October 2003
Scary Movie 3 : An Interview with Fat Joe

Interviewed by Damani Varnado

Scary Movie 3 : An Interview with Fat Joe

“If you can’t beat them, then join them”. That’s a phrase that rappers seem to be echoing nowadays. With Will Smith and LL Cool J already megastars in the Hollywood industry, and Queen Latifah joining the posse last year with her Oscar nomination for “Chicago” and runaway hit “Bringing Down the House”, it seems that the acting bug has caught many rappers as of late. Eminem, in his first shot at acting, hit a home run with “8 Mile”, and now comes Fat Joe. Platinum selling rapper Fat Joe has been in some films with appearances in “Empire” and “Thicker Than Water”, but now he’s in a film that will give him more exposure than he’s had in his previous films as he’s featured in “Scary Movie 3, coming out on Oct.24. In an interview with blackfilm.com, I spoke to him about his role in the film as well as his career in general.

DV: We’re you a fan of the Scary Movie series?

FJ: Oh yeah I loved these movies. I didn’t have to think twice about being a part of this project because usually I would be the one sitting in the audience laughing at all this strange ass stupid shit. This time I wanted to be able to sit back and watch myself in the movie. I figured that would be “phat”, because usually I wait for the movie to come out on DVD but this one I had to do.

DV: Who approached you about this project?

FJ: The producers just contacted me and it was just go from there.

DV: Did they tell you what part you would be playing?

FJ: At first, I didn’t care. As long as my ass is up in there, it’s all good. I kind of figured they might have me rap, because that’s what I do. (Laughs) But for real, they just told me that I would be part of a rap battle. So I prepared mad rhymes to win.

DV: Did you ever or do you still have rap battles?

FJ: Well, now all battles can be heard on my albums. But before all that I would always be writing rhymes in my mother’s kitchen. And then me and my friends would challenge each other. That’s what made me sharp as a lyricist. Knowing how to communicate is key, no matter what it is about. Learning how to communicate directly got me out of a lot of situations that could have easily gone the other way.

DV: Where did you shot this?

FJ: The producers wanted it out in Vancouver, so we got out on bus and headed out.

DV: You got on a bus!

FJ: I have a bus for tours and what not, I don’t like to fly so we headed up to Vancouver.

DV: From where?

FJ: From New York where else. It was mad far. It took like three days.

DV: In the beginning when you were working, did you ever think that you would ever become so big with movies and music?

FJ: I knew I would try. Did I know, nobody really knows what’s going happen. Nobody knows their future. You know what I’m saying? There is some funny shit that happens. But I know that I would try. I knew since I was little that I wanted to be a star. I took ever opportunity I could to work. You could never turn down something that’s offered to you if it’s positive. Just coming straight out of the Bronx, I never taught I would be anything other then gangster rap.

DV: Do you speak Spanish?

FJ: Honestly no. I can speak ghetto style Spanish. I can speak enough so that the both of us can have an understanding. (Laughs)

DV: Are you interested in becoming involved in the production side of movies like getting more of your people on the screen?

FJ: I want to eventually write a movie and put it out ourselves. It would be a gangster flick straight out of the Bronx; something Puerto Rican because we are hardly seen in the movies. I do feel like it’s up to me because I always break trends and take things to a different level for Latin’s in general.

DV: When you got the movie bug in you? Was it when you did “THICKER THAN WATER”?

FJ: That was my movie. I loved that movie. But no, I’ve always had a knack for storytelling. And I’ve been so much in my life where I know I could write a dope movie cause I see a lot of movies and I come back to the same conclusion. I know I can write a hotter movie then that. So that will come eventually. I think I need more time. I’m still involved with my music career. You know just being creative on the music side.

DV: Do you feel torn now on how to focus your career?

FJ: Definitely rapping for sure. With acting it’s a job. You know it’s fun. I’m actually doing what someone else created. It’s someone’s else vision.

DV: How is the clothing line coming?

FJ: We stopped doing the clothing line because we had a dumb contract. Everybody makes mistakes in their life. We had a contract with some dudes who really didn’t see our visions. So they weren’t really trying to promote it or market the line the way we wanted it, so we had to chill.

DV: What’s your process for collaborating with other artists? Do you record before or do you listen to the tracks first?

FJ: I always allow the beat to talk to me. Before I use to write in my mom’s kitchen, any old beat would do, but now it’s different. Actually for the most part the beat just speaks to me. It’s like it tells me what’s right for it. It’s a whole different world for me when that beat plays. I can listen to a hundred beats and there’s like 99 I would write to, but there is that one that will just speak to me. I can see the video and everything.

DV: How do you accept beats?

FJ: I like to work with guys I’ve been working with but at the same time there’s always room for new producers. Because I feel like the Neptunes and Timberland are super talented. They started out from somewhere, so you have to listen to all producers. I think at the end of the day your regular hip-hop lover isn’t paying attention to who produces the beats. That’s why I listen to all producers.

DV: Are you all about loyalty?

FJ: I’m loyal to my fans, my family and friends that’s everything that I stand for.

DV: How do you escape the identity of masculinity and ego getting ahead of the work.

FJ: First of all, your ego men want to conquer. If you look back to the beginning of time men have always been full of ego. This game has just been flooded with all that. One of the things that is so dope about Fat Joe is that he never forget where he comes from. And you bump into some many fake people in this business. When you come into someone who you really appreciate it, you can read it. I’m not a part of that phoniness. One day, I just came back from vacation and I was sitting up in my hotel room, and I was just thinking to myself who are the egotistical people in the industry and how do they get into that circle. Then I was like Fat Joe don’t fit into none of that. You know it’s crazy. It’s like I’m an outcast. But God still blesses me to keep working with everybody. I think that when artists want to get down to earth they call Fat Joe.

DV: What about other Latinos in the business?

FJ: Yes, I wish we had a lot more Latinos in this business but I’m out to set the trend. There are a lot of moments in my career were I wish I could have been a little kid watching TV. When Trinidad fought De LaRoya, me and Pun were the first rappers to walk in the ring with Trinidad. That was one of my proudest moments. But that would have been mad cool to see the expression on a little Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican and Black face when we went up there and tore it down. That was historic you know. There have been a couple of moments like the Arsenio Hall show when I first came out , and I ripped that down to. I wanted to get on the first plane back to New York I wanted to run back to my block just to see everybody’s reaction.

DV: How is family life treating you?

FJ: My wife Lorana is lovely and my boy Joey is 11 and Ryan is 8. Family life is great. It keeps me on my toes for real.

DV: How do you deal with the envy on the streets now that you’re a platinum selling artist?

FJ: Let me tell you a story and then we’re out of here. I did a car show the other day at Power 105.1. There were a lot of black people and some Spanish people too. And I was watching and I just felt like I made music for everybody; something for the guys and something a little softer for the gals.

DV: What have you done so far that have really impressed you?

FJ: My work with R. Kelly. That was the biggest and he contacted me and he was like I want to work with you. And I was like the R. I jumped right into the car and drove straight to Atlanta. And I just couldn’t believe it and it just blew my mind. I was just bragging and bragging, telling everybody. I remembered the first time we played the song. It was during the Terror Squad pool party in Miami. There it sells out every time, it was huge. So I was like “Yo, check this out. This is the title song on my new album, “Jealous Ones Still Envy” featuring R. Kelly. People went crazy.