Fat Joe's feeling pretty good about himself these days. Not only has he gone into the studio to make what he calls "the most phenomenal album on the planet Earth," he's named the effort Me, Myself & I. Joe's eyeing a September release for the LP.
"Everybody I tell the title to, they be like, 'Ah, Jeee-sus! Joe is on that bullsh-- right now,' " he said from Miami, where he's taking in the NBA Finals.
"I'm trying to keep them looks up," he added. "When people think he ain't as strong as he used to be, I get them looks. But right now? Ah, man, forget about it. It's too much. I never had an album like this. I made straight monsters. It's really a problem. I'm ready, boy. I'm amped up. My album is crazy. It's over. Bet the kitchen sink on me. Bet it, run out, spend your life's savings. It's on and popping. It's crazy. I can't believe it's coming out crazy like that."
So far, Joe has worked with producers Scott Storch, DJ Khaled, the Runners, Street Runner, Big D and LV, who produced his current street buzzer, "Damn." Cool & Dre and Just Blaze are still on tap. Joe said he's expecting a better outcome than his last LP, All or Nothing, which was critically acclaimed but not a big seller.
"This album right here is way better than that album," he said. "N---as is just now coming up to me and saying, 'All or Nothing is sick.' I don't know if it was the beef with 50 Cent that [caused people to throw] their earmuffs on (see "Fat Joe Says 50's Taunts Led To VMA Dis") 'cause he was so strong. But n---as is coming up to me now saying, 'Yo, the album is ill.' "
Joe also blames the lack of sales on going hard with the single "Get It Poppin' " with Nelly. In hindsight, he thinks he maybe should have gone with "Listen Baby" or "Get Up" to start things off.
"N---as didn't want to see [my alias] Joe Crack, the guy that just did [Terror Squad's] 'Lean Back' and [Ja Rule's] 'New York,' with Nelly, dancing. Nelly is my n---a; I love him to death. I actually like the song, but it wasn't the right song at the time. But being that it was taking off on radio by itself, we was like, 'Let's go with it.' "
For his new album, Joe is negotiating to go the independent route but said he'll still be working closely with his longtime label Atlantic on distribution.
"I'm trying to work the album like I'm on major though," Joe said. "I'm trying to come with smashes."
On Sunday, Joe hosted the Puerto Rican Day Parade on New York's Fox and UPN affiliate stations. He called the experience historic.
"I gotta let them know that rappers are intelligent," he said. "They let me run with it. They was like, 'Go.' ... I didn't think they was gonna give me the ball like that.
"What shocked the people, I'm sure, is how much knowledge I had of the community," he continued. "When I tell people, 'I'm New York,' I'm New York for real. People were like, 'You had so much knowledge of the community.' I'm like, 'This is my neighborhood, New York City.' Of course I know who the congressman is. ... It's my job to know. This is what I rep."