Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, USA
Birth Name: Jose Antonio Cartageno
Fat Joe grew up in a traditional Latino family- a strong, but silent father and a caring mother. Despite having both parents in the household, love and affection were absent. So as a shorty growing up in the South Bronx, Joey followed in the footsteps of his older brother Angel, from whom he learned to rhyme, amongst other things. I wanted to do everything that Angel did- rhyme, fight, and hustle. More importantly, Angel planted the seeds of Hip Hop in young Joey's heart.My brother would come back from the Zulu Nation parties and bring back tapes. I would hear everything- Theodore, Funky 4 + 1, and the Furious Five. Thus began the growth of this hardcore New York MC, who eventually emerged as the music industry's first notable Puerto Rican rapper.Fat Joe's first album Represent, released by Relativity in 1993, was supported by Diamond D's classic production. The album was embraced by Hip Hop's hardest fans everywhere and the infamous single ;Flow Joe; reached the #1 spot on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart. Two years later, Fat Joe's quest was to be respected for his lyrical skills. In 1995, Jealous One's Envy, bogarded the sophomore album jinx and bum rushed the entire industry with underground classics like ;The Shit is Real, ;Dedication, and ;Bronx Tales, which featured living legend, KRS One. Jealous One's Envy featured a new assemblage of producers such as DJ Premier, LES and Domingo. In addition to a noteworthy second album, illustrating Fat Joe's growth as an artist, he also appeared on LL Cool J's platinum hit, ;I Shot Ya, alongside Foxy Brown and Keith Murray and kept even more underground love coming with Wu Tang's Raekwon the Chef on ;Firewater, which also introduced Armageddon and Big Punisher, some of Fat Joe's growing Terror Squad (TS) family. While a young Joe was gearing up for the rap game, he was also learning the art of entrepreneurism through his father, who would take Joey with him to sell baked goods at Orchard Beach. Fit to succeed, Fat Joe was taught two lessons at once- Hip Hop and business- elements that would serve one purpose later on in his life. Since releasing his first album, Joe went legit and put his money where his mouth was by starting a number of local businesses in the same community he once terrorized. The idea was to ;provide a positive presence in the community, according to Fat Joe. He opened a clothing store ;Fat Joe's Halftime, a barber shop, and he recently launched a fashion line, FJ560. From community businesses to the music industry, Fat Joe has had his sights set on the next level. Upon his departure from Relativity, Fat Joe and partner, Big Greg inked a production and distriubtion deal with Atlantic Records, forming the Mystic Entertainment label imprint. When Fat Joe declared ;I'm trying to retire and play golf with Russell Simmons, on ;Fat Joe's In Town; off Jealous One's Envy, he meant it. With Don Cartagena Fat Joe's formula for success is in place.
Fat Joe's growth as an artist is reflected by the assembled artists and producers that appear on Don Cartagena. With lots of love come blessings, and with blessings come protection. Blessed by his peoples in entertainment, his family, and the people in the streets, Fat Joe is surrounded and protected by a legion of friends and loved ones. Men who move with that much reverence, power, and respect deserve the title of Don. This summer, prepare to welcome Don Cartagena.If I ever make a hundered million, I'll still walk these streets freely; this is what I love man. More importantly, this is reality. Spoken like a true man of the people.