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Joseph Antonio Cartagena, otherwise known by his stage name Fat Joe, is a hard-hitting, hip-hop rapper from the Bronx, New York US.
Born on August 19, 1970, Fat Joe released a number of recordings which have lead to the explicit rapper attaining great success. He was raised by parents of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent, and was influenced by the Latino lyricist Big Pun in his early life; Fat Joe claimed he respected Big Pun for aiming to “represent our people”.
Between the years of 1992-1995, Joseph Cartagena performed under the show-name Fat Joe da Gangsta whilst being part of the Diggin’ in the Crates (D.I.T.C) rap collective. He released the debut album ‘Represent’ in 1993, which included the single ‘Flow Joe’; it gained Joe widespread recognition and forced people to start noticing his talents after it peaked at number one the Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart.
In 1998, Fat Joe released the album ‘Don Cartagena’ – featuring the likes of Nas, Diddy, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and his own group Terror Squad – on Atlantic Records. It peaked at number two on the US R&B chart, and signaled the begging of prolonged success for the east-coast rapper.
In 2001, Fat Joe released ‘Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E)’ – a production from Irv Gotti – which featured Busta Rhymes, Ludacris and R. Kelly. It included the hip-hop, club-classic single ‘What’s Luv’ featuring Ja Rule and Ashanti, which peaked at number four in the UK, at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and featured in the 2002 movie Juwanna Mann; the single has since sold over 4,500,000 copies. Fat Joe also featured heavily with Remy for Terror Squad’s single ‘Lean Back’ in 2004, which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks, topped the R&B charts for over a month and won the Single of the Year award at The Source Hip-Hop Music Awards.
Fat Joe is comparable to Mase, Redman and Indo G, whilst the Puerto Rican enthusiast is commended for his charitable work, having visited his old school and donated new computers for students, whilst also speaking at a School is Cool assembly in Public School 5 in New Jersey US in 2009. He has performed at prestigious settings such as The Black Music Festival and BET Hip-Hop Awards 2012, and continues to demand respect from the hip-hop scene and beyond for a career decorated with credible accolades.