hottest album I possible can.

Do you feel anxious about the project?
It’s only the week of, when the album’s dropping when you’re like, I hope it does well. For the most part I’ve just been making great music, doing the best I can, making sure I make some hot music for the people.

Cool & Dre executive produced the album. How was it working with them?
Yeah, and DJ Khaled too. We love each other. We’re best friends anyway. I take criticism from the biggest guy in the crew to the smallest guy in the crew. I don’t need ‘yes’ men around me. It’s very important that you have people that you really trust and appreciate their opinion. And that they know to be brutally honest because you really believe what they say.

When I think of Fat Joe, two things come to mind: persistence and hard work.
I’m after, you know Mt. Rushmore? When it’s said and done, I’m after Mt. Rapmore. I want my face chiseled in stone. Right now it ain’t about the money or fame, it’s about the respect of my peers, the respect of the fans. I’m just trying to be one of those players in hip-hop history. Like KRS-One, LL Cool J, Ice Cube, NWA. These are people you can’t erase from hip-hop history. That’s what I’m after right now.

What’s the secret to longevity?
There really isn’t any. I just know me. I won’t let anything stop me. The scariest thing is to put Fat Joe’s back to the wall. That’s when he really comes. That’s where I’m at now. I’ve been destined to prove something to the world. So here I am.

You’ve had your ups and downs with crews. What have you learned about loyalty?
I’ve been in this game 12 years. And persistence is an excellent way to put it. It’s crazy because it’s up to the individual. I’m a loyal person. I’m a member of the Diggin’ in the Crates crew. I keep in touch with Showbiz & A.G. , Lord Finesse. It’s up to the individual whether they’re loyal and really true to the crew. So far we’ve been able to find special people. Prospect, Armageaddon, Remy, Tony, Pun was the same. So far everybody’s together. Remy and Tony’s albums come out this summer. As far as Prospect and Armageaddon, their work ethic isn’t like the other two. They’re not under the same schedule as we are. When they feel like it, they come through and spit some heat and then go chill. When you work all day every day, you’re under a lot of fire. Sometimes I don’t remember what my kids look like. My mother doesn’t get to see me often cause I’m busy giving my life to hip-hop.

So here on HHDX we ran an article about a VA artist named Face Dirty claiming you stole “Lean Back” from him.
Impossible. That’s like the most impossible thing on earth. I don’t even think about that or worry about that. There’s no truth to it. No basis.

The other night, 50 Cent was on the radio saying that anyone who has done a song with Ja Rule, their career is over.
Glad he feels that way. Seems to me he’s Jesus Christ.

You’re a solo artist on Atlantic, and Terror Squad is on SRC/Universal.
It’s great. It’s not good to put all your eggs in one basket. It’s great to have different situations and different relationships. I like to work with everybody and learn from other people and at the same time teach other people.

What’s your relationship with Loud founder/SRC CEO Steve Rifkind?
I always had a big bond with Steve since Loud, since we signed Pun there. We’ve done amazing things with Steve. I’m very loyal to him. I went there to do the Terror Squad album. It was supposed to be a street album, it just so happened “Lean Back” took off. “Take Me Home” took off. And other than that, I’m back here at Atlantic now. I’m excited about working with these guys.

Have you seen changes at Atlantic since Lyor Cohen and Kevin Liles took over?
Definitely. I feel like people are more focused. I finally feel like I have a team behind me. I’ve been here 6, 7 years. I’ve never seen work like this. They’re actually out-working me. Making me work crazy.

How’s Remy’s album coming along?
She’s a hard worker. Her album is sounding really great. I want it to be perfect because we’ve talked a lot and said she was the best girl. Now it’s time to back that up.

What do you look for when you sign new artists?
Sparkle. It’s never then same twice. It’s the fire in the person’s eyes. It’s this look about them. Whether they’re dirty and grimy or the most beautiful chick on earth. It’s a different aspect about every person.

You seem to favor street records, but got really huge with mainstream records.
When I started in the game with Diggin’ in the Crates I was too hard for radio. I wouldn’t get no spins. No one ever thought I’d be a successful commercial artist. When Pun passed I was doing hardcore records. Pun was doing mainstream with “Still Not A Player,” “100%.” When he passed, everybody was doubting me. I had no choice but to step up my game and show people I could do it. That’s why we came with “We Thuggin’” and “What’s Luv?” I never liked doing those records, but I had to do what I had to do for the crew’s longevity and existence. Ever since, I balance it out. Most of my records on the album explain who I am. All that hardcore stuff. Of course it’s entertainment. We exaggerate. But at the same time we make music to make people feel good and party and have fun.

The Don has joined Nelly on tour with T.I. and has assured that he's bringing it to the masses as his recent Detroit performance at the State Theatre proved...in the end Fat Joe is just where he wants to be and HHDX will be following with much anticipation of the May 24, 2005 drop of All Or Nothing.

Fat Joe Getting Big With 'Lean Back'

Two years ago, Fat Joe was talking retirement. His album "Loyalty" was selling poorly in comparison to his 2001 platinum breakthrough "Jealous Ones Still Envy"; he also was lacking the kind of smash hits had he had charted in recent years, including "What's Luv," a huge success with Ashanti, and "We Thuggin'" with R. Kelly.

So, perhaps feeling a bit underappreciated and a little frustrated, the then 32-year-old described the rap world as a young kid's game.

"It's time to move to Miami and chill with my kids," he told The Associated Press in 2003.

Fat Joe has moved his brood down to Miami, splitting his time between the city's sunny beaches and his native New York. But at 34, Fat Joe is not relinquishing the game to the kids at all -- he's taken control and may be more popular than he's ever been in his 12-year career.

He's still riding high off the monster success of last year's "Lean Back," the song with his Terror Squad clique that became 2004's national anthem; his upcoming album, "All Or Nothing," is among the spring's more anticipated albums, with collaborations with R. Kelly, Timbaland and Nelly and his hot single, "So Much More"; he's also embarking on a tour with Nelly and the self-proclaimed southern rap king T.I., which kicks off Friday in Norfolk, Va.

And he may have received the ultimate compliment when rap's true king, 50 Cent, deemed him worthy of a rap battle, targeting him along with several others on his new album.

While the new feud has gotten Fat Joe plenty of attention as he promotes his new album and tour, it's the kind of spotlight he'd rather shine somewhere else.

"What's so weird is I finally got to the point that I want to be in and I'm in the middle of a rap beef. This (expletive) is the worst! This is my moment!" a frustrated Fat Joe exclaims.

"This is my walk into the ring. I worked hard to have my moment in the sun, and it seems like a black cloud is trying to cover it. (But) the sun will shine through, baby."

Things are already shining pretty brightly for Joseph Cartagena, aka Fat Joe, aka Joey Crack -- the rotund rapper from the Bronx who has always been on rap's superstar bubble of success.

As one of rap's first successful Latino rappers (he's of Puerto Rican descent), he's had many of the components of success -- a club smash here, a platinum album there -- but never put together all the components that would put him squarely among rap's elite. For a while, his own career was overshadowed by his protege, Big Pun, who became the first Latin rapper to own a platinum record. After he died in 2000, some doubted whether Fat Joe could succeed without him -- and Fat Joe doubted whether he even wanted to.

"I was going to retire then," says Joe, dressed casually while sitting at his record label, with a diamond-studded large chain dangling from his neck, drinking a diet Sprite (no junk food since diet and exercise have shaved a significant amount off of his still hefty frame).

"But at the same time, it's not about the money for me, it's not about the fame for me; it's about my peers respecting my contributions to hip-hop, 30 years from now, looking back at hip-hop and saying, `You know what? This dude was really amazing.' Even though I could have left when Pun died. But I had so much to prove, and thank God I stood around, because I've had some of the greatest songs and moments of my life after that."

Among them: his success with "What's Luv," which not only gave him a huge crossover hit but helped put Ashanti on the map. But Joe always found detractors ready to take away from his achievements.

"It feels as if I never get my just due," he says. "Whenever I come out with a hit record they'll say, `Ah, that's because of R. Kelly. Oh, it's because of Ashanti. Oh, he's lucky.'"

That's part of the reason the success of "Lean Back" -- a stirring song with a catchy hook that refused to be ignored -- meant so much to Fat Joe. The first single from an album by his rap crew, Terror Squad, it quickly jumped from the streets to the suburbs to just about anywhere a radio was playing.

Even Fat Joe was stunned by the record's popularity.

"Yesterday, I was in my lawyer's office signing off on people who licensed `Lean Back.' We got everybody from `Ellen DeGeneres' to `The Apprentice,' to `Girlfriends. ... Even Mothers Against Drunk Driving! I'm like, wow, everybody's leaning back."

Damon Dash, whose Dash Films is producing a new movie featuring Fat Joe, says of the rapper: "He knows how to make a record and he knows how to put it out. He's very strategic about it. But also on another level, he just doesn't just make a record and wait around for a couple of years and wait for things to happen -- he stays prevalent in the market place. He keeps making music and doing things that keeps him relevant."

Part of what has kept him relevant is his collaborations. So when he joined old friend Ja Rule, along with Jadakiss on the street hit "New York," he didn't think much of the consequences.

Except that Ja Rule is a hated nemesis of 50 Cent -- and 50 Cent didn't appreciate other rappers attempting to boost the rapper whom he helped torpedo with blistering rap attacks. So he launched a new one on Fat Joe, along with Jadakiss and others.

While some rappers relish diving into a rap battle to showcase their skills and hype themselves, Fat Joe was more annoyed than anything. He didn't even want to respond -- he had to be persuaded to address the topic on the airwaves by his family and friends.

"I could battle rap forever, but it's a joke to me. I make hit records. I make hit records to motivate the people," he says.

You wouldn't know it from the blistering attack he delivers on 50 Cent on the track getting radio airplay now; on it, he ridicules the gangsta rapper's street cred and dismisses him as a punk.

Joe says it's what the fans wanted, even if he would have rather addressed the issue man-to-man instead of record-to-record.

"I didn't want to do it, but truthfully, the fans really made me do it. I felt like I would have lost a lot of credibility if I didn't do it," he says. "My wife, my son, they all wanted me to get at this dude."

But don't expect Joe to engage 50 Cent or any other rapper who decides to take him on again -- he'd rather concentrate on the music.

"God forbid that this album is more successful than any other one of my albums. They're going to say it's due to the rap beef," he says. "I want to make music that's timeless ... They're not going to be playing battle raps 30 years from now. It's not what I want to be remembered by."

Fat Joe: "I keep telling people I'm the realest."

With his new album, All Or Nothing, just on the horizon (Apr. 26), the Don Cartegena, aka Fat Joe is ready to put the naysayers to rest. Peep it as Fat Joe puts SOHH.com on to what's really good with his new album, dieting, and rap beef.

Reenergized off the success of his summer smash "Lean Back" and a well-received Terror Squad album, Fat Joe is focused this year. With a new diet under his belt, The Don is watching his weight go down as his popularity rises. "It was just a New Year's resolution I made and I stuck with it. Its been working," Joey says before taking a grip of some unbuttered popcorn.
While the newly slim Joe enjoys his diet, he's letting cats know he still has plenty of room for beef. Just last week, Joe called into DJ Kay Slay's set on Hot 97 right after a 50 Cent interview in which the Queens rapper poked fun at Joe and several other NY emcees. "The man disrespected me on a record. He's disrespecting me on the radio. A lot of my fans have been with me 12 years and I keep telling people I'm the realest. I'm at home relaxing and I got people calling me -I turn on the radio and he's talking wild reckless. So I had to call up and tell 'em how I feel. Not like it matters, but it is what it is." Joe tells SOHH.com

Though the Don addresses the beef, he makes it clear he's not the one to start it. "I never looked for this. "I'm not into that rap battle sh!t. In fact I criticized it for years cause to me its WWF talking about people. To me, if you have a problem with a man, you call him up and get it popping. We have a lot of friends in common and he knows exactly where to find me -call me and we can do whatever," Joe tells SOHH.com. "So I'm gonna address it one time and one time only. The fans wanted me to address it, so I am on my album one time and just keep it moving. Cause I'm not into all this negative attention. I'm into making good music. That's it."

Clearly, the Don has better things on his mind like the charity work in his community. "Yeah, I just gave back to my old elementary school like 20 computers and a new Media lab," Joe beams like a proud papa. "I think the gift of giving is so important, especially the gift of education cause they need it."

Joe has a gift for his fans too -a new album set to drop next month. Crack tells SOHH.com, "It's that fire. It's more lyrical than ever. I mean the beats, the concepts -I mean everything is crazy. It's just amazing. I got Timbaland, Scott Storch, DJ Khaled, Swizz Beats. Cool & Dre are executive producing it. I got Remy on there, J.Lo, Mashonda, R. Kelly, Eminem, Lil Jon, Mase -man, just everybody."

Other projects for Joe this year will include his Terror Squad familia. "We got Remy Ma coming out this summer. Tony Sunshine is this summer." Joe sheds light on the quieter members of the Squad, "Prospect and Geddy ain't been working, whenever they're ready, we'll get it done. They more laid back."

Catch Fat Joe giving it his all on the new album All Or Nothing, April 26th.

Fat Joe Missing Rice & Beans In New Diet

Motivated by an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Fat Joe is presently maintaining a strict low-carb diet and has shed 80 pounds.

In addition to his new diet, the overweight rapper has been working out with a personal trainer. Since beginning his new routine, Joe has gone from 370 pounds down to 290.
''Being Puerto Rican and not being able to eat rice and beans -- it's hard,'' Joe complained.

Fat Joe Pushes Back LP And Changes Title To All Or Nothing

Joey Crack's new solo disc had previously been called Things of That Nature.

Tuesday night at Battery Studios in Manhattan, Fat Joe was singing, dancing and get, get, getting it poppin'. Joe, who was playing joints from his new LP, explained that he felt his career and the climate of rap were taking such a serious turn that he's changing the title of
his album from Things of That Nature to All or Nothing.

Another change for Joey Crack is that his long-talked-about solo LP has been pushed back one more time to April 26 due to some wheeling and dealing. His "Hold You Down" duet with Jennifer Lopez will now not only be on her Rebirth album, but on his disc as well . Joe also went back in the studio and recorded about six new songs with producers Cool & Dre.

He's finally decided on an official first single: "So Much More." It's another heater for the clubs and finds Joe promising to make your hair stand up like "Growing Up Gotti" and referencing actress Brigitte Nielsen, minister T.D. Jakes and Snoop's "Drop It Like It's Hot," all in a jovial manner.

"I know you came to party, so get up on your feet," he raps on the chorus. Later on the hook he pays homage to Roger Troutman, singing, "I know you been searching for someone who satisfies you and gives you so much more."

Coming down the pike after "So Much More" will be "Get It Poppin" with Nelly, a call-and-response number on which the ladies agree to "get, get, get it poppin'."

Fat Joe Nearly A No-Show To Flow With J. Lo

Rapper gets lost on the way to studio for joint track 'Hold You Down.'

Jennifer Lopez got quite a party going on her upcoming album, Rebirth, when she invited the folks who worked on her first LP, On the 6, to come back and make magic once again. She ran into a snag, though, when she tried to get Fat Joe.
Lopez thought the rapper would be perfect for a song called "Hold You Down," which she said is likely to be the second single from Rebirth (the first, "Get Right," was released to radio this week). She had gotten the song "kind of late in the process" of making her album, but the moment she heard it, she said, she felt like it described the kind of relationship she has with Joe.

"It's more like a friendship record, you know what I mean?" Fat Joe explained. "Growing up in the Bronx and how we became who we are, but we still keep it real with each other. We don't talk every day, but we got mad love for each other whenever we see each other. It's always crazy love."

"So I'm listening to the song," Lopez said, "and there's nobody I can do this song with except Fat Joe. So I give him a call right away. I'm like, 'What's up? Can you come down? I've got something for us ... and it's hot.' And he's like, 'I'll be there tomorrow.' "

The problem was that the recording studio was "way out" on Long Island, New York, hours away from their home turf in the Bronx.

"The next day I'm at the studio, I'm waiting for him and he's not there," she said. "And I'm like, 'Isn't Joe coming by today?' They're like, 'Yeah, yeah, he's five minutes away.' An hour goes by. I'm like, 'Where's Joe?' 'No, no, he's right down the block.' Now I'm starting to get worried. I'm in the vocal booth and I'm like, 'Isn't Joe supposed to be here by now?' " she asked, imitating the exasperated tone she had used at the time. "They're like, 'Joe's lost. He's been lost for two hours.' I'm like, 'Oh God! No!' I was like, 'What happened?' And they're like, 'I don't know, we gave him bad directions.' ... I wanted to kill somebody."

"It's the Secret Service Studio," Fat Joe laughed. By the time Fat Joe did arrive, Lopez worried that his enthusiasm for the recording process had diminished, especially when he seemed like he just wanted to get it over with. " 'Yo, just play the record, for real,' " she said, imitating his voice.

"Now it starts occurring to me," Lopez said, "that only I heard this song the day before. I haven't really lived with the song yet. What if this song sucks? What if he hates it?"

With these doubts running through her head, she played Fat Joe the track. When it was over, she looked at him to gauge his response, and after thinking for a beat, he smiled. "He's like, 'Yo, that's hot, Ma, I love that.' He loved the song!" she said with relief. "And the rest is history."

"The record was a hit before I even touched it," Joe said. "Like, it's a smash hit. She did me a favor throwing me on there."

That night, Joe started writing his part of the song. The next day, he came back — this time without getting lost — and laid down his vocals. And in the next few weeks, they'll shoot a video, according to Lopez's label rep. "It'll be very real," Lopez said. "It'll be us."

Fat Joe 'Taking It To The Streets And The Club' With Help From Nelly, Just Blaze

Terror Squad captain continues work on Things of That Nature. A couple of years ago, Fat Joe was very content with his new nickname, "G.N." — that's "Grammy-nominated" — when he got his first nod from the academy. But he feels it will soon be time to switch up his moniker.

"Change that to G.W.- Grammy winner,'' he chuckled last week in New York.
While Joe is still reaping the benefits of his and the Terror Squad's Grammy-nominated single, "Lean Back" (see "Kanye Scores 10 Grammy Nominations; Usher And Alicia Keys Land Eight"), the rotund rhyme marvel is looking forward to his next solo LP, Things of That Nature. He pushed the release date back from the crowded fourth quarter to March and he's been working in the interim.

"We went and got real crazy, real crazy!" Joe said. "I got this joint I did with Just Blaze, Scott Storch gave me a joint and Nelly is doing the hook. We're taking it to the streets and the club."

The record crafted by Just Blaze, "Safe to Say," will be the one he leaks to the streets, while Joe is leaning toward the Scott Storch track with Nelly as his first official single. That song is called "Get It Poppin'."

While Joe is handing off the gift of music to the adults in the clubs, he's giving the gift of education to the youngsters. On Tuesday (December 21) in New York, he'll be going to the Bronx and donating 30 computers to P.S. 146, his former elementary school.

"It's my favorite school I ever went to," Joe said. "I always felt I been blessed and I gotta look back out for them. It's something I wanted to do for a long time and I never got to do because I been so busy. We got around to it. It's an amazing thing, this is my neighborhood. It should be incredible. The kids are going to enjoy that. Elementary, that's how you gotta get them, young. Get them educated and literate."

In addition to the computers, Joe is also donating some furniture and a rug to the school's multimedia center. The room will be named after his late sister, Lisa Cartagena.

"It's an honor," he said of the school paying homage to his sibling, who passed away years ago while giving birth. "But I guess it will be more sad. My sister died young and she ain't deserve to die. It's crazy because that was the school me and my sister and brother used to go to. It's a good school and it's across from my block. I learned a lot there and it was a beautiful environment."

Fat Joe brings hip hop back to the Bronx

KRS-One once talked about "bringing back that ol' New York rap," and that's exactly what the Terror Squad intend to do with their sophomore LP, True Story. "We're taking hip hop back to where it started," says Joe, explaining the album's sound, "We're taking it back to the Bronx." And though there is nothing throwback about the album, as it pushes the envelope of contemporary production, as far as attitude is concerned, Joe couldn't be more right. Proud and defiant, yet calm cool and collected, Terror Squad represent exactly what makes hip hop so damn fresh.

Terror Squad, the brainchild of veteran Latino Bronx rapper Fat Joe, began when Joe found his protégé and fallen superstar, Big Punisher in '96. Together the two made platinum magic on Pun's two classic albums, Capitol Punishment and Yeaah Baby!, and introduced the world to their BX-based crew, with their critically hailed, self-titled debut. Though Pun passed in 2000, as an unfortunate result of his obesity, Fat Joe has persevered against all odds both as a soloist, experiencing his greatest commercial success with his fourth album, ‘01's Jealous Ones Still Envy, and as a leader, holding Terror Squad together in spite of haters and skeptics who predicted a collapse after Pun's demise.

"In between every album people want to count me out," says Joe, "but I'm not going no where and this new album is the proof." In an exciting twist Fat Joe decided to add female battle rap champ Remy Ma (Pun's personal talent find) and R&B singer and heart throb, Tony Sunshine to T.S.'s lineup of Prospect and Armageddon. "I feel like my squad is better than ever right now, as far as lyrics," says Joe, "and I think that the addition of Remy and Tony really just gives us the diversity that we were missing last time."

"When we started recording this record," says Joe, "my goal was to find special beats, that sounded different from anything that we've ever done before, but that still have that hard NY shit that our fans have come to expect." The result is undeniable. True Story has a lush musical landscape that at the same time recalls the greatness of Joe and Pun's respective pinnacles as well as ushering a new and soulful feel to the squad. Songs like "New York State of Mind," which features a brilliant sample of Billy Joel's famous tune of the same name, and "Lean Back," the infectious first single which caught fire at radio from the moment of it's release, exemplify the LP's ornate, but roots hip hop production.

Though all members shine on True Story, everyone in the crew agrees that the album is Remy's in its essence. "I didn't go into this trying to dominate the album," the surprisingly gentle thug princess says, "but I'm honored that the guys feel like I did such a good job, because I really used all the energy and creativity that I'd been saving up when I recorded." With the most verses on the LP, other than Joe, Remy Ma, a Bronx native who was discovered and recruited by Pun, has been waiting in the wings since 2000 when she signed to the now out-of-business Loud Records (and actually made an LP, which was sadly shelved). "I'm actually glad that things didn't work out with that first album," she says with a surprisingly upbeat tone "because I still had a lot of growing up to do, as an artist and a person, and now I'm finally ready." Remy recently lit up New York this spring with her crushing defeat of another female rapper, Lady Luck, at a closed-door battle. "I still don't think that beating her was that big a deal," says the 23 year-old, "but ever since I did that, I've been hearing my name all over the place: on radio, in magazines." Backed by her staring turn on the T.S. single, and negotiations with several interested major labels, Remy is sure to continue hearing her name all about town.

Adding a unique flavor to the album, which sets it apart from its predecessor, Tony Sunshine, who also recorded a shelved LP for Loud, also stands tall in the mix. "I've been singing basically as long as I can remember," says the soft-spoken, thoughtful Sunshine, "but I really started out singing Latin music as a child, and it wasn't until high school that I discovered Motown and Stevie Wonder, which was the music that's become my passion." And it's that supple blend of Latin flavor and R&B soul that the 24 year-old BX native Sunshine lends to True Story. "For me it's all about balance," he says, "because people want to assume that because you sing you're soft, so I didn't want to live up to that, but at the same time, I knew I wanted to make something that the ladies could relate to." Evidence of this balance can be found on Tony's emotive solo song "Streets of New York", as well as on the hilarious "Nothing's Gonna Stop Me" in which Tony actually rhymes while an off-key Fat Joe belts out the melody. In addition to lacing True Story, Tony Sunshine has also been putting the finishing touches on his Terror Squad/Epidemic Music/Jive solo album, which is produced by Miami heat-makers, Cool & Dre. "It's so crazy for me right now, because I got the Terror Squad album bubbling at the same time that radio is starting to play my first single "Oh My God" with P. Diddy and Dirtbag."

Not to be eclipsed by the newcomers Prospect and Armageddon both demonstrate new energy and a renewed approach on the new album. "I have nothing but trust for Joe," says Prospect, "so I just keep workin', yaknawmean? And I come through and play my part, just like on the first album, ‘cause I know my time is coming sooner or later." And it is with that soldier-like attitude that Pros wrecks havoc on the mic throughout True Story, adding his sharp lyrical barbs wherever Joe felt they were needed. And Armageddon, who Fat Joe describes as "the deepest lyricist in the crew," finds new life on the LP contributing not just rhymes this time, but also beats. "I been making beats for a couple of years now," says ‘Geddy, as they affectionately call him, "but I really started taking it more serious recently, ‘cause I see it as another way to add on creatively." Sticking strictly to samples, which suits Geddy's no nonsense demeanor, he gives the LP it's dark side, the Yin to the somewhat upbeat Yang provided by big name beatmakers like Scott Storch, Buckwild and Lord Finesse.

"This summer is gonna be known as the summer of T.S.," Fat Joe proclaims, when asked what his goal for the LP is. "People don't even know what's gonna hit them when they hear this record. And this is just the beginning." Indeed, after just over a decade in the game, slowly cultivating his loyal fanbase and growing his team, naturally, and at their own pace, Fat Joe is ready to begin anew, as both his team's franchise player, coach and owner. And as unlikely as it sounds, Joe's Bronx tale is no doubt, a True Story.

Fat Joe and J-Lo's ''Rebirth''

Fabolous and Terror Squad's Fat Joe will guest on the next Jennifer Lopez album. Due for release March 1, J-Lo's new set will be called "Rebirth," reports MTV. Fabolous joins the singer-actress-dancer on a remix of "Get Right," while Fat Joe duets with J-Lo on "Hold You Down." J-Lo's husband, Marc Anthony, also sings on the album.

Fat Joe and Ruben Studdard record a duet

Ruben Studdard has begun his post-"Idol" recording career with a really, really heavy collaboration: The Velvet Teddy Bear has teamed up with platinum-selling rapper Fat Joe, according to Studdard's label, J Records. Joe and Ruben recorded a song named "Can I Get Your Attention?". "The song is a hot summer banger that will introduce Ruben to the world not as an 'American Idol,' but as a professional," Fat Joe told MTV News. There's no guarantee, however, that the song will be included on Ruben's debut album, which is tentatively set for release in August.

"Ruben is a gentle giant, and my son loves his work, so that gives me good points with him," Fat Joe told MTV News. The producer on the session was Harold Lilly, who's worked with artists ranging from R&B diva Deborah Cox to boy band O-Town. A J Records spokesperson couldn't provide further scoop on Studdard's album -- or, for that matter, details on the no-doubt staggering catering bill for the Fat Joe confab.

Fat Joe's new album pushed back to February

Is there such a thing as too much Fat Joe? Conventional wisdom would say no, but apparently that's not the case. Atlantic Records has decided to push the release of the Terror Squad leader's album, '' Things of that Nature'', back early next year.We feel ['Take Me Home'] is gonna be a major, major hit, so I didn't want to have my album out at the same time and compete against ourselves," the rapper said. "So we just pushed it back to the first week in February."

Terror Squad recently shot a video for "Take Me Home," the album's second and final single, with director Raul Conde in Los Angeles (see "Remy Martin Provides Steamy Action On Terror Squad Video Set").

The additional time has also allowed the MC the chance to add three additional tracks to the set. Joe has also recorded a song with Jennifer Lopez that will appear on her forthcoming album and possibly on his (see "A Boastful Fat Joe Shows Off His Things Of That Nature").

Plans also call for the album to include the "Lean Back" remix that features Eminem, Mase and Lil Jon (see "Eminem, Mase Pitch In To Make 'Lean Back' Even Hotter").

Originally slated for release on November 30, Things of That Nature is said to feature production and guest appearances from the Terror Squad, R. Kelly, Timbaland, Scott Storch, Swizz Beatz, Cool & Dre and DJ Khaled.

Fat Joe doesn't get enough respect as an artist

"I put a lot into the game," Fat Joe said Wednesday night during the second of two listening sessions at Sony Studios in Manhattan. "I ain't really get the respect and just due I deserve as an artist. Right now n---as is listening. I'mma keep coming and coming. Right now it's a problem.''
Joe's next solo LP, Things of That Nature, is all but done and has been given a release date of November 30.

"I make my livin' with rap and I feel this album is a classic," Mr. Modesty continued to tell all those within an earshot. Then he let the music speak for itself.

On Joe's album, you'll find songs like "Here's a Little Story," on which he raps, "Remy braggin' about the dough we got/ She ain't lyin', I'm flyin', plus I bought us a yacht." Elsewhere, on "Rules," he explains how to make it as a Hispanic music artist: "Can't be cornballs like Menudo/ Ricky Martin is cool, but with them tight pants how you gonna conceal your tools?" But don't think that just because he's dancing and smiling on TV Joe has forgotten his roots.

"Victim" is one of the hardest records to hit the streets in some time, and later on the album he has a series of songs labeled "Temptations" on which he yells out, "Lord, forgive my temptation to kill/ But I gotta show these mutha----as the definition of real."

Joe and the Terror Squad are off to Los Angeles on Monday and Tuesday to shoot a video for "Take Me Home," then he plans to shoot three more clips — one with the Inc. family and Jadakiss for Ja Rule's "New York," then possibly a low-budget street video for "Victim," and once he's decided the official first single for Things of That Nature, he'll film a short for that.

 

Fat Joe backs off ''Get Up'' and leans toward ''Listen Baby''

There are rappers who discover a hot sound and milk it for a few singles. Fat Joe isn't one of them. '' Of course ( I feel pressure to follow-up 'Lean Back), the Terror Squad leader said of his upcoming solo album. But we can't try to repeat the same magic. I'm just trying to take it somewhere else. I can't do 'Lean Back' again. I can't come back with 'Lean Forward.' Only Weird Al Yankovic could pull that one off."

Fat Joe has gone back and forth on the lead-off single from the album Things of That Nature, which was recently pushed back to February (see "Fat Joe's Album Pushed Back To February") so as not to interfere with Terror Squad's new single, "Take Me Home" (see "Remy Martin Provides Steamy Action On Terror Squad Video Set" ). While the Timbaland-produced "Get Up" was once the frontrunner, Joe is now leaning toward "Listen Baby."

"Swizz Beatz produced it and it's crazy," Joe said. "It's a club track, but it's just really talking to them ladies, man. I just been really vibing with the ladies lately."

At least a few other tracks on Things of That Nature speak directly to ladies, including one with R. Kelly that shouts out "women in high-heel stilettos."

"R. Kelly, I love him," Joe said. "He's the best of our time — Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, that type of dude. So I love whenever I can work with him. He's a good brother, a positive brother."

Scott Storch, Cool & Dre, DJ Khaled, Streetrunner and the Terror Squad also contribute production or raps to the album. The "Lean Back" remix with Eminem, Mase and Lil Jon will also be included.

The track list for Things of That Nature has yet to be finalized, but one song sure to make the cut is "Rules," which features the memorable line, "Can't be cornballs like Menudo/ Ricky Martin is cool, but with them tight pants how you gonna conceal your tools?" (see "A Boastful Fat Joe Shows Off His Things Of That Nature ").

"There's rules to this game," Joe explained. "For years, I been one of the most prominent and dominant Latino rappers out, and a lot of people ask me, 'Yo, why you the only one really doing it right now at a major level?' They almost swear, like I'm holding them back or somethin'. So I'm just trying to tell them, we gotta get off the corny stuff, start making music for everybody. That way we could get across to everybody. 'Cause hip-hop is just one global culture: white, black, Chinese, Hispanic. We all just love the music and the culture. So if you wanna make great music, make music for everybody. So I just pretty much made a manual for my Latino brothers and sisters on how we do it."

As for the title Things of That Nature, Joe said it was just a saying he remembered from his childhood. "A lot of my titles in the past have been real, real powerful: Represent, Jealous One's Envy, Loyalty, Don Cartagena," he said. "So I'm just taking it light and bouncing off the turbulence."

Joe, who just shot a video with Ja Rule and Jadakiss for Rule's "New York" (see "'New York' Love Goes Both Ways When Ja, Joe And Jada Hit The Bronx" ), is lining up a tour for early 2005.

"We're trying to holla at Nelly," he said. "We're seein' who's doin' big things, who's going to have a big successful tour that we want to be a part of."

Fat Joe promotes Bacardi in Harlem, NY

Terror Squad leader Fat Joe and rap pioneer Melle Mel recently wrapped up shooting for Bacardi Superior's TV and print advertising campaign.

Shot in Harlem, New York City, the spots feature Joe rocking a custom diamond encrusted "Bacardi Bat" necklace worth almost $100,000 and designed by Jacob the Jeweler.

The story line follows Joe in a Harlem bodega as he purchases a bottle of Bacardi. He and some friends hop on the subway en route to Brooklyn, where he meets up with his friend, legendary rapper Melle Mel, of The Furious Five.

The commercials were shot by Hip-Hop video director Philip Atwell. Those who read credits will recognize Atwell's as the director of videos for Dr. Dre, Eminem and 50 Cent.

He also co-directed 2001’s sleeper hit comedy “The Wash,” which stars Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and others.

"What we tried to accomplish by bringing these two artists together is, old school meets new school of Hip-Hop," Bacardi representative Stacy Druker told AllHipHop.com.

The commercials were shot by well known Hip-Hop video director Philip Atwell. Those who read credits will recognize Atwell's name from his early work Dr. Dre, Eminem and 50 Cent.

"We believe Atwell gives the spot even more credibility,” Druker added.

Fat Joe's new album ''Things of That Nature''

Fat Joe has gone back and forth on the lead-off single from the album Things of That Nature, which was recently pushed back to February (see "Fat Joe's Album Pushed Back To February") so as not to interfere with Terror Squad's new single, "Take Me Home" (see "Remy Martin Provides Steamy Action On Terror Squad Video Set" ). While the Timbaland-produced "Get Up" was once the frontrunner, Joe is now leaning toward "Listen Baby."

"Swizz Beatz produced it and it's crazy," Joe said. "It's a club track, but it's just really talking to them ladies, man. I just been really vibing with the ladies lately." At least a few other tracks on Things of That Nature speak directly to ladies, including one with R. Kelly that shouts out "women in high-heel stilettos."

"R. Kelly, I love him," Joe said. "He's the best of our time — Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, that type of dude. So I love whenever I can work with him. He's a good brother, a positive brother." Scott Storch, Cool & Dre, DJ Khaled, Streetrunner and the Terror Squad also contribute production or raps to the album. The "Lean Back" remix with Eminem, Mase and Lil Jon will also be included.

The track list for Things of That Nature has yet to be finalized, but one song sure to make the cut is "Rules," which features the memorable line, "Can't be cornballs like Menudo/ Ricky Martin is cool, but with them tight pants how you gonna conceal your tools?" (see "A Boastful Fat Joe Shows Off His Things Of That Nature ").

"There's rules to this game," Joe explained. "For years, I been one of the most prominent and dominant Latino rappers out, and a lot of people ask me, 'Yo, why you the only one really doing it right now at a major level?' They almost swear, like I'm holding them back or somethin'. So I'm just trying to tell them, we gotta get off the corny stuff, start making music for everybody. That way we could get across to everybody. 'Cause hip-hop is just one global culture: white, black, Chinese, Hispanic. We all just love the music and the culture. So if you wanna make great music, make music for everybody. So I just pretty much made a manual for my Latino brothers and sisters on how we do it."

As for the title Things of That Nature, Joe said it was just a saying he remembered from his childhood. "A lot of my titles in the past have been real, real powerful: Represent, Jealous One's Envy, Loyalty, Don Cartagena," he said. "So I'm just taking it light and bouncing off the turbulence." Joe, who just shot a video with Ja Rule and Jadakiss for Rule's "New York" (see "'New York' Love Goes Both Ways When Ja, Joe And Jada Hit The Bronx" ), is lining up a tour for early 2005. "We're trying to holla at Nelly," he said. "We're seein' who's doin' big things, who's going to have a big successful tour that we want to be a part of."

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