Fat Joe: Sucking on potatoes in his underwear

An interview with hungry rapper Fat Joe once again took Life & Art into the swank Loews Miami Beach Hotel, and this time I was frisked in a dark suite by four men. After they checked my notebook for “razorblades” and made sure the pen I brought (in my hair) wasn’t a weapon, Fat Joe came out in his underwear and sat down on the couch with me.

He flipped off New Jack City to watch Gladiator, during which Dre, one of his producers, enlightened him with the knowledge that the word “maximum,” originates from main character’s name, Maximus (a definition I was unaware of).

As I sat beside him in glorious awe, he began drinking red potato soup – sucking on the leftover potatoes and spitting them out – passed on the rice, and opened up a dish containing a (non-Fat Joe) forearm-size fish. As he sat on the couch (still in his underwear), he told me that I had five minutes left. Half an hour later, I had learned quite a bit about a man whose music, up to this point, has made my long car rides more entertaining. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you…

Fat Joe: …Versace’s good, but I prefer platinum and Chanel cologne.

Q: I’m not asking that. Where do your loyalties lay? (Loyalty is the name of the new Fat Joe album)
FJ: My family and my Terror Squad crew.

Q: How loyal are you to being fat, Joe?
FJ: (slurping down soup)
I wasn’t thinking of loyalty, they called me Fat Joe as a kid. I always want to represent being Fat Joe – from the Bronx. Loyalty is the greatest quality within a person.

Q: How loyal were Relativity and Atlantic? (The two labels to which Fat Joe has been signed)
FJ: Record labels aren’t loyal.

Q: Do you think M.O.P. ever listens to R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly?”
FJ: I think so. All rappers get rapped out.

(M.O.P. and R. Kelly were featured together on the Fat Joe album J.O.S.E. On M.O.P.’s most successful album, Warriorz, they spit the venomous lyrics, “What’s up with these R&B cats nowadays, wearin’ do-rags an’ braids?”)

Q: What do you think you are best at doing: Rapping, managing Halftime (his boutique), cutting hair (he has a barbershop) or running your clothing label (FJ560)?
FJ: My music, man.

Q: What do you think of Garth Brooks, (he has sold millions of records due to the loyalty of his country fans)?
FJ: He does country. I could walk into a restaurant…

Q: How loyal do you think the fans of pop music are?
FJ: [Those] fans run with the new thing all day. Hip hop music always likes young, new…

Q: Is your loyal crew made up of friends who respect you because you did your own thing?
FJ: I don’t know who my friends are – they change like the wind. Life is full of surprises.

(Right around this point more food was eaten. Joe and Dre discussed a chain not having enough diamonds in it and how they are going to contact a jeweler in New York to fix it)

FJ: …Dre call downstairs, see if they could bring up some salt.

Q: Are you ever going to go back to how it was when all you did was bust a flow, Joe? (“Flow Joe” – the first single from his first album, Represent, topped Billboard’s Hot Rap Singles Chart.)
FJ: The last album I ever record, I’m gonna leave the way the way I came in, strictly hardcore, rhymes, no part – on some shit.

Q: So, now, you’re just making music by living your life?
FJ: No doubt.

Q: How long do you think people need to rhyme about their success before it motivates other people to succeed on their own?
FJ: Um, Um… People just rap about what they wanna rap about. Jay-Z can’t be rhyming for money anymore, nigga’s worth like three hundred million. He’s doing it for power, money and fame – it can’t be the money.

Q: Um?
FJ: India.Arie likes the simple things…
[takes a large bite of avocado]

FJ: …but business is business.

[after swallowing half his bite, starts to rap]

FJ: Same different songs about the same ol’ things/ But when you’re rich ain’t nothing to do but f**k and hang/ Eat good, spend money, cop trucks and chains/ Keep our ladies looking good while the touch the ring.

Q: OK, so what you are saying is, if you are in the position to get it, you may as well get it?
FJ: Exactly.

Q: So, is that what loyalty is all about?
FJ: When niggas get money the game is just so diluted. Talib Kweli, that’s just his angle of milking the market, acting as if they’re the pure form.

[one of the friskers hands Joe his cell.]

FJ: Who is it? Joe Bentley? Yo, yo! I wanna go out tonight.

[Another frisker looks at Joe’s last bite of food. Joe darts his eyes at the predator.]

FJ: Will you leave my shit alone?

[everyone talks about going out to b.e.d. or Opium for a while.]

FJ: That’s my man who got 17 Bentleys, his name is Joe Bentley.

Thanks Fat Joe.

Sven Barth, UM’s Skateboard Club President can be reached by big_sven@hotmail.com.
(Ed. note: Please Fat Joe, don’t hurt him).