In case you couldn’t tell from his hard-knocking first single, “Slow Down (Ha Ha),” featuring Young Jeezy, Fat Joe is returning to his street basics on his upcoming album, The Dark Side.
According to Joe, the project, due June 29, is one of his toughest in a long time.
“This album, I just wanted to take it to the streets crazy,” Joe told VIBE. “When I go on tour I see a lot of my fans that are real loyal. They all kept telling me, ‘Yo, Joe we want you to come back to the hardcore.’ I tried to make them happy so I just took it all the way to the dark side. I’m just trying to give ’em that balance of that real street gritty Fat Joe—the gangsta early Fat Joe—but at the same time who also knows how to make hit records.”
Producers on the album—to be released under a new deal with E1 Music—include Scoop Deville (“Ha Ha”), DJ Premier, Just Blaze, Buckwild and Scram Jones. Also expect cameos from Lil Wayne, Trey Songz (who's on the second single) and R. Kelly.
And while Drake isn’t featured on the album, Fat Joe had a lot of praise for the Toronto newcomer whose anticipated debut, Thank Me Later, drops May 25. “I think he’s had it way easier [than rappers in the past], but do I also think he’s extremely talented and probably top three dopest rappers right now? Absolutely, and he deserves it,” said Joe. “I don’t see why he shouldn’t be on top. He makes great music. Every time he puts out a record, it impresses me and I love it.”
Joe added that Drake’s quick ascension is unparalleled and that folks should appreciate what he’s bringing to the game.
“He’s just moving at a way faster pace than other artists have in the past. He’s putting out maybe five, six, seven hit records. You know how hard it is for a person to have one hit?” said Joe. “So imagine what his album is like. We gotta big him up. He’s making the hottest music right now so we gotta support him and say we love Drake.”
Many have compared Drizzy's buzz to 50 Cent’s right before his classic debut, Get Rich or Die Tryin’. But Fat Joe, who’s had a longstanding friction with Fif, argued, not surprisingly, that Drake has better longevity.
“Two very different artists… As far as I’m concerned, [50 Cent] had one hot album, and his first album was a classic and that’s it,” said Joe. “After that everything else was bubble gummed down. So Drake, I think he will outlast 50 Cent.
“If you talk about 50 Cent on top really making hot music it didn’t even last two, three, four years,” Joe added. “Looking at the quality of the music that Drake is making and the different lanes—he wrote that song for Alicia Keys, ‘Unthinkable’—I think we ain’t seen nobody like him yet. I’m still not saying he’s the best in the game ’cause I gotta hear Kanye new album before I make those remarks, but he’s definitely very, very, very impressive.” —Clover Hope