This Week's Main Pick
Holding It Down For: The BX
Independent Album: Jealous Ones Still Envy 2 (J.O.S.E. 2)
Real Spit: Joey Crack is already home. While standing in front of the project building where he grew up, Fat Joe was interrupted by one of the residents, demanding, "Take a picture of me and Joey." The elderly lady continued, "I knew Joey a for a long time. Get me and Joey together."
With a grin, Joe stood beside the woman while the camera rolled (the lady confused our video camera for a still camera).
"This building is my life," Joe, born Joseph Cartagena, continued. "This is where I was born and raised. I never thought I would leave this building. I never wanted to. In fact, I had too much money still living in this building. My girl was like, 'We gotta move or I'm leaving you.' This is my home right here. It will always be my home no matter what. Whatever house I buy, this is always my home. This is where I'm from. This is what makes Joe Crack.
"I grew up my whole life here," Joe added, moving the conversation to the benches that sit in front of the building. "I got pictures on this bench when I'm 2 years old, just standing on this bench. I got pictures right on these benches. N---as tried to kill me on these benches a million times. I had to hop over the fence. N---as just pulled up."
Thank goodness Joe survived. He's entertained his following since 1993 and, over the past decade, he's been able to keep a consistent presence with hit records like "Lean Back" and "Make It Rain." Last week he put out album number nine, Jealous Ones Still Envy 2 (J.O.S.E. 2).
"The thing about this album, it's real music. It's not like a mixtape — I'm making real music," he said. "Records your mom would have sung back in the days while cleaning the house, and you a little shorty looking at your mom singing 'Congratulations' or 'Music Is My Life' or even 'Aloha' — it's crazy."
Joe started promoting the album earlier this year releasing his single with Akon, "One." However, differences with the record label forced the LP to be pushed back.
"I'm the king of not pointing fingers," Joe said. "I feel you gotta be a man whether you win or lose. I hate people who have bumpy starts or not the success they used to, and start pointing fingers at the record label. I take it on the chin. I'm a stand-up guy. I had conflicts with the record label — let's not say the workers, the staff, they good people, but the guys up top. We had it out a few times with this project right here."
Joints to Check For
» "Okay Okay." "My man Drew produced that," Joe explained. "I wanted to go in with that hard body — give that traditional Joe Crack, that traditional Fat Joe. That 'Okay, okay, oh-kay!' is firing a warning. I go in hard on that thing right there. It is what it is. It's warning them, 'Yeaahhhh! Okay, okay, okay.' It's describing my life in the X where I come from."
» "Put You in the Game." "It's that real — I try to get witty with the flow, the lyrics. It's produced by Schife out of Palm Beach — incredible new producer out of Palm Beach," Joe explained. "T-Pain does what he does. Every woman wants to be put in the game. That's just a feel-good record. I'm talking about how I seen her standing on the sidelines. I want to put her in the game. Sometimes girls don't realize they the next Kimora Lee, the next Sanaa Lathan. It's just a matter of somebody putting them in the game."
» "Congratulations." " 'Congratulations' — I had to do this joint. [It felt like] Harlem, 2 in the morning, that two-step vibe — that feel-good vibe. You never heard me flow like that before. That's what I try to do. My new high is changing my flows. So much you could do, nine albums, Terror Squad albums, Big Pun albums — how could I do something new? I'm trying to create new flows from me. It's about, 'Everybody wants to be famous, but be careful what you wish for. Congratulations, you're famous, but now you gotta cut your hair off like Britney.' It's a lot that comes with living your life under the media."
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