Fat Joe is a legend of rap. As far as career success goes, he’s done it all. Hailing from New York City, he made his first foray into rap as a member of the iconic hip-hop outfit, Diggin’ in the Crates Crew, alongside the likes of Lord Finesse and Diamond D.
After his stint in The Crew, Joe embarked on a solo career and formed the label Terror Squad to run alongside it. A prolific creative, Fat Joe has managed to remain relevant 30 years after he first found success with Diggin’ in the Crates Crew, a testament to his work.
As the head of Terror Squad, Fat Joe has released works by Big Pun, Remy Ma, Tony Sunshine, Cuban Link, Armageddon, Prospect and Trope Seis. He also discovered an unknown DJ Khaled, a huge find, regardless of whether you like his work or not.
Another segment of Fat Joe’s career that stands out is his feud with 50 Cent. During the mid-’00s, he and Cent participated in one of American rap’s most iconic feuds. It started in 2005 when Fat Joe released ‘My Fofo’, which he aimed at 50 Cent after Fiddy had criticised Joe for recording with Ja Rule. Responding to the track, 50 Cent released ‘Piggy Bank’ from his classic record The Massacre.
The two would then trade blows in the media, which saw Fat Joe call 50 Cent a “coward” during a radio phone-in and 50 Cent jump on stage after Fat Joe’s appearance at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, where he remarked: “I feel safe with all the police protection—courtesy of G-Unit.” The feud rumbled on until the end of the decade and seemed to peter out.
Despite his ridiculous spat with 50 Cent, Fat Joe is an essential figure in rap. Recent years have seen him collaborate with some of the hottest names out there, including Kendrick Lamar and French Montana.
Aside from the music, he’s also a respected voice on current rappers, given just how plugged into the scene he is. During a recent video, he even listed his top five current rappers.
He listed Drake, Lil Baby, Cardi B, Roddy Ricch and Benny The Butcher as his five, and he saved the best praise for Atlanta’s Lil Baby. “Lil Baby, bar for bar, he’s the best,” he explained. “Drake is just king of the sh-t. But if you asked me, who’s the best guy spitting right now? It’s Lil Baby.”
Joe’s opinion seems to echo that of the rap world. It’s been a busy year for Lil Baby. He appeared on J. Cole’s most recent album, The Off-Season, and has received praise from eminent names such as Meek Mill.
Joe didn’t save all his praise for Lil Baby, though. He also explained that he feels there are similarities between Roddy Ricch and early Drake, explaining that the Compton rapper might well be on his way to “legendary” status given the success of his last album, Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial. Only time will tell if this prediction comes true.
Check out Joe’s list below.
Fat Joe’s five favourite rappers right now:
- Lil Baby
- Cardi B
- Roddy Ricch
- Benny The Butcher