Happy Birthday, Fabolous!

Go ahead and cut an extra large slice of cake for Fabolous today, as not only has one of the hardest-working MCs in the game earned it, but it also happens to be his birthday. The Brooklyn-born rapper (known to his mom as John Jackson) is now 33 years old. Not only has Fabolous built up a strong resumé of hits for himself, but he is also one of the most beloved members of the New York hip-hop community (it is impossible to find anybody who says anything negative about him, mostly because he's such a smart and sweet guy).

Loso first burst onto the music scene in 2001 with the release of Ghetto Fabolous (which had the retroactively unfortunate street date of September 11). He scored an immediate hit with "Can't Deny It" and became an instant success because of his easy-going flow, clever word play and adaptability to a beat (he could shift from fundamental street sounds to R&B jams and still sound credible either way). The hits continued with his second album (2003's Street Dreams) as well as his third release (2004's Real Talk). Fabolous was the rare rapper who could have it both ways, as he always seemed to be well respected by other rappers and hardcore fans while still scoring hits on pop charts (including the massive crossover smashes "Can't Let You Go" and "Baby"). His latest album Loso's Way (which has a sequel scheduled for early next year) drives home everything that Fab does well, from the pop-friendly winks ("Throw It in the Bag") to the bombastic boasts ("My Time").

But Fab's signature hit is probably "Breathe," the lead single from Real Talk. Buoyed by the best beat Just Blaze ever dropped, it's an intense sprint through some of Fab's strongest imagery and most clever turns of phrase (and it has an appropriately intense video to boot).

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