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Fat Joe Biography

Last updated: 07/23/2012 12:00:00 PM

SOME things never change. South Bronx-native Joe Cartagena's upbringing in the heart of hip-hop's birthplace has kept him grounded. His success has had little effect on his ability to produce rap music in its purist form. After three solid albums, the man known as Fat Joe still feeds hungry hip-hop heads with the most genuine streetwise hardcore music in the game. Now, with his new Terror Squad/Atlantic release, "JEALOUS ONES STILL ENVY (J.O.S.E.)," Fat Joe brings rap back home to the streets, seizing control from the current wave of commercial-friendly thugs.

"I had a lot to prove with this album, and whenever I find myself at my most vulnerable point, I seem to step it up," Joe says. "I always knew the formula. I knew what I had to do with this album." "JEALOUS ONES STILL ENVY (J.O.S.E.)" stands as a sequel to Joe's critically acclaimed second album, 1995's "JEALOUS ONES ENVY" the rapper's personal favorite of his previously released work. "That album was cheated out of its commercial just due," he says, "so I had to do this album, which is like a Part Two to that one."

The album is Fat Joe's long-awaited follow-up to 1998's gold-certified label debut, "DON CARTEGENA," and his first since the untimely passing of his close friend Big Punisher. The collection reflects the Bronx Don's period of mourning and perseverance in the face of hard times. Following Pun's tragic death, Joe knew that he had to continue the Latino hip-hop legacy. Nevertheless, he remains determined to create rap music that everyone can relate to, regardless of their ethnic background.

"I don't make Spanish rap," Joe affirms. "I'm just a rapper that happens to be Spanish."

To create "JEALOUS ONES STILL ENVY (J.O.S.E.)," Joe was joined in the studio by a rogues gallery of today's baddest producers - including Rockwilder (Busta Rhymes, Erick Sermon, Redman), Irv Gotti (DMX, Ja Rule), Psycho Les (Mos Def, The Arsonists), and Alchemist (Talib Kweli, Capone-N-Noreaga). In addition, a variety of superstar associates turn up on the album, including Xzibit, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Noreaga, Petey Pablo, and Buju Banton, as well as Joe's Terror Squad cohorts, Armageddon and Prospect. The album's powerhouse first single is "We Thuggin (featuring R. Kelly)," which was the result of the two artist's longtime mutual admiration for each other's music.

"When I met R. Kelly, he was like, 'Joe, we gotta do something,'" Fat Joe recalls. "He only had to say that once; I was already on my way to link up with him."

Fat Joe is on lyrical fire throughout "JEALOUS ONES STILL ENVY," shooting machine-gun rhymes over smoking street beats on such tracks as "Murder Rap (featuring Armageddon)." "Opposites Attract," sees the Don joined by his promising female proté–“? Remy Martin, while the infectious blend of styles on "Fight Club" (featuring M.O.P. and Petey Pablo) adds up to the album's hardest joint.