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Fat Joe

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You still don’t know what Crillz Mania is by now? Just imagine the hottest party of the yearin a big city and the while music industry is in town. The block the club is on is being shut down by police and about 1,000 people-die hard fans of hip-hop—are standing outside. The celebs are coming in and up pulls a sky blue phantom Rolls Royce. Out steps the leader of the Terror Squad and about 350 people are yelling in unison, “Crack! Crack, CR, CR, CR Crack!”

That’s just a small episode from the life of the legendary Fat Joe. As one of the preeminent MC’s in the world during the past decade, very few have matched his longevity and especially within the last five years, there have been not a handful of rap artists who can claim the commercial success and street credibility of the Terror Squad Don. Still, the Bronx native feels he gets slept on and address his feelings with an album titled The Elephant in the Room, due in March.

“I have no clue,” Joe says about why he hasn’t gotten more mainstream recognition for his evolution as one of the hip-hop industry’s top tier players. “I work harder than any other guys a million percent. But when people don’t catch on, they force me to get better and better. They’re gonna know. Especially with this album, they will know. I’m listening to other artists’ material and listening to my own music and like ‘ain’t nobody that much better than me.’ It’s just who you prefer. Who you wanna listen to and who you are a fan of. The field of competition ain’t Spittin.”

Despite the title and Joe’s stance of getting his proper acknowledgement, The Elephant in the Room is far from a brooding LP. In fact, it’s more a celebration of Joey Crack’s unremittingly surfacing abilities in the vocal booth as well as his unwavering love of the hip-hop culture. The LP mixes the incontestable over-the-top smash hits we’re accustomed to the multiple-time Grammy Award nominee bringing us, such as his current single with J. Holiday, “I Won’t Tell” along wit his brazen street corner serenades of warfare, vice and thug confrontations such as “CrackHouse.”

“Truthfully, I did this album in like a month and a half,” Joe revealed. “I’m one of the nicest right now. Serious talk. My album, there ain’t no verse alike. Every record has got a different flow, but I’m willing to say every flow on each verse is not like the last.”

Besides this album taking Joe his least time to record, he also made his most tracks ever during a single album’s recording sessions. In total he banged out 28, which averaged almost a song a day. He says he felt his most comfortable point ever as an artist.

“When I first started making music early in my career, it was wack,” he laughs. “But from J.O.S.E. on, I stepped my game up. From ‘Lean Back’ on, I really stepped my game up. I’m a pro at this. It’s out of fear. If we wanna be real with it, its fear out of not being hot. I’ve been hot for 14 years. Hit records after hit records. It’s almost like I’m scared of not being hot. I love making hot music, I love people saying they love my sh--.”

“Whoever is the most dominant guy in the game, if I’m not making music as hot as them, then I’m not hot,” he added, rationalizing some of inspiration. It’s just been my formula. If I’m not spittin rhymes or making songs hot enough to compete with the hottest rapper in the game, then I’m not hot. This is a business for the exceptionally gifted. This is a game where everybody wants to rap. Literally. All around the world. There’s only like 20 exceptional artists. You have to be exceptionally gifted or you’re not gonna make the cut.”

Throughout his career, Joe has abviously been cut from the cloth of supreme mic holders. He’s held his own on songs with modern day legends such as close friends Big Pun and Big L, the Wu-Tang Clan, nas, Grand Puba and one of the greatest collection of Masters of Ceremonies to ever assemble, D.I.T.C. Currently it’s no different. You can often find joe collaborating with the best of the best of today’s A-;List such as Lil’ Wayne, Rick Ross, T.I. and Young Jeezy.

For the most part, Joe’s new album was produced by an assembly of hitmakers he help usher into stardom, DJ Khaled, Cool and Dre, The Runners, Street Runner and Scott Storch.

Elephant… starts off with another ferocious wakeup call, titled “The Fugitive.”

“Headed for paradise, Carlos Brigante, jazz in the background, Harry Belafonte,’ he raps over Street Runners ensnaring track. “See Gail in the clouds / Look honey I’m comin’ / Different strokes, different folks, you guessed it Phillip Drumming.”

“The intro is called ‘The Fugitive,” “I’m going crazy on there,” he said. “I like for people to get the album, open the plastic off the CD. I want them to be in the car with four dudes, take that CD out, hear that beat come in and pretty much wild out.”

Piles guest stars on the rhythmically prosperous “Ain’t Saying Nothin,’” a call and response igniter produced by Cool and Dre which is going to have people dancing so hard the clubs might get condemned for a week. “Coca Baby” is a Danjahandz tooled Fat Joe theme song that’s going to wrak more havoc than the monster in “Cloverfield.”

“What I learned was I could make a hit,” Joe said about the process of transitioning from his pongstanding recording home Atlantic Records to his independent partnership with Imperial records where his last LP, Me,

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