Why Fat Joe was banned from HOT 97.0
(Credit: Mika Väisänen)

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Why Fat Joe was banned from HOT 97.0

Terror Squad founder Fat Joe has always been open about his upbringing in Forest Houses, a low-income housing project in the Bronx. He has previously admitted that he was a volatile, aggressive youth. However, even after achieving fame, the emcee still had destructive tendencies and, on one occasion, got himself banned from HOT 97.0. 

With songs such as ‘What’s Luv?’ featuring Ashanti and ‘Lean Back’ dominating the hip-hop charts during the early 2000s, Fat Joe was a formidable artist. However, this success led to arrogance and behaviours that almost cost him his career.

In an interview with DJ Enuff for his GOAT Talk series on HOT 97.0, the lyricist (real name Jose Cartagena) recalled a mistake he made during the early days of his career that could have destroyed his career and reputation in New York. 

Cartagena recounted when the most popular New York radio station threw a sold-out show at Lehman High School in his native borough, the Bronx. As one of the biggest rappers from the Bronx during the early 2000s, Fat Joe unveiled that he rolled up to the event with 100 people but immediately got turned away from the door.

Recalling his response, the ‘John Blaze’ musician revealed, “I was like, ‘What do you mean? They came to see Fat Joe!’ Because they did come to see Fat Joe. So I beat the guy up, and the guy turned out to be one of the bosses of HOT 97.0.”

As the most listened-to hip-hop and R’n’B station in the Northeast megalopolis, all artists depended on HOT 97.0 to boost their popularity and success. However, Fat Joe’s outburst led to his music getting pulled from the HOT 97.0 airwaves, hurting the commercial reach of his records.

The individual Cartagena assaulted was the then-program director Tracy Cloherty. Recalling the incident’s aftermath, the emcee divulged, “He stopped playing my records. So my whole second album, almost third album, they wouldn’t play my records. So I kept coming back, begging him and kissing his ass, and they’d be like, ‘Nah, I’m not ready to squash it with you.’ I used to have people tell him, ‘Yo, Joe is a good guy, he was young, he didn’t know.'”

Cartagena concluded, “Years later, he finally forgave me and was like, ‘Yo, Fat Joe it’s all good.’ I was like, ‘I was young, I was stupid. I ain’t no better.’ So we squashed the beef.” You can listen to Fat Joe recall the incident with DJ Enuff in the video below.