Fat Joe is prepping to drop his new mixtape, the sequel to 2010’s critically acclaimed album, The Darkside, Vol. One, for free this Halloween, (October 31). On the eve of its release, the Bronx-bred rap vet spoke to XXLMag.com about who he worked with on The Darkside, Vol. 2, the death of gangsta rap and why he decided to put it out as a tape as opposed to a proper studio album.

As far as Joe is concerned, he’s trying to go a radio friendly route with his next album, but when it comes to his new mixtape, he wanted to make it strictly for the streets.

Darkside One was an album and it got great reviews and it’s what I like to do in hip-hop music; the hardcore shit,” Joey Crack explained. “But, you know in a mainstream world talkin’ about killin’ niggas and hustlin’ and all that, niggas, they scared to play that on the radio. So I said, you know what, we gon’ keep the Darkside brand, we gon’ keep feeding the fans, because niggas who love Fat Joe they want that hard shit.”

The Terror Squad leader feels that his brand of aggressive music is missing in the current rap climate.

“I been noticing since I been thinking about this Darkside mixtape, I’m like, Yo I feel like gansgta rap is extinct right now,” he said. “It used to be the backpack rappers were always like, ‘Yo we don’t get our just due.’ Now its like them niggas get all the just due. And the gangsta rap niggas they ain’t even getting heard like that. I felt a need to just touch the streets with that Darkside.”

D Two features Joe’s fellow East Coast gangsta rap peers, Raekwon, Jadakiss and French Montana, who appears on the project’s intro, “Welcome to the Darkside.” While FJ has some recognizable features, on the production side, he decided to try out a crop of newcomers, like Mark Henry, who produced 80 percent of the tape.

Meanwhile, 99 percent of the tape is all new material, except for the track, “Pushing Keys,” which he dropped earlier this year.

“All new records,” he said. “One record that I feel like I had put out a while ago. To me it’s like an incredible record. It’s called Pushing Keys and not many people heard it. And I’m leaving that on the mixtape ’cause its just like, it’s too dope.”

"Other than that it’s all new material," he added. "I ain’t gonna lie to you, I believe in quality over quantity so I went into Darkside Two like it’s an album. To me it ain’t just a mixtape. Maybe I’m crazy but I feel like I reached the status of where I can’t put out bullshit. I gotta try my best all the time.” —Jesse Gissen

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