HistoryAfter Joe's rap protege, the similarly large, Puerto Rican, Bronx-based rapper, Big Pun, broke into the mainstream with his duet with the O'Jays, "I'm Not a Player" and its more popular remix, "Still Not a Player", featuring R&B singer Joe, Fat Joe began to follow suit. His 1998 single, "Bet Ya Man Can't", which featured Big Pun as well as other members of their Terror Squad clique, such as Cuban Link and Triple Seis, was a small hit. Shortly before Big Pun's death, Pun and Joe had a hit with Jennifer Lopez on a track from her first album, On the 6, called "Feelin' So Good".
With 2001's release of J.O.S.E. (Jealous Ones Still Envy), Joe scored two back-to-back hits with "We Thuggin'", which featured R&B superstar R. Kelly singing the chorus and "What's Luv", which featured up-and-coming R&B/pop star Ashanti on its chorus, and went on to become one of 2002's biggest pop hits.
In late 2002, Joe released the album Loyalty and had a couple of minor hits with "Crush Tonite" (featuring Ginuwine) and "All I Need". The rapper has appeared in several films, including the 2002 film Empire with John Leguizamo and Peter Sarsgaard.
Fat Joe is also a member of Terror Squad, which released their first, self-titled, album on September 21, 1999. After several roster changes (including original members Triple Seis's departure and Cuban Link's expulsion), the clique released a second album, True Story, in July 2004, with the summer hit "Lean Back", later remixed by Lil' Jon, with a new verse from Fat Joe, and featuring Eminem, Ma, and Lil Jon.
In September 2004, a former bodyguard for Fat Joe was arrested and charged with a 1994 murder which the rapper had allegedly witnessed. According to the New York Times, Jose Mulero, thirty-eight, was charged with murder, tampering with evidence, and weapons charges, after being accused of shooting Ernesto Rivera, sixteen, on April 15, 1994. Fat Joe was investigated for ties to the shooting, but eventually cooperated with the authorities, which alienated many of his fans who believed that Joe had become a police informant.
In late 2004, Fat Joe scored another radio hit with his verse on Ja Rule's "New York", also featuring Jadakiss and a hook taken from KRS-One's "100 Guns". This, however, led to awkwardness after 50 Cent decided that all emcees who collaborated with his nemesis, Ja Rule, were setting themselves against him.
Fat Joe's new solo album, All or Nothing, originally scheduled to be released in Spring 2005, was pushed back several times (supposedly due to sample clearances, though also perhaps by Interscope executives interested in not having Joe's album compete with 50 Cent's release), but was released in July 2005. The first single, "So Much More", was released to radio and video rotation. The video features appearances by DJ Kay Slay, who has also called himself the "black Fat Joe". The video's second half also includes a portion of the song "The Incredible", also from All or Nothing. The second single, "Get It Poppin'", features Nelly of the St. Lunatics, and is also in radio and video rotation (it was the theme song for WWE 2005 SummerSlam).
Conflict with 50 Cent50 Cent attacked Fat Joe in his 2005 song "Piggy Bank", from The Massacre, by dissing him by saying "that fat nigga thought lean back was in the club my shit sold a 11 mil, his shit was a dud" because of Joe's ties with 50's rival, Ja Rule (specifically, his collaboration on the song "New York" from Ja Rule's R.U.L.E. album). (Ironically, 50's mentor Eminem performed on a remix of "Lean Back.") While the song took aim at Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Nas, Kelis, Shyne and Ja Rule, it was generally regarded as a hot track.
Fat Joe went on record as being confused by 50's antagonism towards him, but also stated that he wouldn't stand by idly while being slandered; he also suggested that he and 50 Cent meet in New York and have a fistfight. Most interestingly, he attacked 50's street credibility, claiming that Curtis Jackson had never appeared "in the club", juxtaposed with Fat Joe's well-known record of live performances, and offered one thousand dollars to anybody who would come forward with a picture of 50 Cent in a nightclub. No attempts have been publicly made towards taking the $1,000 prize. Within days of "Piggy Bank" leaking, a response from Fat Joe had appeared online, a song with the hook being sung to the tune of The Flintstones's theme song. Original reports were confused as to the title of the track (mp3 versions were variously titled "Fake Gangsta", "Fuck 50", and simply "Fat Joe 50 Dis track"). It was finally officially released as "My Fofo" (referring to a .44 Magnum) on the album All or Nothing, along with the "Lean Back" remix featuring Eminem.
Fat Joe has stated that, after releasing this one song, he will have finished discussing the issue of 50 Cent's disagreement with him, and has yet to bring up the topic again.