Fat Joe, born August 19, 1970, turned from a life of crime to a commercially successful career in rap. After being introduced to the genre by his brother, he left the streets to start creating and producing music. The rapper got his big break when he happened to meet his rap idol, LL Cool J, by chance, and consequently worked with him on one of his singles. After that, the rapper began producing solo studio albums that were well-received by critics and fans of the genre alike. Help us celebrate the rapper’s birthday here today!
Fat Joe is an accomplished solo artist and producer well-known in the world of rap. Fat Joe, whose real name is Joseph Antonio Cartagena, was born on August 19, 1970, in the Bronx in New York City. He has Cuban and Puerto Rican heritage. He grew up in poverty and turned to a life of crime to support his family. However, once he was introduced to hip hop by his brother, he turned over a new leaf. In 1992, Cartagena joined the rap group D.I.T.C under the stage name Fat Joe da Gangsta and signed with Relativity Records. He released his debut album, “Represent,” in 1993. The album’s lead single, ‘Flow Joe,’ reached the top position on Billboard’s Hot Rap Singles chart.
In 1995, Cartagena met rapper LL Cool J at Chung King Studios and was invited to contribute to the song ‘I Shot Ya’ and appeared in the music video for the song. In 1998, he joined Atlantic Records and released his first album with them, entitled “Don Cartagena.” It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. The following year, he appeared on singer Jennifer Lopez’s single ‘Feelin’ So Good.’ His fourth studio album, “Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E.)” featured a litany of rap heavyweights including Ja Rule, Ludacris, and Busta Rhymes. He released his sixth studio album, “All Or Nothing,” in 2005. Like his fourth album, “All Or Nothing” included a star-studded group of musicians including Nelly and Eminem.
By 2008, Cartagena had moved to Imperial Records and released his eighth album, “The Elephant in the Room,” with them. The album he released the following year, entitled “J.O.S.E. 2,” once again featured big names in the rap world like Akon, Lil Wayne, T-Pain, and Lil’ Kim. Cartagena migrated to E1 Music in 2010. He released several albums over the following six years, two of which both reached #27 on Billboard charts. During this period, he also appeared on singles for other artists including DJ Khaled and Dre.
Cartagena joins the rap group D.I.T.C.
The rapper’s debut album, “Represented,” is released through Relativity Records.
Cartagena moves to Atlantic Records and releases the album “Don Cartagena” with the label.
The rapper signs with Imperial Records and releases his eighth studio album, “The Elephant in the Room” under the label.
Why We Love Fat Joe
He’s proud of Latino rap
Owing to his heritage, Cartagena is a Latino and proud of his culture. Cartagena has cited Latino rapper Big Pun as having had a huge influence on him. Speaking about Latino musicians’ contributions to rap, he said, “[They] had the opportunity to do it, [they] just didn’t know how to do it… we’re trying to kick in the doors for other Latinos and represent our people.”
He cares about his community
Cartagena donated computers to students at the high school he attended in the Bronx. He also appeared at an event to promote Michelle Obama’s campaign directed at fighting childhood obesity called Let’s Move!
He supports the L.G.B.T.Q. community
Cartagena has said that while he identifies as straight, he believes people should not have to hide their sexuality. He has said that it’s likely he’s worked with gay people but it doesn’t bother him.
5 Surprising Facts
Working with LL Cool J
Cartagena considers the work he did with the famous rapper to be one of the highlights of his career.
He’s feuded with 50 Cent
The rappers’ “beef” began when Cartagena released a “diss track” aimed at 50 Cent called ‘My Fofo’ after 50 Cent criticized him for working with Ja Rule.
He has a rap group
His rap group, Terror Squad, included rapper Remy Ma who had been discovered by Big Pun.
He’s lost nearly 90 pounds
The rapper revealed that he follows a low-carb diet to stay healthy.
He witnessed a homicide
The rapper was sitting in a rented Cadillac Escalade with two other men who were murdered on Memorial Day.
Fat Joe FAQs
Does Fat Joe have children?
Cartagena has three children with his wife, Lorena.
Has Fat Joe retired?
The rapper has said he will never stop rapping.
Has Fat Joe won a Grammy award?
No, but he has been nominated for four Best Rap awards.
Fat Joe’s birthday dates