Fat Joe

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About Fat Joe

Fat Joe has one of the more unlikely careers in hip-hop, rising from his origins as a reliable teammate into one of the few Latino household names in rap. Born in 1970, Joseph Cartagena grew up in the Bronx writing raps and drawing graffiti. He earned his stripes in the early ‘90s as a member of NYC rap collective D.I.T.C. (Diggin’ In The Crates) alongside Big L and Lord Finesse. Eventually, Fat Joe landed a major record deal, showcasing a muscular rap style and grim gangsta stories on his first two albums, Represent and Jealous One’s Envy. While recording the latter, he discovered Big Pun, a fellow MC with prodigious lyrical ability and otherworldly breath control. Joe took him under his wing, forming Terror Squad in 1998 with Pun and other Bronx talent. After helping Pun find stardom—Pun’s 1998 debut, Capital Punishment, is the first album by a Latino rapper to go platinum—Joe did so for himself. He added catchy gems like the airy cut “What’s Luv?” and Terror Squad’s thunderous “Lean Back” to his steady arsenal of tough street rap. In 2006, he dropped the ubiquitous “Make It Rain” with Lil Wayne and later appeared on star-studded tracks by DJ Khaled. A few years later, his career resurged with the 2016 club anthem "All the Way Up" alongside Terror Squad alum Remy Ma. He entered the 2020s focused on his Instagram Live show and publicly pondering retirement, but with a sharp pen and plenty of game to dole out, he can stay as long as he’s inspired.

Bronx, NY, United States
August 19, 1970

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