Fat Joe Explains Why KRS-One Is Still #1 To Him (Video)

Fat Joe is one of Hip-Hop’s most recognizable stars. A member of both Terror Squad and Diggin’ In The Crates, the veteran has taken his dynamic brand of Hip-Hop across the world. Throughout the 2000s, he has been one of the biggest representatives from the Bronx borough.

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Appearing in Mass Appeal’s Open Space series, Joe explains his love affair with Hip-Hop beginning outside his childhood window. “In the Bronx I was a little kid, four five years old, as a little kid, my big brother used to be a crate-boy for Grandmaster Flash… I lived in the projects. We had a telephone booth in front of the building, so the older guys broke the sign that said ‘telephone,’ and somehow in there, instead of the light being on, there was a light-switch, so they would plug in their boom box. So I would listen to Mr. Magic Magic Super Rap Attack I’d be in the window, my moms be like, ‘Go to sleep,’ and I’m listening, ‘Yo what’s up I wanna say whats up to Toya and all the fly girls out there with the bangle earrings.’ He [and Marley Marl] would play all the newest sh*t. And they would go from there to the Awesome Two. It was crazy man. I definitely knew I grew up in the birthplace, and we take a very big sense of pride in that.”

The Grammy-nominated MC then reveals that his musical idol also helped make the BX internationally known. “KRS-One is my idol. He’s the first artist that I ever hopped a train, and played his record on my Walkman and he was like [quoting Boogie Down Productions’ ‘I’m Still #1’] ‘Airplanes flyin’, overseas people dyin’  / Politicians lyin’, I’m tryin’  / Not to escape, but hit the problem head-on And when I heard that it sparked something in my mind, where I was just like, wow, and I rewinded that maybe 20-30 times because I had never heard someone rap like that. And even though he had the Uzi on the [By All Means Necessary] cover, the consciousness was in the music.”

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Around 1993, when Joe was trying to building a Rap career, his idol helped him in a big way. “I remember I told, KRS one time, I was like, ‘Yo man, I ain’t doing too good, I don’t really got no bread.’ He said, ‘Alright. You gon’ come on tour with me, you gon’ be my hype-man.’ So imagine being able to do this with your idol, then making music with my idol, it was like forget about it.” KRS-One led off Joe’s 1995 sophomore, Jealous Ones Envy via the track “Bronx Tale.” He appeared on Kris’ eponymous LP with “De Automatic.” They would work several additional times during the 2000s, on releases by each.

Joe promoted Represent while helping Kris on his Return Of The Boom Bap tour. “It was like crack, smoking crack. This is the guy you idolize, you aspire to be, and he let you hype him up on stage. Then I get to do ‘Flow Joe’ [during the concerts]. He was everything.”