The rapper Fat Joe called the best in the world
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The rapper Fat Joe called the best in the world

Fat Joe is an iconic figure in New York hip-hop and, as one of the first Latino rappers to gain commercial success, changed the face of East Coast rap music. However, there is one lyricist from his city that he insists is the best in the world.

Fat Joe grew up in the Bronx and was one of the most prominent Puerto Rican rappers of the early 1990s. That said he wasn’t considered a big name until he managed to sign a young, budding new emcee from Castle Hill.

Akin to other members of Fat Joe’s Terror Squad, Big Pun grew up in the inner city projects of Castle Hill. As an adolescent, he was inspired by other artists hailed from the Bronx, such as Rakim and KRS-One. After seeing Fat Joe break into the mainstream as a Puerto Rican from the Bronx, Rios was more convinced than ever that he could succeed as a rapper.

That said, one day Pun (real name Christopher Rios) tracked down Fat Joe, one of the most prominent Puerto Rican rappers of the early 1990s. After successfully finding the rapper (real name José Cartagena), he waited for him outside one of the Bronx’s many Bodegas and rapped for him. The rest is history, as Fat Joe realises that a star has been born.

During an interview on Houston radio show The Box on KBXX 97.9FM, Fat Joe explained why Big Pun is the epicentre of his entire career. Speaking with the hosts, Madd Hatta J-Mac and Young Jas, Cartagena stated, “Everything goes back to signing Big Pun. Everything goes back to then! That’s the point when I became an entrepreneur. That’s the point where we’re in the business, a mogul, an entrepreneur. That’s the point when I was known [and people were saying] ‘Wow, he ain’t just tryna rap, he putting a dude on and the dude going double-platinum! He’s serious about this.”

He continued, “Big Pun is the best in the world! That’s the bottom line. He’s better than the boss.” Explaining how they met, he detailed, “I’m coming out the bodega, they freestyling. It’s the fatter Puerto Rican guy that’s ready to rap, and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, what has this guy got to say?!’ You know I was the only Spanish (Hispanic) dude rapping. I was like, ‘C’mon’, threw him in the whip, and that night I put him in the studio!”

Cartagena explained how from the minute they met, they became like brothers. Revealing how he helped push Big Pun into the limelight, Fat Joe explained, “He got on my second album, I already knew he was the best!”

The ‘Lean Back’ rhymer even detailed how he took Rios to meet some of New York’s greatest lyricists, recalling, “I took Pun to Nas and Kool G Rap, and I said ‘Yo you gotta hear my man!’ And they were like ‘A’ight’ and then he started spittin’, and they were like ‘This dude’s a freak of nature!'”

You can listen to Fat Joe explaining why Big Pun is the best rapper in the world below.