Everyone’s talking about Fat Joe’s latest release, Elephant In The Room, but no one seems to have truly figured it out yet. See, Elephant is much more than an album, it’s an application for the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame; of which I am a voting member. Or at least I would be if the Hall of Fame were real – unbelievably no one’s actually put it together – so for the time being it will have to exist solely in my imagination. Point is, Joe is undoubtedly reaching the point in his career when he’s …
DJBooth Album Review
Name: Joseph Antionio Cartenega
Alias: Fat Joe, Joey Crack, Coca, Crills Mania, etc..
Birthplace: The Bronx
Loves: Big Pun, white sneakers, quesadillas.
Hates: Vitamin Water, half-dollars, people who have been shot in the face.
Latest Accomplishment: Inventing “making it rain.”
Please briefly explain why you should be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
"Joey Crack! One word, versatility. Just listen to my album Elephant In The Room and you’ll hear the Don rhyme in nearly every style imaginable, from East Coast underground to Southern gangster to commercial, and Crills killed each and every one. Who else has that kind of range? Only Coca baby!"
First and foremost, the Committee wants to commend Fat Joe for his move from a major label to an independent. He’s right, f**k the majors. That being said, we’ve decided his claim of MC “versatility” has merit and we’ve evaluated it accordingly.
Now this Committee is on record as embracing southern rap, but only when it’s done well. Sadly that’s not the case on Elephant In The Room, starting with the Cool and Dre produced joint You Ain’t Saying Nothin.’ This committee could not agree more with the title; the production sounds like a T.I. rip-off and Joe runs through two verses full of nothin’. Furthermore, the Committee does not look kindly on tracks in which it is forced to listen to DJ Khaled babble on the track, and so despite a noteworthy flow from Joe, we cannot in good conscience endorse Get It For Life. On the other hand is Crackhouse. You can never go wrong with a Weezy chorus and Joey’s flow is sicker than the ebola virus. Inspiring rappers take note; Crackhouse is the kind of track that will earn a spot in the Hall of Fame.
The Committee was particularly impressed by the decided turn towards east coast lyricism Fat Joe takes towards the end of the album. That White recruits the legendary DJ Premier for some typically developed production work, and Joe’s flow is appropriately raw. Even more remarkable is My Conscience, an absolutely epic track featuring Joe’s considerable mic skills going head to head with KRS-One. From social commentary to the joyfully obscene, My Conscience is proof that Joe can rap on par with Hall of Fame MCs when given the proper motivation.
Everyone here recognizes that even a rapper has to pay the bills, especially after making it rain, and commercial hits are absolutely mandatory. Elephant In The Room offers two primarily radio-friends offerings, starting with Drop, a track featuring the same bouncing production Swizz Beatz has been using for over a year now. We expected better. If Elephant is going to see some major radio play (which it has) it’s going to be on I Won’t Tell, a linen-fresh jam featuring the always smooth J. Holiday. After all, it’s all about the ladies, and the ladies love I Won’t Tell. Well done.
After much thought, and no small amount of controversy, the Committee has decided to accept Fat Joe into the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame. While Joe has never produced a truly classic album, Elephant In The Room proves that his contributions to the game have been significant and long-lasting. Furthermore, the Committee wants to recognize Fat Joe as the biggest Latino rapper of all time, a title he rightly wears with pride. Congratulations Joey, you should feel honored.
DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 03/12/08
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