“If I put my car on auto pilot it would drive through the Bronx,”; said Fat Joe as he drove and talked to S2S by phone about his new album, The Darkside Vol 1. He returned to the dark side for his fans who always told him that they love the original Fat Joe Da Gangsta, a moniker he shortened before becoming famous. But how can a millionaire think like a street dude?
“Fat Joe never turned bougie,” he said, defending his ability to return to the mindset from his earliest solo albums, Represent and Don Cartegena. Remembering something Will Smith told Oprah recently, Joe added, “He said something I always say. He got way more money than me, and [Will] was like, ‘I always feel like a poor guy.'” Joe feels the same way.
To prove he’s still got what the streets want, Joe spits threats and calls names over a neck-breaking beat on “Ha Ha (Slow Down Son)” featuring Young Jeezy. He followed that up with a single featuring heartthrob Trey Songz, “If it Ain’t About Money.”
He might not get along with 50 Cent, but Joe rolled out the welcome mat for several other artists who appear on nearly every track. Busta Ryhmes, R.Kelly, Cam’Ron and Lil’ Wayne are featured, among others. “I just like making music with people,” Joe said. “Although, it sounds like a lot of cameos, it’s real Fat Joe. It doesn’t sound like a compilation album.”
Fat Joe is still the boss of Terror Squad, but this time the name belongs not to the dismantled crew that Big Pun made famous, but to a fledgling imprint. Still, the veteran rapper is on a mission to get the respect he says he is due. “Who else you know that can be in the game for 16 years, that keeps coming with top-three songs in America, but still doesn’t get mentioned in ‘who’s the best rappers’ and none of that?” Joe asked. “I’m out to show the world that y’all going to have to respect my contribution to the game.”
- Sabrina M. Parker
Check out the video for Fat Joe, featuring Trey Songz, “If It Ain’t About Money”
Check out Fat Joe, featuring Young Jeezy, “Ha Ha (Slow Down Son)”