WEST HOLLYWOOD, California — 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."