This first appeared on on April 21, 2009.

Fat Joe Talks Pun’s Wife, Hit Songs & Sneakers


If there’s one thing Fat Joe believes in, it’s consistency. Which is why you may often hear him and his brother-from-another DJ Khaled constantly boast “We Make Hit Recorddss.” That being said, it’s about that time of year when Joey Crack is ready to drop another album, this time a sequel to a sequel titled J.O.S.E. 2 which drops May 19th.

Around the time Joey held his listening session in NYC for the album, we got the TS head-honcho on the phone to speak on a number of topics. Yup, we’ve been sitting on it, and now we’ve decided it’s time you hear his thoughts on his now-pushed-back album, DJ Khaled the executive, 50′s first album (and why he refuses to call it a classic) and how he feels about Big Pun’s wife Liza Rios criticizing him for not keeping Pun’s memory alive. It’s coca, bitch.

Complex: To get the cliché questions out of the way, how excited are you about this album?

Fat Joe: Big, man. The reason why it’s called J.O.S.E. 2 is because my biggest album was J.O.S.E. and the music I make, it’s just so big. You know I got so much hits on this album. Big songs, man. Big street jams. It feels big, man. I’m waiting for the homerun. I’m really, really proud of the work.

Complex: What track on the album won’t be released as a single but is your personal favorite?

Fat Joe: This one song called “Congratulations.” It’s going to be a summer banger. It’s just about how everybody who wants to be famous has to be careful what you wish for. Look at Chris Brown and Rihanna. They’re trying to get their life together. They got paparazzi and everybody all on them now, so it’s like you got to be careful with what you wish for. I mean, unfortunately there’s domestic violence going around in this country, and around the world every single day. Some couples get a chance to work it out. Get back together. Now they in the cameras. Everybody wants to be famous. You have to be ready to deal with consequences. I also have another song called “HO” which is that New York Hip-Hop hardcore, crazy shit.

Complex: So even though he’s been making back-to-back hits, some people in New York don’t like Ron Browz using auto-tune. As someone who worked with him, what’s your take on his haters?

Fat Joe: I don’t know why they feel like that, because he’s making good music. In New York, they love it. “Pop Champagne” it wasn’t just New York, it was a big song. We have to move with the times, man. That happens to be what’s hot, and he happens to be hot doing it. So I can’t be mad at nobody doing it.

Complex: You make consistent hits every year, but some people criticize that they’re off the strength of other people like Lil Wayne. How do you respond to that?

Fat Joe: I love it. I’d rather have them criticize me for working with other big artists than me not being relevant, and having a hit. And I write songs and I write hit hooks myself. “Lean Back,” “Make It Rain”—I wrote those hooks. Like this song I did with Akon, I found the hook with this writer and then we told Akon to sing it. So I really A&R my projects.

Complex: So you wrote the hook that Wayne spits in “Make It Rain”?

Fat Joe: Absolutely. It was me on there first. It was just too South for me to be on there. So it made sense that I’m cool with Wayne to get him on the hook.

Complex: Interesting… Now, you’re close with DJ Khaled, and he was recently appointed president of Def Jam South. How prepared do you think he is for a job like that?

Fat Joe: No one has ever seen an executive like DJ Khaled. Everybody in the music business who’s an executive has been polished for the job. Khaled comes with the energy that hasn’t been seen in this game, ever, from the day that fucking Lyor Cohen and Russell Simmons opened Def Jam! He’s going to put out nothing but hits. And I expect him to be one of the biggest executives in couple of years, the hip-hop game has ever seen. I guarantee he’s going to be an executive of a lifetime. Remember I told you.

Complex: When Khaled was on Rap City a few years ago, and the host put a bunch of albums on a table and asked Khaled to say whether they were classic. He didn’t put Get Rich or Die Trying in the classic pile. Putting aside your personal issues with 50, do you think that album was a classic?

Fat Joe: I refuse to comment on that. Because ask him if he thinks any of my songs were phenomenal hits or whatever. I can’t comment on a person who won’t comment on me in a positive light. So I wouldn’t be true to a comment if I answer that question.

Well, you know, Rick’s a big boy, man. He can handle it himself. And he obviously went after 50. And they got beef and they’re going to handle their beef. Whether it’s music or whatever the case may be. That’s them.

Complex: How do you feel about the Rick/50 situation going on right now?

Fat Joe: Well, you know, Rick’s a big boy, man. He can handle it himself. And he obviously went after 50. And they got beef and they’re going to handle their beef. Whether it’s music or whatever the case may be. That’s them. I don’t know what to tell you.

Complex: Did it surprise you that Rick actually started it?

Fat Joe: Well, 50′s been taking shots for a while. So I guess it’s almost a response, to be honest with you. We make hot music. Whoever makes big records is a winner to me. Not the person with the mumbo jumbo, or the biggest diss record, or whatever the case may be. In the end of the day, whoever is most successful, whoever puts out a big record, wins the battle.

Complex: Fair enough. Switching subjects, Showbiz released a DITC album called The Movement last year, but you weren’t on it. Are you still a member of the crew?

Fat Joe: Absolutely. But I didn’t even realize that happened, to tell you the truth. I never heard it. Who’s on it? Maybe it was a remake or something like that. But yeah, that’s a different time in hip-hop. That’s the motivating time. That was the time where everybody supports each other. Digging In The Crates never disrespected each other. We always motivated each other and helped each other. That’s a whole new category with this new school bullshit. With loyalty and shit like that. With Digging In The Crates and myself, it’s all about the music.

Complex: Recently, a couple of well-respected hip-hop bloggers were getting into the age-old debate of who was better, Pun or B.I.G. Where do you stand on that argument?

Fat Joe: Pun was a great artist, but Biggie was a great artist. I can’t tell you who is better. That’s like the same as saying he’s better than Biggie. I can’t say that man. They both brought strong energy to the hip-hop game. And they’re both extremely talented, and charismatic as well. Funny thing they had in common was they were both funny, and they were both witty. Had a lot of charisma.

I don’t care. I don’t care what she says to me. Not keeping Pun’s memory alive? If I don’t keep Pun’s memory alive, who does? You know everything I do, I represent Big Pun. If I won an award, I represent Big Pun.

Complex: Speaking of Pun. His wife has said in interviews that you’re not keeping his memory alive. How hurtful was that to you, and how did you take that?

Fat Joe: I don’t care. I don’t care what she says to me. Not keeping Pun’s memory alive? If I don’t keep Pun’s memory alive, who does? You know everything I do, I represent Big Pun. If I won an award, I represent Big Pun. I’m the only one who says Big Pun is the best rapper on earth. If I don’t rep Big Pun, then who reps Big Pun?

Complex: Understandable. On a lighter note, you’re big into sneakers, and word is that you’re a Jordan-head. How do you feel about the new fusions that have been dropping?

Fat Joe: Yeah, I like the new Jordan Air Force Ones. Those shits are crazy.

Complex: When was the last time you actually bought Jordan’s from a store?

Fat Joe: Maybe two days ago.

Complex: Oh, really?

Fat Joe: Yeah, I buy sneakers everyday. It’s my fucking addiction. I don’t really need them, but it’s fucking addictive. I’m like a little kid that has a basketball and don’t want nobody else to play with it. “It’s mine, it’s mine, and it’s mine!” When it comes to sneakers.

Complex: What single pair of Jordan’s do you own most multiple pairs of?

Fat Joe: I would say the IIIs. I have like 5 or 6 pairs.

Complex: Cool man, thanks for taking the time, good luck on the album.

Fat Joe: Thanks man, I appreciate it. Keep a tight ass, buddy.

Complex: [Blank Stare, hangs up]

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Joe La Puma is currently the Director of Content Strategy at Complex Media, handling big idea generation and execution along with the social networking of Complex's content. He's conducted cover stories with everyone from Katy Perry and Justin Bieber to Rick Ross and Kid Cudi.
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