Joseph Antonio Cartagena (born August 19, 1970), better known by his stage name Fat Joe, is an American rapper of Puerto Rican descent, and is signed to Imperial Records. Fat Joe also runs his own label Terror Squad Entertainment, where he is the CEO and main artist, also being a performer in its musical group Terror Squad among several other New York City-based rappers.
Fat Joe's first album was Represent, released in 1993, followed by Jealous One's Envy in 1995. From 1998 to 2006, he was signed to Atlantic Records, releasing four albums under the label, Don Cartagena in 1998, Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E.) in 2001, Loyalty in 2002, and All or Nothing in 2005. Around the release of All or Nothing, Fat Joe started a highly publicized feud with another New York City-based rapper 50 Cent, who attacked Fat Joe in his song "Piggy Bank", because Joe previously worked with Ja Rule. His most popular song in which he performed was "Lean Back" with Terror Squad, which was a number-one hit in the summer of 2004.
Starting in 2006, when his album Me, Myself, & I was released, Fat Joe was signed to Imperial Records, distributing his recordings through his own Terror Squad Entertainment. His second album released under the label was The Elephant in the Room, which was released on March 11, 2008. The 50 Cent and Fat Joe feud has continued, which you can read about here.
1993-1997: Early years
Under stage name "Fat Joe da Gangsta", and part of D.I.T.C., Cartegena was signed to Relativity Records in the early 1990s, recording material and working with many artists who he would later sign to his own label. In 1993, his debut album Represent was released, featuring production from The Beatnuts, Diamond D, Lord Finesse, and others. Its lead single "Flow Joe" peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart; other minor singles from the album included "Watch the Sound" and "This Shit is Real".
In 1995, Fat Joe released his second studio album, Jealous One's Envy, which peaked at #71 on The Billboard 200 and at #7 on Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums. The album featured a guest appearance from KRS-One and production from Diamond D. The lead single was "Success", which did not chart, but his second single, "Envy" peaked at #8 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. The success of this album led Fat Joe to be featured on the remix of LL Cool J's single "I Shot Ya" along with Foxy Brown, Keith Murray and Prodigy of Mobb Deep.
1998-2005: Signing to Atlantic Records, Terror Squad
Released in 1998, Don Cartagena was Joe's third album and his first for Atlantic Records. It peaked on The Billboard 200 at #7 and #2 on Top R&B/Hip Hop albums, eventually being certified gold by the RIAA. The album featured two hit singles "Bet Ya Man Can't (Triz)", and "Don Cartagena". Guest appearances included Nas, Diddy, Big Pun, Raekwon, Jadakiss, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Within the album, Fat Joe debuted his own group Terror Squad that consisted of the late Big Pun, as well as Cuban Link, Triple Seis, Prospect, Armageddon and later Remy Ma.
Joe himself acknowledged, in an interview with HipHopGame.com, that he has received criticism for releasing only one solo album by a former Terror Squad member, Remy Ma, as well as barely featuring original members Prospect and Armageddon on "True Story." Terror Squad singer Tony Sunshine has had possible album release dates pushed back over three years, and Joe had stated that artists Prospect and Armageddon have not released solo albums yet as the result of them being "really lazy". Former Terror Squad member Triple Seis also went on record when asked who had written Fat Joe's lyrics, stating that he and Pun were Joe's ghostwriters, and asserts that Joe continues to hire ghostwriters.
Fat Joe released his fourth album Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E.) in 2001, featuring production from the then-popular Irv Gotti. The album featured a star-studded line up from the likes of Ashanti, Ja Rule, N.O.R.E., Busta Rhymes, Petey Pablo, M.O.P., Ludacris, R. Kelly, Buju Banton, and artists from his Terror Squad label. The lead single "We Thuggin'" featuring R. Kelly was a big hit in late 2001, but would not reach the level of the Irv Gotti-produced "What's Luv?" which was a massive hit in early 2002 and featured Murder Inc. superstars Ja Rule and Ashanti. The album was Fat Joe's biggest hit as it was successful from its January release all the way into May, being certified platinum. However, Fat Joe's fifth album Loyalty, out in 2002 and featuring production from Irv Gotti, was not as successful.
In 2003, Fat Joe was featured in the pop single "I Want You" by Mexican singer Thalía. The same year, he and Tony Sunshine performed the single "Crush Tonight" from Loyalty on the Comedy Central program Chappelle's Show, hosted by comedian Dave Chappelle.
Despite the setback, Fat Joe scored a number-one hit in 2004 with his group Terror Squad, collaborating with Remy Ma on the Scott Storch production "Lean Back" from the album True Story. The song was criticized twice by conservative columnist L. Brent Bozell III for its extensive use of obscene language. However, Jason Birchmeier of All Music Guide called the song "a perfect club-ready duet between Joe and Remy that boasts a trademark Scott Storch beat and a memorable singalong hook (and dance-along step)"
Three years later, in 2005, Fat Joe released his sixth album All or Nothing, noted for featuring the popular diss track "My Fofo" aimed at fellow New York rapper 50 Cent, who had dissed Joe for recording with Ja Rule. All or Nothing spawned the singles "So Much More" and "Get It Poppin" featuring Nelly, also with guest appearances from Eminem, Mase, Remy Ma, Mashonda, and R. Kelly.
2006-present: Terror Squad Entertainment signing
Me, Myself & I, released in 2006, is Fat Joe's seventh album. It was his first album released on his new deal with Virgin Records. It was his first album since Jealous One's Envy not to receive RIAA certification. It featured the hit single "Make It Rain" with southern rapper Lil Wayne, followed by "No Drama (Clap and Revolve)".
In June 2007, the Reverend Michael Pfleger targeted Fat Joe as among several rappers he believed promoted misogyny in his billboard campaign "Stop Listening to Trash", which was launched June 18, 2007 throughout Chicago, Illinois, where Pfleger preaches. Also that month, Fat Joe was featured in the DJ Khaled single "We Takin' Over", from the album We the Best, alongside several other performers.
Fat Joe's eighth solo studio album The Elephant in the Room was distributed by Imperial Records, a division of Capitol Records and Terror Squad Entertainment, and released on March 11, 2008. At the end of January 2008, Fat Joe and his longtime accountant Brian Dittrich both denied rumors spreading on the Internet that Fat Joe owed the IRS in taxes. Fat Joe has completed his upcoming album, The Elephant in the Room, and it features guests such as Pooh Bear, Lil Wayne, J. Holiday, KRS-One, Jackie Rubio, and more.
As of the first and second week of sales for the newly-released album The Elephant in the Room, the album sold 61,000.
Consequently, 50 Cent attacked Fat Joe in his 2005 song "Piggy Bank" from his album The Massacre. Fat Joe, subsequently, attacked 50's street credibility and called him a "coward" on a phone interview with Kay Slay of New York City hip-hop radio station WQHT. Fat Joe also released a track criticizing 50 Cent in his 2005 album All or Nothing titled "My FoFo" (referring to his .44). What many considered odd, in the same year that Mase worked with Fat Joe, he worked with 50 and he was in 50 Cent's video Window Shopper.
At the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, while Fat Joe introduced the reggaeton act featuring Daddy Yankee, Joe remarked, "I feel safe with all the police protection, courtesy of G-Unit." Shortly after, when MTV switched to a commercial break, 50 Cent directed an obscenity at Joe, and 50 Cent jumped on stage as Fat Joe was leaving.
In September of 2007, on the BET program Rap City, 50 Cent again criticized Fat Joe, who responded in early January of 2008 on Rap City that 50 Cent's criticism was nonsense and that he was just trying to re-introduce the earlier feud from 2005 from 50 Cent's song "Piggy Bank". Later in January, 50 Cent released another Fat Joe diss, called "Southside Nigga (I'm Leaving)".
Since the beginning of 2008, Fat Joe and 50 Cent have taken blows back and forth to each other. Thisis50.com is the website that reports most of the news and disses 50 Cent puts out, while Fat Joe has been responding to most things 50 has said, and Fat Joe also says that he will be responding to the attacks by 50 Cent and Papoose, saying that Fat Joe got into a fight with Papoose in Cassidy's hotel room; He will be also addressing many other things soon.
On March 20, 2008, shortly after record sales were released for Fat Joe's new album The Elephant in the Room, 50 Cent released a video via online, which features the "funeral" of Fat Joe, which shows 50 Cent crying in the fake footage. 50 Cent then talks about Fat Joe's record sales, and states that he ended Fat Joe's career (like he says he did to Ja Rule's) and that his mixtape blew out Fat Joe's album. On March 28, Kill All Rats Mafia(aka KAR Mafia) made a diss track to 50 Cent, which features Fat Joe.
Fat Joe and Brooklyn rapper Papoose got into a fight at a North Carolina hotel prior to performing at a concert last weekend. While it is still unclear on what exactly happened - and who came out victorious in the scuffle - Hot 97's Miss Jones spoke to Cassidy in hopes to get the details from an unbiased eyewitness. In several interviews throughout the week Papoose has said that he believes Cassidy set him up, asking him to hang out in his hotel room knowing that Fat Joe would later show up and start trouble. Joe denied the claims saying he knocked on everyone's door in the hotel until he found him.
Cassidy told Miss Jones that he had no ill intentions when inviting the mixtape phenom to his room; he was just trying to make connections with the rapper to possibly work with him in the future.
"We were all staying at the same hotel," Cassidy explained. "So it's not like I called Papoose from his home and then something happened to him or I called him from far away and he walked into a unfamiliar area. We were staying in the same hotel on the same floor. Me, Fat Joe and Papoose. So I definitely wouldn't set Papoose up... it definitely wasn't my fault I was just reaching out, trying to communicate, trying to build relationships." "That was actually my first time actually conversating with Papoose when I seen him in a hotel," he added. "I ran into him a couple of times and seen his face, but I never got a chance to bust it up with him or communicate with him. And being to the fact that he's up and coming and he's doing his thing and he's definitely got a little buzz, I wanted to build a relationship and hopefully we could have did a song or something in the future."
When asked if he was in the room when Fat Joe and Papoose actually came to blows, Cassidy said that he had already excused himself from the room. "I wasn't even paying attention because at that point I excused myself from the room," he said. "...I was there but when the fight actually broke out I was at the door with my people and in the hallway with them and Papoose had his people with him, I want y'all to know that. Papoose wasn't by himself. He had six, seven or eight people in the hotel with him. Probably like two or three people floating in and out of the room so Fat Joe came in with his people." Cassidy also said if he known that they had a beef beforehand he would have tried to mediate the fight.
"I don't know what the beef is over," he told Miss Jones. "If I knew it was a beef already I could have jumped up and tried to neutralize the situation. Like 'don't blow it out of proportion' or 'don't do it in there.' Due to the fact that they were on the radio the night before Fat Joe felt some type of way. I didn't know about that. I was on the road traveling around doing my shows. So I didn't know about the radio situation and I didn't know that Joe had a problem with Papoose."
For future reference Cassidy wants to make one thing clear about the situation: "When I'm building a relationship with a rapper or with anybody in the world I want them to feel safe around me," Cass said before ending his interview, "I don't want them to feel that I'm a shiesty dude that would set someone up."
- 1993: Represent (as Fat Joe da Gangsta)
- 1995: Jealous One's Envy
- 1998: Don Cartagena
- 2001: Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E.)
- 2002: Loyalty
- 2005: All or Nothing
- 2006: Me, Myself & I
- 2008: The Elephant in the Room
- 2000: D.I.T.C.
With Terror Squad
- Thicker Than Water (1999) - Lonzo Medina
- Prison Song (2001)
- Empire (2002)
- Scary Movie 3 (2003)
- Happy Feet (2006) - voice of Seymour
- List of famous Puerto Ricans
- List of famous Cubans
- Latin rap
- List of number-one dance hits (United States)
- List of artists who reached number one on the US Dance chart
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