It’s been a few years since Don Cartegena, a.k.a Fat Joe was in the spotlight, so he’s well timed for an Australian tour. A man of change, from weight to work, Joe has longevity in Hip Hop that deserves props. He’s a likeable character these days through his charity work, open honestly about his family life, and active discussion with fans on social media. We put our boy Messy on the blower with Fat Joe to catch up and find out what’s happening with the Don ahead of his arrival this week.
So I know you started your journey into the hip hop culture as a graffiti artist, how did you make the jump to MCing?
I actually was a breakdancer first, then I went into graffiti and through graffiti I met Diamond D from Diggin In The Crates. He used to write D Rock, and we bombed a couple of times in graffiti, and then he said “Yo Joe you know you getting into a bunch of trouble in the streets, you’re getting into stuff, why don’t you start rapping?” Then, you know, he took me to the studio, he paid for the studio time, and we cut like 2 to 3 records and the rest is history.
Starting straight off the bat with the legendary Diamond D and DITC, no messing around small time?
Laughs Yeah exactly.
So when you first did those sessions with Diamond D did you think you would achieve such longevity in the rap game?
No way. I never thought I’d have longevity. On top of that I actually thought I was, like, a mediocre rapper when I first came out. The only difference was the authenticity, I knew people knew that I was real and whatever I said I really lived. But I had to really really practice, and work on my craft, and study other rappers, and elevate my game to be around this long. There was a hard dedication. Hard work.
So speaking of other rappers at the time, who were you listening to?
Well it was Nas at the time, so he came in a little bit after me, and he really really inspired me. You know, he really really inspired me to take my music to another level.
With such a long career and so many releases you’ve worked with a bunch of producers. Is there anyone you’d like to still work with but haven’t yet?
I would love to work with Dr Dre, but that seems impossible, you know, because he does like one song every ten years! So, you know, no.
There has been so many high points to your career, but have you had any disappointments or regrets?
Of Course! I mean you know there’s all trials and tribulations. So I’ve made mistakes, and I’ve made smart decisions. It’s all a learning process man. Being creative and expressing yourself man, and being true to the culture while you’re doing it.
So we’re looking forward to you coming Down Under. Any idea what’s the oldest Fat Joe song Australian fans will hear live, and are you dropping any new tunes?
I don’t know exactly what song or what format I’ll do it in. But I like to give every era some love, and I like to give everybody a little piece of the action, something from the hardcore to the hits, you know, to everything. I just put on a hell of a show, you know!
For me personally DITC is one of the greatest crews to ever exist in hip hop. I heard your new joint with AG and Diamond D and I’m wondering is that a teaser for more new Diggin In The Crates material?
Yeah yeah! We actually working on album right now.
So DITC is really gonna give the heads new music?
Finally the wait is over! And we already cut a bunch of records and we just gonna continue to keep working. And you know I’m really really excited man. I’m glad to be with the crew and working, everybody shares the same vision and its great.
You got a Top 5 MCs of all time list?
Man I can’t say that! That’s just too hard and everyday it changes. You know, I’m Biggie, Pac, Pun, Nas & Jay Z. It’s too many. KRS, LL Cool J, Rakim. It’s crazy.
Too many cats do their thing!
Fat Joe Big respect, thanks for speaking with OzHipHop.Com
Alright my brother. Just let everybody know come out and support the tour. Fat Joe, I’m gonna kill the show! Thank you for all the love. One love.
Read all about Fat Joe in our feature article here and check his out on tour this week!
Fri 22 Jan – Opium Nightclub
Sat 23 Jan – Max Watts
Sun 24 Jan – The Gov –
Mon 25 Jan – Trak Lounge Bar
Perth – Fri 29 Jan
The Game Sports Bar
Sat 30 Jan – Max Watts