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Fat Joe: The Elephant In The Room

 

It’s hard to believe that Fat Joe is on album number eight. Best known for hot hits in the summer season (“Lean Back” and “Make it Rain”), why his albums never seem to be a total cohesive effort is a mystery. The Elephant In The Room (Terror Squad) doesn’t stray from such a label, but still manages to show off Joe’s clever mixture  of street anthems and radio shiny tunes. 

 

Among the latter is the Street Runner produced “Fugitive,” where Crack utilizes a flow that is eerily familiar to Rick Ross’ territory. Either way, Joe moves from one story about sexual encounters and drug liaisons to the next, with ease. As simple and overdone as this territory seems, “Fugitive” goes down smooth enough before jumping into one of two tracks produced by Cool & Dre. “You Ain’t Sayin’ Nothin’” which features both Dre and Plies holds a braggadocios hook and is boastfully comfortable until Plies abruptly rips the flow in half. Mixing that Bronx swagger with Plies’ southern diction proves to be a challenge.

 

“Crackhouse” featuring Lil Wayne’s adds what is becoming his signature version of Hip-Hop whimsy a limbo between singing and a Rap style that sounds too good to be written off as lazy. Upon a closer listen, the lyrics sound like a cry for help on Wayne’s part (“This is the crackhouse, welcome to the crackhouse / Man I’m talking more pies than a frat house”). Whether the paranoia in Wayne’s voice is just good acting on his part remains to be seen. As Joe’s bars weave in and out of Wayne’s persistent hook, a pattern of ear grabbing featured artists who take away from Joe’s own performance takes form.

 

Each producer has a clear style and voice that begs to differ whether Joe is featured on their tracks or if it’s the other way around. DJ Khaled screams his signature self-esteem building affirmation (“We The best”) on “Get it for Life,” while Swizz Beatz brings his traditional hype-man energy on “Drop,” as Joe takes on one Rap persona at a time.

 

Yet there are definite high points which include the lady friendly single “I Won’t Tell” featuring J.Holiday. Then the peak point which comes courtesy of  “My Conscience.” Holding a standout beat delivered at the hands of Alchemist, plus a feature from KRS-One, this joint is a Hip-Hop head’s wet dream.

 

Even though Joe isn’t the first rapper that comes to mind when you think of standing alone on a song, don’t count him out completely. The Elephant In The Room is split down the middle between tracks made with a club and DJ in mind, but also a few personal attempts at artistry. The album shows little growth on Joe’s part but rather a heavy budget for A-list producers. Yet sticking to the script is what he’s known for so while the surprises on this album are few an far between; it’s nice to know that some things don’t change.

 

Fat Joe Featuring J. Holiday

“I Won’t Tell”

 

 

Fat Joe Featuring KRS-ONE

“My Conscience”

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