Fat Joe deserved a mention.
Joe, the rap artist, has been stomping around Hip-Hop since
the early 90s and the years havent been perfect. But, gotdamnit, Fat Joe
deserves a mention. Since his debut in 1993, the rapper seems to be hitting his
stride again in 2010 with The Darkside Vol. 1. The album truly is a coming home
for Joe, who took his art down South, saw the Terror Squad fall to pieces and
duked it out with 50 Cent.
Lets start the album from the ending. This is where you get
some of the most potent and sincere raps from the one know as Joey Crack. The
Darkside goes in on Heavenly Father when he reveals the inner issues Big Pun
faced before dying in 2000. Cheated with his brother, got damn this b**ch is
ill probably the reason my n***a never left a will, he says talking about
Puns widow Liza Rios. The whole song is one of regrets and the shedding of the dead skin of the past.
Im Gone is another gem thats produced by the great DJ Premiere. The song
certainly evokes an era of purity and doubles as an ode to the late Guru. The
album ends with a truly dark song called At Last Supremacy where the godbody
Busta Rhymes sounds quite demonic and How Did We Get Here presents R. Kelly
in a refreshingly supporting role. But, Darkside ends so strong with Joes
newfound penchant for heartfelt, earnest songs.
The middle of The Darkside isnt so dark. In fact, its quite
bright with club joints like If It Ain't About Money with Trey Songz. The
party continues with (Ha Ha) Slow Down (featuring Young Jeezy) and Mo Problems which
evokes old Public Enemy. Money Over Bitches with Too Short & TA is
definitely a tired cliché and sticks out in this section of The Darkside.
Misogyny is so 90s, one of the facets this composition could have done
The other aspect The Darkside could have been lighter on was the
crack content. But on the beginning of The Darkside, Fat Joe keeps it ultra
street. On I Am Crack Joe lyrically personifies the 80s era drug when it was
really ravaging the nation. Well, the beat knocks, even though this trail is
well traveled. The same applies to
Kilo with Clipse and Camron. A hot beat with well-worn lyrics from rappers
that have rapped about drugs ad nauseam. The whole album starts off with
Intro, Valley of Death and
Rappers Are In Danger, which set the tone for this crack-rock solid album.
And we gonna throw the biggest party with Curtis dies...b***h a** n***as, Joe
says spitefully in the intro rap. The tone is set.
Yes, Fat Joe deserves a mention as one of the greats.
Sure, hes still talking about the streets, the crack and
the beats that remind us of a "golden" era thats pretty much dead. But, he also offers lyricism only a 90s aficionado will appreciate. Hes got beats with hard drums and scratches on hooks. His songs dont pretend everything is sweet. He's getting better even if he hasn't evolved as some of his peers. So, Joe may not pop up in the latest Top 5 Dead or Alive, he definitely pops up in the legends of longevity and linguistics. The Darkside ensures there is more to come from Fat Joe Cartagena and the future is actually quite bright.