AllHipHop.com: As far as image, you come across as a very serious person most of the time but you did a skit with Andy Milonakis, who is probably one of the craziest people in the world. Do you think that people misunderstand your personality sometimes and dont see that youre a fun guy?
Fat Joe: Big time they mis-underestimate my personality. Its not my fault Im a real n***a and most rappers aint real. Its not my fault that I go in the club maybe three or four deep and I get the respect of the n***a hustling popping the bottles, the killers. They all respect me as a man, as a serious and real n***a, Im not the rapper getting drunk smoking a blunt in the club looking like an a**hole, or getting smacked up and robbed thats not what I do. People take that image and they look at it like, Damn hes unapproachable, but Im the nicest dude on the planet Earth. Thats why Im in my community, thats why I talk to the kids and give computers back. Thats why we talk to everybody, Im the funniest n***a. My n***a T.A. tells me, n***as ask him all the time Yo Joe Crack, he looks serious [all the time].
Another thing is this Hip-Hop game is full of a lot of wanna be and attachable n***as and n***as bandwagon and s**t like that. I know all you n***as, I will never let you n***as hang out with me. So all these n***as that hang out with all these other rappers that I dismiss [they say] Yo Crack you the realest. Let me hang out with you, let me hold your bag for you. N***a please, you see me with the same n***as I move with the same crew. Were small, we not down with the wanna be fake n***as. Were not dissing you, were just not down with that – I wanna be cool and associate myself with real people.
So its different, but actually Fat Joe is probably one of the only rappers that truly cares about his community and the people and I love people and joke with people. If I gotta play softball with people, if Im at the Rucker and got a team, Im walking through Harlem going to eat there, spending my money back in The Bronx I love you guys. When you see me and I just got that ice grill on in the pictures and all that, thats part of me. Thats my Hip-Hop wild out side, but Im a father, a family man and actually a fan and a great friend.
AllHipHop.com: Whats the status of your relationships with Remy [Ma] and Tony Sunshine at this point and will you work together in the future?
Fat Joe: Of course Ill work with Remy, Remy just came to the video for Clap and Revolve, we talk to her every single day. Im getting tired of answering this, but Remy Martin is the best female rapper on the planet Earth. Her album was incredible. Me and Remy argue all the time behind the scenes, because shes my sister. She damn hear lived with me for five years, so the one time she came out the side of her mouth on the radio she was feeling pressure. She thought the album wasnt gonna do as well as it should, so she was mad at the world but she threw me under the bus as she does to me every day. We could argue everyday, hug everyday it is what it is.
Everything she was saying was actually right, but she was picking the wrong person to be mad at. Ive been working with Steve Rifkind since Pun, hes responsible for putting me on and making me an executive. He gave me the deal for Big Pun when everybody told him not to, all the f****ts in the industry were like, Yo dont work with him, them dudes are crazy – he gave me a chance. So I was very loyal to Steve Rifkind. Because of Remys project I dont talk to Steve Rifkind no more, and I have a long history with him of making mad money and doing positive things with him. I dont even work with him no more, I took Terror Squad off of Universal because of Remy. So I was up there everyday arguing with him, arguing with the chairmans [like] Mel Lewinter, and every time you saw Remys album pushed back, I kept telling them to push it back because I was like, This is not set up properly, we did not spend the right marketing money, send her out on the road long enough, spend the right money to market this video.
I know what it takes to make hits and sell tons of records and give you the visibility, so at least you have a chance. So everything she was saying, I totally agreed with her, the problem is she threw me under the bus. The difference is you gotta understand that in Hip-Hop, if she said Mel Lewinter would you care? Would you know who he is? Even with Steve Rifkind, would you care? Would you know? So what happens is when The Lox go on the radio and say Let us go! and Puffy cant walk through the streets because n***as is like Yo, let them go! but if they had signed to Rob Wockenthorn they could have been screaming that s**t for a lifetime and n***as wouldnt give a f**k nor would they have gotten their publishing back. I know the cost of being the boss is very, very hard, and I accept that responsibility – but it is what it is.
Tony Sunshines album is coming out in March, hes Puerto Rican and he does Black music. Hes incredible, his album is phenomenal crack music. But we signed him to like three or four labels and they didnt understand, they tell me, We wanted the Latino movement. Im like. Yeah well he is the Latino movement. [They say] Yeah but hes Puerto Rican and he does Black music. Well what the f**k you think Big Pun and Fat Joe is? They get nervous because they never seen nobody like him in R&B music. Right now he has a beautiful home, we signed a joint venture with UBO and these guys are motivated to popping him off. Ladies I know youve been waiting a long time, fellas I know you love Tony Sunshine. Hes coming out in March.
I mess with very few artists because in order for me to endorse an artist or really get behind him I have to feel like theyre superstars. I brought you Big Pun, the greatest Latino ever and one of the top rappers ever. Remy Martin is the best female, I brought you producers like Cool & Dre whos made tons of hits. I brought you DJ Khaled, best DJ on the planet Earth. So whenever you see Fat Joe embrace and mess with something, you automatically know hes behind it and he really knows this s**t is hot. So everybody in the hood comes at me like, Why dont you put out more n***as? – another thing is Im just the middleman. Puff Daddy is a middleman, all of us are middlemen. Jimmy Iovine is the f****ts boss [50 Cent], at the end of the day we try to get it popping but all we are, is like, spokesmen.
[Like I mentioned] earlier, how many times rappers I was down with told me, Lets just retire, we did it already. Every two years they tell us we should retire and we come back with a smoker. Just before Lean Back, I was talking to – I cant even tell you who – but they was like Yo, you know you rich already, just give up and I came up with Lean Back and smacked these n***as in their face. Its tough to be built like this and go up against the world, really honestly, were the poor peoples champions. We throw rocks at tanks. A lot of people dont want us here, a lot of f****t n***as in power, not meaning actual homosexuals, just saying the bougie society who is scared of guys like Fat Joe and they really never wanted me here.
Through my music Ive been able to last this long. Another thing is, I cant force you to buy the record. You love the music, go buy it and support. I cant put a bazooka at the fans and tell them go buy it. I cant force radio and video to play my record. A lot of people think just cause Fat Joe is that tough bravado type n***a, some n***as think I done thugged my way in this industry and forced n***as to making me number one. [laughs] Its the most illiterate s**t I ever heard, Im working day and night trying to promote my music and go out. I cant chase down the whole f**king country. I work for you, the people, be clear. I make music for you, if you dont appreciate it and support it thats your choice.
AllHipHop.com: With the changing shift in Manhattan with living situations, how do you feel about the gentrification of the South Bronx and what its doing to the Hip-Hop culture there?
Fat Joe: This aint a racist conversation, this is a reality conversation. Ive heard stuff like, Joe reps the Spanish, he might be racist. Well, I didnt say Public Enemy was racist and they were green, black and red and I bumped that s**t all day, Im for everybody, the people. But the true statement [that] were gonna say right now, is that obviously people have to be closer to Midtown. Its going on around the whole country, Humboldt Park in Chicago, Philly its going down. Whenever you see the f**king Starbucks come up and the Jamba Juice, its on. So you take a little old lady who owned a house in Harlem for all her life, shes a property owner and what you do is a find a way to raise her tax so that shes old already and cant pay $20,000 a month in property tax. So what she has to do is sell the s**t, somebody goes to buy it who can afford it and be 10 minutes away from Manhattan. This is going on in every hood in every city in America.
The thing that bothers me is I wonder where these people go. When everybodys thrown out of hood, they move everybody out and beautify it, all of a sudden s**t starts being clean. You know when youre in the hood you aint got no f**king clean s**t, it aint no cops, you hear a million shots. Once that Starbucks comes up and that Jamba Juice and Citarella, [there are] no more shots and cops on every corner, n***as walking freely. Its a matter of do you wanna help or you dont wanna help. Its like obviously they help when they want to help.