Hours after the premiere of his brand new single "Attention," Fat Joe stopped by the Breakfast Club to discuss the record, its concept ("Social media runs the world in 2018") and, because he's one of hip-hop's greatest storytellers, a stream of standout tales and quotes. From his bouts with depression following the death of Big Pun to that one time he kidnapped a DJ, Joey Crack speaks on it all. Watch it below.
On bouts with depression:
That was when my sister died, my grandfather died, and Big Pun died the same week. So it was like three in a row. Some people when you deal with death, you can escape somewhere and hide, with me it was Big Pun and we was the Twinz, so people, out of love, kept reminding me 100 times. I'm in a restaurant and the waiter is like, "I'm sorry about your brother." I'm in a car at a light and I hear, "Yo, sorry about Pun." I got to Miami so I could escape [and it was the same]. I was in a real big depression and I got real big and fat. I never used to drink before, but then I started drinking. I seen a psychiatrist for two years straight, and she just kept teaching me about myself. We was doing the Big Pun mural and two dudes walked by, and one dude was like "Yo they doing a Big Pun wall," and the other dude was like "Word, they do it all the time. You know it's been two years since he died." Then I heard "two years, two years" and that's when I snapped out of it. It was two years, I had to wake up… I was really going through it. Now it prepares me for everything. The minute I feel any way, I know to just know to be like, "Oh no, you not playing that game."
On feeling underrated:
"I always say that I'm the most underrated rapper in history. When you look at Fat Joe with his crossover No. 1 hits, I've had so many top ten, top five hits in America. So, I'm just underrated and the fact that I could still do this [says something]."
On playing the role as OG for rap's new generation:
"The whole podcast I did with him, I was telling him what was to come. He lost the headphone deal, he lost this. I told him what happened to me. I was Tekashi 69 when I first came in the game. I was 50 Cent when I first came in the game. [By that, I mean] people were scared to deal with me, even though they wanted to give me money."
On JAY-Z being the greatest of all time:
"A lot of our rappers that we really looked up to and thought was the greatest, they fell off over time. And he's still able to put out a hit in 2018, 2017 — that's hard to do. History shows us that the greatest, the guys who spit the greatest albums in the world, fell off over time. I like to be in that group of guys who's older that could still spit and still put together a hit record. So it's a blessing."
On the time he kidnapped a DJ:
"One time I kidnapped a DJ because he wasn't playing my record. So, when I was young, I got in the game, and felt like I had to change my life, I felt like this was my only way out — there was a number one DJ who wouldn't play my music. I came at him 10, 20 times like, "Yo play my song." Meanwhile, "Flow Joe" is like number one in the country and the guy ain't playing my music. So, we threw him in the van and we just scared him. This is a living legend I'm talking about, this ain't no regular. So I get a phone call afterwards and its from Showbiz from D.I.T.C. Showbiz is probably the realest guy I met in hip-hop for real, forget about rap. He says, "Yo come to my house." Now this is my brother, he screams, "Yo, I'm tired of these — how you gonna do this? You know this is our man…" I look in the living room and the DJ is sitting on the couch [Laughs]. He goes, "What's wrong with you! You trying to change your life!" So I got a lyrical spanking. [Now] me and that DJ are the greatest of friends."
On upcoming film "Night School:"
"Bobby is guy with a big beard. Bobby is in jail taking classes in night school. I'm on Skype, but it's real jail so shit is going on while I'm trying to learn in school. It's hilarious man, I learned a lot."