Aside from the recently-released “Dirty Diana” track, which samples Meek Mill’s popular “Tupac Back” song, and a video of him looking extremely slender surfacing on the net a few weeks back, Fat Joe has been virtually quiet the last few months.
But now, the Bronx-bred rhyme slinger has come out of hiding, granting XXL an exclusive interview in which he addresses his on-going weight-loss, getting his feelings hurt by former Terror Squad member Remy Ma, his annoyance towards Joell Ortiz’s “Big Pun Back” critics and working on new music.—Mariel Concepcion
XXL: What are you currently working on?
Fat Joe: I’m working right now, completing this album. I really been touring a lot, working on this Dark Side 2 CD, which I’m just gonna give out for free — a little mixtape. And, at the same time working on new music and a new album. So, that’s coming out crazy, too. If we aren’t on tour, we’re in the studio banging out music. I try to give the fans a little something here and there. I throw out a little drop of body on them, a little 18 million views — try to keep them going. For artists, the majority of the money we make comes from us being on the road and touring. If I was just stable and staying home all day, I would’ve dropped ten albums this year. But being that we work so much — we out there making money — we take the good with the bad. But, if anybody’s been waiting too long, I’m coming real soon — give them a complete body of work.
What’s your label situation these days?
The label situation right now, you know, I’m always Terror Squad. I just go and get me a distributor, and, you know, I put up my own money to shoot videos, my own money to market and promote. Like, the last three albums were with Capitol. The last one was E1. They just put that shit in shelves and I go from there. I love owning my masters. Ownership is everything to me, ’cause, you now, 20 years from now, somebody tries to use that in a movie or [it becomes the] theme song to a TV show, they gotta come give those M’s to my kids. So, that’s the most important thing.
What is going on with Terror Squad?
We just make music. We got T.A. from the Bronx, and we got a female R&B singer that me and Rico Love, the writer, both work with. Her name is Cherlise [and she's] out of Miami. She’s phenomenal! Her album is coming out this year or next year. Her first single has Lil Wayne. She’s signed to [Rico Love's] Division 1 [label].
We’re just working, to be honest with you. I never been a person to sign an artist for the moment,[no] “Stanky Leg” or something like that — a novelty artist. When I introduce you to somebody, his name is Big Pun. When I introduce you to somebody, his name is DJ Khaled. When I introduce you to an artist, her name is Remy Ma. If I introduce you to somebody, it’s Cool and Dre or Scott Storch —people who change the face of the game. I can’t just jump from artist to artist, have 40 artists that I don’t believe could actually have the capability of taking it to that next level.
Speaking of, I know you and Remy Ma had a falling out at some point. What’s the state of your relationship with her at this point?
I don’t keep in contact with Remy. Me and Remy, we fell out. All I did for that girl was help her; make her rich; took her from the projects; single parent mom; put her on hit records; toured across the world with us. She was down with us, had a different car for every day of the week. When her album came out and it didn’t do as good as she anticipated, she wanted to blame somebody. See, me, I don’t run away. During my successes or my failures, I put it on me. You can’t find an interview where I’m standing there talking about, ‘Yo, this executive…’ some people don’t understand it’s not an overnight success for everybody. It’s a grind. It’s happened for me. I make a great living — a lot of artists make a great living. But, she, you know, she was getting real disrespectful with me and real disrespectful towards my family on the radio. I could never forgive Remy Martin. She really hurt my feelings.
Has it changed your perception on wanting to help others succeed in this game?
If you had the power, you know, you say no and people say no. But, there are lot of people that are in power to help people that never help people. And [now] I know why. Even though I ain’t let nobody change my heart and the way I am, but I know why now. With me, I been given an opportunity to open up platforms for people. I believe you should do a study on how many rappers actually make it successful, and I bet you’ll see one out of every 30 million niggas trying to rap that make it successful to where they got a dollar or something. So, when I’m in that position to give someone a hand — they come from the projects, they come from an ill background. Shorty is talented. She by far , still till today, I think, is the best female rapper in the game. When you take somebody, put your effort, your time, all your resources, your contacts, everything and then they get on the radio and say, ‘You ain’t shit, fuck you, fuck your mother,’ and you made these people rich? It kinda hurts.
So, that’s where I’m at with that. My position really doesn’t change on her. Do I wish anybody jail? No way. Jail is hell. I don’t wish nobody jail. Please come home Remy Martin. But me being her friend and all that? I don’t know how many people want me to be a fucking lyrical punching bag for former friends and all that, niggas that go bitter, and they expect me to be a teddy bear and embrace everybody and just be like, ‘Oh, I forgive you.’ Nah, fuck that. I help people, and then you know, them niggas go bad on niggas, and then niggas look at me like, ‘Joe, you’re a bigger guy. You need to give them a hug.’ Fuck out of here! I’m tired of giving hugs.
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