Throwback Thursdays Vol 18

Who thinks Fat Joe is wack? Think again.

It is understandable to form this opinion for any artist who you have to overlook their past six efforts to see the diamond in the rough. Unfortunately Joe is within this category, an exemplified instance of ‘selling out’ via the popular medium of ‘ringtone rap’. However under the alias ‘Fat Joe da Gangsta’, Joe wasn’t always like this…

Step back 17 years to 1993. In an industry saturated by West Coast dominance and the emergence of East Coat counterparts the Wu Tang Clan, Joe’s debut Represent hit the streets relatively unnoticed. It wasn’t until Fat Joe’s sophomore Jealous One’s Envy appeared two years later before people started taking real notice of the very noticeable MC from the Bronx.

Fellow D.I.T.C member Diamond D essentially solely produced Joe’s debut but Jealous One’s Envy further increased Joe’s profile by recruiting industry A-listers such as Raekwon, KRS One and the renowned DJ Premier. Fat Joe’s final noteworthy contribution then surfaced in the form of Don Cartegena in 1998, although in many Heads’ view another classic, the LP saw an advancement in features and heralded the first warning signs that Joe was struggling to hold his own on a full length LP.

Skipping back to 1993 again and this week’s throwback is Fat Joe’s first single from Represent. Flow Joe, produced by Diamond D, sees a hungry young MC take to the mic in strictly underground form. Diamond puts on a dramatic, progressive outlay combined with a simple drum loop whilst Joe drops his ‘pre-pun’ style to eerie effect (after Pun started ghost-writing for Joe, not only did Joe use Pun’s rhymes, but he also tried to swag his style too).

There is no doubt in my mind that Joe used to write his own rhymes. After all, who would write for an unproven MC? Although 90’s Joe was something to be cherished it was inevitable that, unlike perhaps his stronger East Coast competitors, he would run out of material leading to his attempts to move to where he finds himself today.

On the strength of Indi’s drop this week, I eagerly await to see what Fat Joe has in store for his hardcore faithful in 2010…

Fat Joe – Flow Joe

Murray’s BDK Rating:ger

Up Next Week…

Described amongst critics as “Era defining”, next week’s throwback looks at another 1993 album which set the tone for greats such as Notorious B.I.G and Noreaga.

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