Fat Joe Talks "I Am Crack" With Just Blaze, Return To Hardcore Roots

Video Exclusive: Fat Joe tells DX that "Darkside" is a "Hip Hop classic," and says that fans told him he needed to make this album, or they may leave him.

Earlier this month, HipHopDX met up with Bronx Hip Hop icon Fat Joe, in Midtown Manhattan's E1 Entertainment offices. The Terror Squad CEO and founder spoke about his July 27 release, The Darkside Volume 1

After DX mentioned Joe's 2010 single "(Ha Ha) Slow Down" being potentially his best radio-supported work since 2005's "Safe 2 Say," the Diggin' In The Crates emcee pointed quickly to his latest collaboration with New Jersey multi-platinum producer, Just Blaze. "Wait till you hear this new joint with Just Blaze [on The Darkside Volume 1]. It's so crazy, man!," said an enthusiastic Joe on the song called "I Am Crack." "I'm describing myself as crack cocaine - like thee crack. [Everybody knows] they call me Joe Crack, but I'm like [reciting a verse], 'Down in D.C., shit got kinda scary / Almost lost my political connect with Mayor Barry / They mix me with embalming fluid, it's unreal / Jada said he cooked me on the Foreman Grill / Turn a happy home into a stash-house / Niggas smoke me all night, till they pass out'...it's crazy."

After providing readers and viewers with a sample offering of the rhymes he's selling on Darkside, Joe was asked how it felt to be releasing an album away from controversy. Previously, Joe had released music during a feud with 50 Cent and G-Unit, a T.S. fall-out with Remy Ma, and last year's media mayhem concerning royalties owed to Big Pun's widow, Liza Rios. Joe smiled and said, "For a minute, there was a lot of controversy involved, where, exactly like you say, it wasn't even about the musical content, it was more about the hoopla and all the shit goin' on. Now it's about the music, man." That focus on artistry was a key element in this album, "That's what [The Darkside Volume 1] is all about: showin' the world that I'm a legend, and just furtherin' the legacy."

To Joe, music will be the what fans and critics will be most drawn to as well. "This album right here, I fix my face to say it's a Hip Hop classic. I think this is what the game is missin' right now. I think this is gonna be a real eye-opener [and] reminder to the New York Hip Hop scene of, 'Yo, my man, this is what New York Hip Hop is.' I ain't compromised the music, I ain't take no shortcuts."

The rapper says that he's aware of his last several album's also trying to please too many fans at once. "Let's just say your favorite record from [2005's All Or Nothing] was 'Safe 2 Say,' but that was like the only one on the album that was like that, so you was like, 'Damn, I wish he would've did more like that.' That's not the case. [But with Darkside Volume 1], it's that shit the whole way."

Instead of taking the usual month to record, as has been the case in recent years, the 22-year Rap veteran took eight months to craft Darkside. "I had a lot to prove. It's called The Darkside 'cause it's comin' from the dark side, I don't know if too many of y'all have been there," said Joe candidly. "There's nothing like being on the top of the game, and people tryin' to knock you down, and people tryin' to act like you didn't contribute to the game or ain't a part of this Hip Hop legacy that's goin' on or whatever."  As radio spins and early fan responses have indicated, Joe's hinting at a comeback. "You heard 'Slow Down,' and there was an automatic 'Oh, shit. He's tryin' to let you know that he's not playin' with you niggas.'"

However, to Fat Joe fans, there's nothing to come back from. The rapper was asked about last year's street single, "Hey Joe," that was changed on the J.O.S.E. 2 album's final version, due to problems clearing its Jimi Hendrix sample of the same name. "I wasn't mad at it," admitted Joe of the record's change. "There's records that I'm mad at. Right now, I got a record right that Buckwild produced, that's phenomenal, that's mothafuckas don't want to clear the sample. So we played it over, and it don't sound like the same record. I'm fightin'." Perhaps referring to Soul-turned-Gospel singer Reverend Al Green, Joe added, "Sometimes they fuck you with that - guys get born-again Christians, and they don't want you to sample their shit. 'Hey Joe' though, I wasn't mad at it. The video was crazy. I thought that was some real Hip Hop shit."

Fans telling Joe what they really wanted gave the star artistic clarity with Darkside Volume 1. "I make music for the fans. At the end of the day, I try to push the envelope," said Joe, perhaps referring to his dabbling with southern production, Reggaeton and other musical experimentation. "I try to make different kinds of music... just to say I made it, to be honest with you. [I do it] just to be creative and take it to another level. Unfortunately, I realized that the fans don't want certain things from me. They just want Fat Joe Crack that they fell in love with."

Specific conversations cemented Joe's understanding that fans wanted the Fat Joe they heard on the first three albums, and sporadically since. "As I'm touring, [I'm talking to my diehard Fat Joe] fans. They say, 'Joe, we what that Fat Joe Da Gangsta. That's the Joe that we love. We need Fat Joe. I see all these people that really love me. Even if I slip and make some shit that they might consider corny, they still support me because they love me. They love me for the [hardcore music]. They're like, 'Joe, we need you. Stop playin'. You might not have us no more' if you don't go back to this.'" Depending on his fans, the rapper admitted, "It was a real eye-opener. So I went into this album and said, 'Yo, we goin' in, man.' I got with that [DJ Premier sound], and it's all the way through. I believe that it's a Hip Hop classic, and I wouldn't fix my face to say that if I didn't really, really believe that."

Purchase Music by Fat Joe

The Darkside Volume 1 is in stores July 27 on Terror Squad/E1 Entertainment.

Video Edited by Omar Burgess.



  • Jaymalls

    That’s just life. No one likes fat people… ^ HAHAHA! What about B.I.G though??? This shit is CRACK though!!! Just Blaze before Recovery> Just Blaze Beats On Eminem's Recovery album. Blueprint 3 > How I Got Over > Deeper Than Rap > Loso's Way > Teflon Don > Distant Relatives > Recovery > Pilot Talk > The Last Kiss > Til The Casket Drops > Before I Self Destruct > Relapse > ?

  • Thugged-out

    I actually just heard a preview of this entire album and I'm surprised to say that it actually sounds pretty incredible. People probably wont give it a chance though, which is a shame as it sounds like Joe put a lot of heart and hard work into it. I'm with you on this one Joe.

  • j-dawg

    heres something that's occured to me...all these joe haterz keep looking joe up on the internet like they got no lives. looks like crack gotta few more fans than expected. despite whether u hatin or not you still puttin attention on joey crack. fuck yall haterz. joey comin back on dat real shit right there

  • cici91

    I think Joe's gonna come back swingin on this one! He's going at the haters now. He's been ignoring them for so long that it's rediculus. If he comes through with this album and goes hard on it, every hater will be eating a foot for breakfast! Joey Crack! Hands Down!

  • J-FAB

    yea this album is gunna be crack... ASS crack lol. guaranteed flop

  • Johnzon

    Funny how Fat Joe says " I got with that [DJ Premier sound], and it's all the way through." We all know that's a lie...The Darkside Volume 1 is not gonna be completely Boom-Bap...Trust me I was a Fat Joe and I left away from him when he came out with J.O.S.E. ...Represent is Fat Joe's strongest Boom-Bap album and he hasn't measured up to making another Boom-Bap album like that ever since...Where's Showbiz? Where's Diamond D? Where's Lord Finesse? He still messes with Buckwild and Premier luckily enough...Joe just needs to stop feeding his fans with his bland ass lies and just go in the studio and make a real straight up hardcore Boom-Bap album from beginning to end and say goodbye to all of that mainstream shit and the southern shit because that's what's been killing him softly...Joe just needs to face the music and realize that the Mainstream world is just not suited for him anymore no matter how hard he tries...He needs to accept that the mainstream Fat Joe is dead and that the underground Fat Joe needs to be resurfaced and brought back to life once again and continued to be kept alive...Hell if he stays underground he might sell more records that way again...

    • r.i.p. guru

      actually it's pure boom bap hip hop. check the album entire snippets.

    • Hip-Hop 102

      I Doubt it that the underground fat joe's gonna be revived, joe is dead to me, joe hasn't been the same since the late big pun passed away, when big pun died, so did joe's career. just like Mobb Deep.

    • Hip-Hop 102

      Actually he has Buckwild as his producer on this album.

  • iBar

    Hope everyone is enjoying the new Recovery album! If you're wondering who Eminem is talking about throughout the album and who inspired his recent change in creative direction, visit my myspace page and listen to "!". www.myspace.com/ibaronline

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  • Nico 3

    Let's be real. This album will flop hard, but hey, at least he's still in the game. Longevity means something. Yeah, he makes alot of bad songs, but he's entertaining cause he doesn't care if you think he's corny, fat, or lost it. If he could learn how to hold onto some of this money, he'll be fine. Hip hop has been more than generous to this guy.

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  • C-Arson

    Fat Joe has said for the past 3 albums that there gonna be classic and has released poo poo.

  • mandddyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

    lmao, fat hoe just needz 2 stop thiz shit b4 he embarases himself. all hiz recordz are lame, there worse than opera! i make it rain? lean back? i won't tell? wtf iz all that homo shit?! pluz, fat hoe neva made a song with jay-z! cuz he'z afraid that jay! will slaughter hiz pig self. fat azz homo. i am crack? how bout i am azzcrack. yeah, dat soundz betta 4 diz fat fuck! jay-z! iz da greatest of all time! FUCK HATERZ AND FUCK ALL FAT HOE DICKRIDAZ! IT'Z MANDDDYYYYYYYYYYYY UP IN DIZ BITCH!

  • Willie Bones

    New Summer Banga @juganot "Dollars" produced by @Williebones http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjoncuLXLTA


    it's crack b!tches!!!!!

  • guai

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    yall need to get that hate out yall blood and get off the computer... i stopped supporting fat joe but i kept hope for home boy due to the J.O.S.E Part 1 and don cartagina and if this album is good like he claims it is trust me i will go to best buy and buy his record is time for this fat nigga get back on that real shit that made me laugh and rewind the song more then once... peace and god bless joe good luck

  • yoawa

    I'm very interested to hear this album, if what Joe's saying is true. The Trey Songz song is not that, but funny, 'cause I still like it. Personally, I'm expecting another Elephant In The Room. I always want Joe to win, but I feel like he always gets addicted to that commercial value, when he really could prob do just as good/better if he took a lesson from Raekwon or Scarface in staying true to the core.

  • jessejames

    i gave it a chance watched his whole interview didnt get shit from it.i did hear were he said his shit was classic.you wait this late in your career to call your record a classic and you put out about 15 joints already and mixtapes.watch your interviews fat joe really!!!!!!!!!!!! heres a word of advice stop losing your money investing in that career you call legendary and pay some of the people off you fuck in the game to wear those fugaga chains.what u chump sucker ass bitch

    • T-Rite

      If you understand hip hop then you know when Fat Joe gets back to his roots on the mic, he can still come hard. Flow Joe set him on the path, but that was almost twenty years ago. But his joint with Bone shows just what his flow and street legits are even now...when he really wants to go there and isn't trying to get us on the dance floor.


    Joe, stop it. Really. Stop it.

    • undergrounphilosophy

      what do you mean by stop it? his new album is pure boom bap old school! its fire! check the entire previews

  • jessejames

    fat joe again.is this guy serious.he is with out a doubt the worst performer in hip hop.its a rap my man.not your rap but a rap for you.a legacy means you meant something to hip hop in a inspirational way but you havent you just a loser spic and the sad part is you believe your own lies.fuck the faggot he should just go play with his ass or something

  • Malmoe88

    Respect to Fat Joe for being in the game this long. I still feel some things are very questionable with this dude but I still give the props for lasting even when his stuff was becoming garbagio. He said his last couple of albums was classic before they came out. I don't even remember J.O.S.E 2 coming out. At any rate I will admit that there was a time in the 90's where he had my attention, then he went off the deep end trying to repeat what he did with some of the radio joints and trying to do what pun did. I hope he has gone back to the ditc sound which if I was with them I don't know if i'd supply this dude with anything for the fact he wanted to fool around with his miami clique more. Seems like kinda bit the hand that put him on the map.

    • jessejames

      been in the game and still aint really made no significant impact.who has he inspired other wake rappers.why man,why?he been in the game and aint made a difference in shit what a waste of artist and contract.somebody could of got on that could really rap from the bx and made a difference but the labels wanted this fat ass bitch.im tellin the truth its cats from bx that had more to say in the game then this cat.the only reason he even get mentioned is cause of pun.he is a pussy


    classic my azz

    • haterowner

      maybe your ass gets so fucked that it really is a porn classic hahaahha. cuz joes album is fire. go dickride 50 cent if u have no life or anything else to do rather than talk about your ass

    • Malmoe88

      Can I give you this DJ Books mixe tape hosted by Singapore Kane? http://www.mirrorcreator.com/files/0UI9I3PT/CB4UW-DA-MIXTAPE_ONETHREE_DJBOOKS.zip_links

    • Malmoe88

      Lol. I hear you. Can I give you this DJ Books mixe tape hosted by Singapore Kane? http://www.mirrorcreator.com/files/0UI9I3PT/CB4UW-DA-MIXTAPE_ONETHREE_DJBOOKS.zip_links

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