NEW YORK — Fat Joe welcomed all to his concert at SOB’s Tuesday night (actually, early Wednesday morning) on one condition. Don’t expect any of his radio hits.
“I told y’all n—as, you want ’Lean Back,’ get the f— out!” Joe said halfway through his show. “You want ’We Thuggin’,’ get the f— out! You want ’Make It Rain’? Get the f— out. Y’all must’ve forgot.”
Joe took it all the way back to the underground essence of his career at his concert. He’s been around since 1993, been nominated for Grammy Awards and VMAs, and has had big hits. But during this concert, it was just street bangers, classic album cuts and new songs. He also paraded out a series of guests that were reigning supreme in the era of hip-hop he started in.
The show, a part of New York radio station Hot 97’s Who’s Next Live series and staged in cooperation with RapRadar.com, commenced with “Heavenly Father,” from Joe’s The Darkside, Vol.1, which was released Tuesday. From there, it was the Bronx Kingpin’s first record “Flow Joe,” then two early classics, “Sh– Is Real” and “Success.”
“Is real hip-hop in the building?” he asked after performing a portion of his verse from LL Cool J’s legendary “I Shot Ya.” “I’m just trying to evolve. All I ever do is try to grow. I love you guys!”
Later, Joe saluted his brother in music, Big Pun. He spoke on how Pun didn’t get the accolades he deserved for his talent.
Joell Ortiz then came out to pay homage to Pun as well, rapping the MC’s lyrics from “Twinz (Deep Cover 98)” which uses the beat from Dr. Dre’s “Deep Cover.” Joe and Joell jumped in the crowd and then took it back to the stage.
Later, another deceased great was spotlighted: Big L.
“I rapped with Eminem, Big Pun, Gang Starr, M.O.P.. I rapped with some of the biggest n—as in the game,” Joe said. He then said that L was the only collaborator to tell him he would topple him on a song. In an act of friendly competition, L said he was gonna “rip him down” on the song “The Enemy” and take his fans.
The set went back to the Darkside with “Kilo” and “I Am Crack,” then shifted to the creator of the timeless album Dare Iz a Darkside, Redman.
The Funk Doctor Spock came out to “How to Roll a Blunt” and gave the crowd an added burst of energy. Joe told him to cut the record because he doesn’t smoke. Joe said he wanted to hear the record he would play before he used to go out and shoot people: Doc then went into “Tonight’s Da Night.”
Diamond D came out soon after Red with “Sally Got a One Track Mind.”
The next guest was Buckshot from Black Moon. Buck, who’s celebrating his own milestone — the 15th anniversary of Duck Down Records — ripped “How Many MCs.” Jeru the Damaja followed with “Da Bichez.”
“This is like Rikers Island with music on New Year’s Eve!” Jeru said about the atmosphere. He ended his stage time with “Come Clean.”
Crack’s rowdiest guests were undeniably M.O.P. The Mash Out Posse threw out their riot music with “How About Some Hardcore” and “Ante Up.”
Joe ended his night with more tracks from The Darkside. He went to “Valley of Death,” then brought out dancers reminiscent of Public Enemy’s S1W. They danced in sync to “Terminator X to the Edge Of Panic.” The music then transitioned into Fat Joe’s “No Problems,” which incorporates some of the samples from that record.
After “If It Ain’t About Money,” Joe began to talk about why he recorded the song “I’m Gone,” which is a tribute to the late MC, Guru, and was produced by his Gang Starr partner DJ Premier.
Joe said he was sickened and saddened by reading rumors about Guru on the Internet when his friend passed away.
“F— the computer!” Joe, who earlier in the night performed a mini-set of other songs from his career produced by Premier, yelled, reliving his thoughts at the time. He then went into “I’m Gone” and DJ Premier came out onstage. Joe’s DJ, Christion then played one of Gang Starr’s signature records, “Mass Appeal,” to finish out the night.