photo: Fat Joe

Fat Joe wasn’t just leaning back since his last smash hit song over ten years ago. He’s been working hard to balance his musical career, other business endeavors, and being a father and husband.

“I’m touring all the time. I have such a catalog that, thank God I’m always somewhere in the world performing,” he says. But back home he’s helping to raise a family – two sons, Joey, 19, and Ryan, 16, and a 10-year-old girl named Azariah

“My son did a four year college program in two years. No one in my family ever graduated from college before. So I’m proud of that,” he says. “I’m a dance dad, too. I go to dance class with my daughter. Those are probably my greatest accomplishments.”

He’s also had quite the number of musical achievements to boast about over the course of his hip-hop career. The Bronx-bred rapper’s 2004 anthem “Lean Back” made history in hip hop by remaining on the top of the charts for more than 40 weeks.

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Fat Joe is now reminding fans — from those ridin’ with him since the days of Big Pun to the newly introduced — what a musical genius he is by the way he’s able to make a comeback not soon overshadowed by some of today’s biggest rap stars with his current hit, “All the Way Up.”

“It’s gotta be quality,” he says about releasing hits with longevity as opposed to back-to-back-to-back singles and albums.

“We wanted to make something that made the clubs go crazy. But at the same time had content, had lyrics, had real hip hop, 2016,” he explains. “How do you be around for so long in the game but then again sound brand new? It’s hard. I think we did it.”

While he’s got his formula down, Joe isn’t hatin’ on new styles and the successes that have been a direct result of the digital age we now live in.

“I’m cool with evolution. I’m cool with kids coming and going, new styles. I’m all about blacks and Latinos getting money,” he says. “Whether I think its whack lyrically or not, I’m just happy for somebody who ain’t robbing nobody, whose making money, and helping others pay their bills.”

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Fat Joe, whose real name is Joseph Antonio Cartagena, made a name for himself in 1990’s hip hop as CEO of Terror Squad Entertainment. It was through that label that he introduced the world to the late, great Big Pun, who passed away in 2000, but not before leaving the world of hip hop with classics like “It’s so Hard,” “You Ain’t a Killer,” and “I’m Not a Player,” to name a few. Another emcee Joe brought to the forefront of the rap game was the fearless lyricist Remy Ma

But the reception of the hit track was a bit of a surprise to Fat Joe. Not because he didn’t lay down his bars with confidence, but because of how it became an uplifting and inspiring song. He never thought he’d be an anthem in schools or a motivational workout song.

“I’m like a sponge I just absorb all the different musical vibes and then I just go in there and I got this treasure chest ready to explode and I let it out on the music,” he says about his personal motivational behind the feel-good song.  

And he ain’t done yet.

Next up, Fat Joe and Remy Ma will touch down on the Hot 97FM Summer Jam stage in June while they continue brewing up fiyyaa in the studio with some surprise guest appearances, which he didn’t divulge. Guess we’ll all have to wait for it. In the meantime, we’ll keep bopping our heads and shouting “I’m all the way up!”

But Joe’s got one last message about staying on the top of your game in life by helping others climb to the top.

“I’m president of MarketAmericaShop.com, the urban and Latino division, where we teach people to be entrepreneurs,” he says. “I’ve always been about giving back. So anytime I can give back and do well for myself at the same time, that’s great for me.”