Fat Joe Talks Sampling Music, Hosting BET Hip-Hop Awards, Staying Relevant and More.

Fat Joe has 10 studio albums to his name being in the music industry for 30 years continues to be apart of today’s conversations. Releasing classics from “Lean Back”, “Make It Rain” and more. Just celebrated the anniversary of his debut album “Represent” Joe tells EBONY “Everything that I went through good or bad made me who I am today“.

Everything that I went through good or bad made me who I am today.”

Fat Joe

Fat Joe shares his excitement to host the BET Hip-Hop Awards for the second year in a row. “My whole family comes, my wife, my daughter. We’re so proud to host the BET Hip-Hop Awards that we’re doing it now on the 50th anniversary where we celebrate the DJ’s and Producers!” he tells EBONY.

Azariah Cartagena, Fat Joe and Lorena Cartagena. Image: Marcus Ingram for Getty Images

EBONY: Let’s talk relevancy. What’s some things that helped you stay relevant within the culture and some advice you would tell new rappers today?

Fat Joe: I was having this conversation with my stylist Terrell yesterday who’s also my brother. I said, “you know last year, I thought we were really fly with the fashion right and this year, we even flyer.” I told him you know this is like the looks that we’re known for but on another level. He was like, explaining it to me. Yo Joe, you gotta stay true to who you are we can’t jump on every fad. Anything that’s hot with fashion. People are looking for you for a certain look and so that’s how you stay relevant. You stay true to you. Stay relevant with the times you work hard, because none of this is easy. You know I work hard and eventually you’ll get your blessings. So you got to be true to you.

Let’s talk about samples. What’s your take on the amount of artists sampling music recently?  

Well, there’s nothing wrong with sampling and that’s how hip-hop was created. The only problem is we get to different periods in time where it might be getting oversaturated with the samples that we know. So then that allows the process for new creativity to arise so if you’re asking me this question, it seems like it’s about that time. So now they’re going to have to make original beats and original hooks because people are off that already. So you know, and then in a couple of years, they’ll come back with it again and sample The O’Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, some Fat Joe and it will get lit again. That’s just the way hip-hop is.

Has anyone tried to sample a Fat Joe record that you passed on? 

No, I wouldn’t be true to my whole career, I sampled. Hip-hop music is mostly samples, the samples, you know, right. So say I’ve used anything from Marvin Gaye to Luther Vandross, and then there’s samples of people you never even heard of. So, I can’t tell any artists, you can’t sample Fat Joe and I made a living off sampling other artists.

Who is the genius behind the campaign of personally delivering  your TS Air Force One sneakers? 

Well, let’s me “the mailman delivers.” So I can’t sit back. Right. So the way it happened was Virgil Abloh may he rest in peace, contacted me and said, “Joe, I know what you mean to the culture you’re a sneaker collector, I want to make the TS Air Force One.” I was blown away. So we started these discussions with Nike. He died, maybe a week later. Nike hit me back up and said, “Yo, it was already in motion let’s keep going.” Now I can’t put out a sneaker and sit at home and just leave it to chance. I have to hustle, I have to work.

Drake sent you some socks from Stake after you mentioned him on Instagram Live. Have you spoken to Drake since then? If he will send you anything else? 

Well, I actually went to the Drake concert two days ago in Miami and I bought him all three sneakers. Okay, so he has them and to be fair, his partners at stake definitely gifted me something from my birthday. That we rather keep private but it wasn’t just socks.

Been in the game for 30 years, what has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned while being in the industry? 

I was really focused on being the best artist and I wasn’t the greatest when I first started. So everything to me was a work in progress and it was practice makes perfect. So I just kept getting better and better. At the same time, I wanted to be the flyest guy in the club and be the realist guy with an entourage of 50 guys doing all that. So the advice I would’ve given myself would be, I wish I would have smarten up about business and my surroundings, way before I actually did so now my circle is small. I invest in so many different businesses. I’m a real businessman right now. I wish I would’ve done that 15 years ago, where I’m moving now. That’s the only advice other than that everything that I went through good or bad made me who I am today. 


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Updated: October 10, 2023 — 9:02 pm