Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E.) (2001)
Like I said, once Pun died, I had to step it up. But I have to keep it real. I did a lot of praying while I was recording this album. There were many nights in my house like, “Oh God, please give me the strength to show these people that I’m not a fluke.” I brought Pun in the game. Before this album, all I ever wanted to do was be the underground king. I was the backpack, SOB’s, Diggin’ In The Crates guy. All my shows had 2000 niggas and no girls [laughs],but after Pun’s success, he had all the chicks all coming to his shows. He was making big money, so I said, “Yo, I have to pick it up from here and make some hit records.”
R. Kelly stepped to me and was like, “I love you, man…I want to work with you.” That’s how we came up with “We Thuggin’.” And then Irv Gotti called me up in the middle of the night and tells me to come to his studio. He plays me “What’s Luv?” with the hook and everything and all I had to do was rap on it. That was the best Christmas present I ever had in my life! But most of the album was hardcore Fat Joe; there were only two songs that you would call highly commercial. Biggie really opened that lane up for us. It’s the same way Kanye [West] opened the lane for Drake, Kid Cudi and all these guys, Biggie opened up the door for you to be a gangsta rapper and become commercially successful. I was fortunate that Jealous Ones Still Envy went platinum.