Friday, March 23, 2007

Rappers Who Suck: Fat Joe

First off, Fat Joe hasn't always sucked. I can't go as far as to say that I ever thought he was that good, but in the beginning, he wasn't bad. Back in the mid-'90s, as a member of the crew D.I.T.C. (Diggin' In The Crates), he worked with the likes of O.C., Lord Finesse, the late Big L, remixes by DJ Premier; times were good, respect was deserved. He put Big Pun on, and was smart enough to play the background and let Pun become a star, famously holding an umbrella for Pun while he himself stood in rain in the "Still Not A Player" video. Of course, Pun passed in 2000, sadly but not surprisingly -- hey, things like that happen when you hit 700 pounds before you're 30.

[NOTE: The above picture is to scale.]

Is it any coincidence that Fat Joe didn't have a major hit single until 2001? Now, I'm not blaming Joe for upping his star power in the wake of Pun's death, nor am I even accusing him of such. There are spots in the hierarchy of popular rap music for lots of people to be famous, and it's short-sighted to say that Joe "took" Pun's spot after he died. All I'm saying is this: if Pun had the reasonable foresight to take better care of himself, Fat Joe wouldn't be half as "hot" as he thinks he is right now, and as a result of Pun's inability to do that, a monster has been unleashed. We miss you, Pun, but seriously -- you know you done fucked up, right?

Post-2000 "superstar" Fat Joe (not to be confused with his former respectable self) has made a career out of copying trends. If I'm just severely out of touch, and Fat Joe really is "what's hot" right now, then it's only because he systematically seeks out what's hot and attaches himself like a leech -- basically, every trend that Joe has ever "contributed" to would exist just as well without him. Cam'ron started wearing pink, and Joe followed suit. Nelly made a song about Air Force 1s, and then Joe is all on MTV Cribs showing off crates of white-on-white Nikes, trying to prove that he hasn't worn 'em yet by licking the bottoms. [Personally, I wasn't convinced. Maybe he stepped on french fry the day before?] Ja Rule and LL Cool J each thought it would be a good idea to lend their "singing" voices to a Jennifer Lopez song, and wouldn't you know, there was big, shy Joey, emerging out of the corner, unable to lift his eyes off of the floor, delicately raising his voice... "Hey guys, you think I could try that?" Sure, Joey, go ahead. Matter of fact, you can have it.

Today, one of the more popular trends amongst people with more money than they know what to do with is just throwing it in the air and letting it fall as it may. "Making it rain," as the kids say. And sure enough, who else would take it upon themselves to write a song about it? Like to hear it? Here it go!

It's not so much Fat Joe's lyrical abilities which factor into his suckiness, as he at least comes off as competent enough to not embarrass himself with his raps. It has more with what he says rather than how he says it, and he says nothing quite as often as he says "crack!", as in the lyric "Crack crack crack crack crack!" It would appear that either Fat Joe is in the same vein as Mike Jones as far as repeating shit, or he has Tourette's syndrome (although those two may be one in the same). Considering how often he repeats the word "crack", and calls himself "Joey Crack", and talks about cocaine, you might be led to believe that Joe is some drug lord... that is, until you find out that the nickname was earned based on a young, portly Joe's inability to get up in front of class without revealing his ass-cleavage (true story). Quite a blatant confusion of words there, and worse yet, it may very well set off a dangerous precedent, if it hasn't already. I mean, if we can't trust rappers, who can we trust? Even your friendly neighborhood rabbi might be up to something when he says he's going down the block to "get some coke".

Look past the smile and the bushy beard -- do you see a soul?