Fat Joe was born on August 19, 1970 by the name Joseph Cartagena. He was raised in the South Bronx area of New York and heavily influenced by the Zulu Nation culture as a youth. His brother, Angel, would bring home tapes of the music played at those events, and the original sounds piqued the interest of young Joe. From discovering rap, he also learned the ways of living on the street through his brother.
As he got older, he became involved in hip-hop culture, taking a liking to not only rap, but graffiti art and breakdancing as well. Along with that, he was heavily involved in the drug trade and from there, he got his nickname, Joey Crack. Before delving deeper into the drug trading world, he returned to his younger roots and discovered in time that his true love was music.
Joe kicked start his music career by forming his own record label and signed his fellow indie artists on it. Under the moniker Fat Joe da Gangsta, he dropped a debut album "Represent" in 1993 and followed it up with another one "Jealous One's Envy" two years later. In the second effort, he dropped da Gangsta from his moniker and officially used only Fat Joe. The album peaked at No. 71 on Billboard Hot 200 and he was quickly embraced by rap community by receiving a major deal from Atlantic Records.
Three years after the arrival of his sophomore set, Joe stormed the U.S. albums chart with his third set "Don Cartagne" which climbed to No. 7 on the list and soared to the runner-up position on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. As his career went to a higher level, he was repeatedly slapped with controversies and harsh criticisms. One was being accused of neglecting the members of his own group Terror Squad.
In 2001, he dropped a sequel to his claim-fame album, "Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E.)" in the hopes to follow the success of its predecessor. He teamed up with R. Kelly, Busta Rhymes, Ashanti, Ja Rule, Xzibit and Ludacris. Indeed, he soared higher than the 1993 effort by reaching at No. 21 but he couldn't surpass the impressive chart performance of "Don Cartagne".
His next album "Loyalty" which was released the next year even charted lower. Although lining up the likes of Mashonda, Lil Jon, Nelly, Eminem and Jennifer Lopez, it could only peak at No. 31 on the country's albums chart. After being absent from the chart for a few years, Joe was back in 2005 with his record "All or Nothing" which rose to No. 6 on Hot 200. During this period of time, he was attacked by fellow rapper 50 Cent and he fought back.
Still embroiled in a beef with Fiddy, Joe released "Me, Myself and I" in 2006 as a follow-up to the chart-busting album. Unfortunately, it only peaked at No. 14 although boasting promising collaborations with Lil Wayne and The Game. In 2008, he returned to the Top 10, at no. 6 to be exact, with "The Elephant in the Room" featuring Rick Ross, KRS-One, J. Holiday, Dr. Dre and Plies. Shortly after the album was released, his nemesis Fiddy dissed him by posting a fake funeral of him and vowing to outsell his record.
A year later, Joe brought forward "Jealous Ones Still Envy 2 (J.O.S.E. 2)". After several pushbacks, it finally made its way out in October 2009. "50 is sick that my album is so hot. That real music! Not that wack stuff him and his clowns are making," he wrote on Twitter. Unfortunately, the so-called "hot record" became his most failed album since breaking into mainstream music. It could only sell around 8,000 copies and he blamed it on the lack of promotion.
The failure of "J.O.S.E. 2" didn't make him step back. In fact, the father of two sons pushed another album release in 2010. Young Jeezy, Trey Songz, Cam'ron, Clipse, Rico Love and Weezy were lined up to "The Darkside Vol.1". It was released in United States on July 27.