Fat Joe Is No One-Hit Wonder – The Music Speaks For Itself

I want Fat Joe to win. Not because I’m some Stan or anything ‘cause I’m not, but I’ve met him a few times and he’s actually a pretty nice guy. (Trust me, that’s rare for this industry). There’s just a certain charismatic energy about Joe. His eyes light up when he tells a story and it’s obvious that he not only has a love for hip-hop but also a passion for it. That’s why it sucks to see someone like that constantly get the short end of the stick.

I can’t front, I chuckled earlier this year when I first heard that Joe was named No. 2 on Billboard’s One Hit Wonders of the 2000s list for Terror Squad’s “Lean Back,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajmI1P3r1w4 but then it hit me: Wait a second, Fat Joe’s had more than one hit… A lot more.

The Crack Man has come a long way over the years. When he first dropped back in ’93 I didn’t think much of “Flow Joe.” Besides, Latino MCs didn’t get much burn back then—or today for that matter—but it’s 17 years later and Joe’s still flowin’.

Say what you will about Fat Joe, but he’s responsible for introducing us to one of the best MCs in the game. And dare I say it again, Pun may have been better than Biggie had he had the chance to be with us longer.

But this is about Joe, so I digress…

Beyond his Pun affiliation, Joe has made hits. I don’t know (or care) if Billboard merely focused on their own chart system to determine what a “hit” was, but Joey Crack’s got tracks that you can stack in the back of an Ac’.

Don’t believe me? Well, here’s my own personal playlist for Fat Joe’s Greatest Hits. —Anslem Samuel

1993 Represent

Following his introductory track, “Flow Joe,” which was pretty basic by today’s standards, The Gangsta showed off his storytelling ability with “Shit Is Real.” The Beatnuts did a good job producing the original, but Premier stepped up to score the official remix and I think this record stands out as a hidden gem in Joey’s catalogue.

1995 Jealous Ones Envy

Not for nothing, I was geeked off the title of Joe’s sophomore album alone. Maybe it’s a Bronx thing, but much like KRS-One’s acronym (Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone) I felt like Jealous One’s Envy was eloquently to the point.

Success” was another street anthem. Lyrically nothing crazy was said that we hadn’t heard already, but the hook (“Hustlin’ is the key to success/Money is the key to sex…”) struck a chord with me.

Then of course was “Envy,” which flipped Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.” Sure, jackin’ for undeniable beats is a easy way out, but Joe could have farted on the track and it would have gotten spun because of the track alone. In retrospect, I wonder how the hell he got that sample cleared?

Recommended for You

Around the Web

Best of XXL

  • http://xxlmag jayruckNYC

    Its about time yall gave my boy Joe some props. The only rapper I ever seen alone in the hood. No bodyguards or entourage. Cool dude. He has a good catalog whether people wanna admit it or not. Ok J.O.S.E 2 was trash. But the way I see it everyone is allowed one wack album. or 2. hell LL got like 7 wack albums. LOL

  • Jahman

    That Loyalty album got several tracks worth mension. The Alchemist track is Bust at you feat Birdman , scarface and Tony Sunshine is dope

  • Sha

    Joe has been getting shitted on for a minute. But cats just don’t realize how valuable he was-and-is to the game.

    Hip-hop owes this dude a huge debt of gratitude. It’s cats like FAT JOE, The BEATNUTS, BIG PUN, and several others that brought hip-hop to the Hispanic communities. And not just on some “I’m Hispanic, so you Hispanics should buy my stuff” shit. These cats brought SKILLS.

    It pisses me off when I see the way these come-by-night fans fail to see the relevance of people like FAT JOE. Like Eminem did for white MCs, these cats paved the way for Hispanics.

    And that shit was no easy task. Have you cats ever been to any Latin country or been deep into the Latin community? Latinos hate blacks. And I’m not talking out of my ass. Go to Spain and find out how quickly they will tell a nigga to eat a dick. Go to Brazil. Once you get past the fact that the people are only liking you because you are American and they think you have money, study the country and see if you can find a Brazilian citizen of dark color not getting shitted on.

    But Fat Joe showed the world that music is music. And on top of all that? He actually calls himself a “Nigga”. Just because he calls himself that doesn’t mean he gets a pass. But I recognized the effort and I respect it.

    I recognize what you’ve done for the game, Fat Joe. 50 Cent and others could never affect the culture the way you or Big Pun did. And that’s real.

    • yoprince

      I’ve been to Spain. the women loved me out there. i’m black.

      they don’t fuck with gypsies and uneducated Africans out there. and honestly, it’s for good reason.

      it’s no different than how we treat Mexicans here.

  • kedordu

    darkside is is best album . its like he cut out the b.s and started going in . but it really started from the elephant in the room . lets see where he goes from here. even thought it might not sell . its a top 5 album this yr

  • Q461

    Yup nobody can deny fat joe got hits for days….he’s one of hip-hops most consistent artists like that…he just never made that classic album, or even one that can be up for debate as a classic…Here’s a few joints I like that you didnt list though…..

    Watch the sound with grand puba and diamond D off Represent…

    Respect Mine with Raekwon and Bronx Tale with KRS-one off Jealous ones Envy…

    Don Cartagena off that same album…

    All I need off that Loyalty album…

    Get it poppin with Nelly off All or nothing

    Music off of JOSE 2

    and the joint with Premier off the new album Darkside….

    call em what you want u want but Cracks been doin this for a minute….dude’s got dumb hits

  • General

    Yeah it is amazin that he has been doin it for so long now and his latest CD may be his best to date. Joey wasn’t lyin when he said this CD was gonna be classic (obviously still up for debate for years to come), but he really went in on this one…

    I think so much of the backlash against Joe has come from all the people that drank the 50 Cent kool-aid and just repeat everything that he says. I still can’t figure out 50′s beef with Joe other than him and Jada did that New York joint with Ja, which by the way was a banger as well…

    Bottom line, its about time that people stop treating hip hop like the WWE and really start listening to the catalogs of these artists and put them in perspective and show them the respect that they have earned

  • robmarkman

    The first “Jealous Ones Envy” is still my favorite Joe album. “Part Deux,” “Success,” ‘Shit is Real Remix,” “Respect Mine,” ‘Watch Out” (first Pun song ever). Too many dope joints to name.

    “Loyalty” was slept on too. “Gangsta” WAS THE SHIT! “Take A Look At My Life” was dope and “Bust At You” with Scarface and Baby was my shit!

    Joe doesn’t get enough credit.

  • yoprince

    ya’ll some “save-a-Joe”-ass dudes.

    a lot of the joints mentioned are FAR reaches in terms of even being great songs, much less hits or classics or anything worth being remembered past the moment in which it came out.

    i have heard the new album is dope tho. haven’t checked it out yet.

    pun better than biggie? so disrespectful. never was, never would’ve been. BIG was effortless. he rapped with confidence. his flow was simultaneously commercial and street with worldwide appeal. PUN was just another technically proficient NY rapper who typically sounded like he was TRYING.

    i’m sure fat joe is a nice guy. he has a few heavily assisted hits. the best album he was associated with was the TS album with Lean Back on it.

    • El Tico Loco

      PUN was just another technically proficient NY rapper who typically sounded like he was TRYING.

      Trying to breathe maybe (see how that turned out), and since when being technically sound is a bad thing? Biggie was rapping in his native language Pun was juggling 2 languages inside his head (I know I do it too), what do you expect?

      • Dick B.

        Big Pun is on the same level as Biggie and Pac. Just listen to his lyrics, flow, and vocabulary.

      • yoprince

        @ Loco

        it’s a good thing. i understand that’s why people like his verses. especially ppl who like rappity-ass-rapping so to speak. i’m just saying biggie was more than that. biggie’s talents as a song-maker surpassed being a technically proficient rapper.

        i have the same issue with Em right now. on his latest album he’s so focused trying to be the perfect rapper that he’s speed-rapping and yelling all his verses. i preferred clever story-telling like “My Fault,” poignant shit like “If I Had,” and clever, lol shit like “Drug Ballad.”

        instead he’s trying so hard, he ends up saying corny shit like:

        “now you get to watch her leave out the window, guess that’s why they call it window pane.”

        that’s forcing it, and it’s woefully un-clever.

        sorry. ehh.. i got off on a tangent.

        • og bobby j

          yoprince. Your dead wrong about pun. real talk, i will put capital punishment against any album…..period.

          dont get it twisted, bigge was that dude, but so was pun.

          i do cosign the em comments tho. with the exception of 2 songs of the new joint, they are all forgetable. He is forcing it, clearly. I much rather hear the 8 mile soundtrack em, then the relapse/recovery em.

          ps – the two tracks i fuz with on recovery are talkin to myself (beat and hook knocks, lyrics are ok. but who would have burned him? wyne? kayne? i dont care for the pity seeking em or the non confident em) and not afraid

        • yoprince

          ehh, it’s cool. i know ppl love pun. i just can’t get there with dude.. dude is musical nyquil to me, all those words rushing together, spilling all over each other. i’m good.

          but we can agree on Em… even tho my fave em period is SSLP/MMLP-era.. 8 Mile-era was cool too, but I preferred when he was still kinda insane.

  • Anonymous

    lame 3 hit woder

  • Anonymous

    Why didnt this lame get up on stage an box 50 at the mtv awards when 50 called him out. Im not a big fan of 50 but he pulled his how card.

    Back when 50 did the piggy bank song off of massacre joe was talkin shit sayin if he saw 50 in the streets he would slap him. Well when 50 was on stage at the mtv awards performin with g-unit he stopped the song short and pointed at joe and told him to get up on stage and do somethin and joe didnt do shit. ( mtv had to stop airing the show a few seconds early because of the altercation ) .fuck this dude he acts like he is one of the greates when he is nothin more than a second rate mc who helped contribute little to the game of hip hop.

    • you need a hug

      what did 50 do for hip hop? beef with everybody including dr dre? when is he beefing with em?

  • Anonymous

    i meant hoe card

  • swype-matic

    What kind of bandwagon for Fat Joe are people tryin’ to start around here? I’ve shitted on Joe plenty of times, but he makes it very easy to. To me he’s similar to Rick Ross—he has a great ear for beat, but the difference is, Rick Rick has lyrically stepped it up from album to album. Fat Joe was overrated in the first place, and has digressed from there. ‘Darkside’ definitely IS his best album to date, but get that classic talk outta here. Out of the 13 songs on there, you can consistently listen to 8, which isn’t bad at all. But don’t put Fat Joe on a pesdastel, it’s too late to try to do that.

  • swype-matic

    What kind of bandwagon for Fat Joe are people tryin’ to start around here? I’ve shitted on Joe plenty of times, but he makes it very easy to. To me he’s similar to Rick Ross—he has a great ear for beat, but the difference is, Rick Rick has lyrically stepped it up from album to album. Fat Joe was overrated in the first place, and has digressed from there. ‘Darkside’ definitely IS his best album to date, but get that classic talk outta here. Out of the 13 songs on there, you can consistently listen to 8, which isn’t bad at all. But don’t put Fat Joe on a pesdestal, it’s too late to try to do that.

  • the G.O.D.


    Give props where props is due-this dude had improved a lot sinece ‘flow Joe’ though I can’t get with all this ‘n… a’reference to ‘self but I understand. now, as far as Curtis calling him out at the MTV show (?)(that is a snitch move) that is b.s., Joe was one of the few cats if not the only cat ready to go against some silly Cali dudes at some conference way back, check yourself.


  • KingP

    All I need and Take a look at my life were great records off loyalty

  • El Tico Loco

    When Pun died and he left D.I.T.C. I kinda stopped checking for Fat Joe. Then the music he made while in Miami had me looking at him like “This nigga was in D&D studios wtf happened?”

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    No one called Fat Joe a one hit wonder. No matter how anyone feels about him, Fat Joe as a solo artist has had several hits on the Billboard top 100. What’s Luv, Make it Rain, I Won’t Tell, Get it Poppin, We Thuggin, etc.

    In the Billboard article they were talking about Terror Squad as a group only, not Fat Joe.

  • D-Block

    Joey is seriosly making a comeback. Newest track “i’m gone” and “how did we get here” is on some fire shit. All you niggas need to listen to these two songs and i bet yall guna say where the fuck is 50!!

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    in a sense, joey crack is a one hit wonder. don’t get me wrong, i respect him, his grind and he makes a hit every so often. thas why i call him a one hit wonder. in addition, joey follows trends vs setting them. his hits will let you know what was cool during that time in hip hop. Thas why i say he is a one hit wonder with several hits. he never made any ground breaking world changing albums. all of them are solid and he has the skills he is just missing something.

    • Anonymous

      Thats not what a one hit wonder means. One hit wonder means you drop one hit then niggas “wonder” what the hell happened to you after that. Joey never disappeared. Every year he has some average tracks come out. They may not be great or classics, but he’s at least consistently trying.

  • sajib

    ya’ll forgot to mention “that white” on elephant in the room. preemo set if offff with the production and joe comes correct as he normally does when he keeps that old ny sound.

  • Pingoody

    Fat joe went super hard on this album. It’s one the best album out this year so far. Straight fire. Can’t wait to hear vol2. Keep crackin does clowns.

  • T

    Yo The artical didnt call Fat Joe a 1 hit Wonder they called the terror squad as a group a one hit wonder.

  • D5P

    His whole style is jocked from big pun, and with big puns death also so died fat joes relevance, he continued to struggle along, with lean back being a huge hit within the concept of a hip-hop dance genre. 50 cent so wisely chose to eliminate him, which i thank him for.