Growing up in the South Bronx, Fat Joe used to get jumped practically every day after school by a particular group of bullies. As he explained in the A&E series The Origins Of Hip Hop, “It was scary looking out the classroom window knowing there’s 20 guys ready to beat my ass. They would never fight fair.” But one day, his best and only friend Leonard was told if he didn’t beat up Fat Joe with them, they were going to beat him up every day, too, so that’s exactly what happened.
Devastated by the betrayal, the young Fat Joe went home and cried for hours until something inside snapped: “That was the birth of Joey Crack […] My heart just turned black that day.” Soon, Fat Joe was getting in fights and hustling in the streets much to the disappointment of his parents. Still, despite this newfound tough exterior, nothing prepared him for the day he found out he was going to be a father. Just 19 at the time, Fat Joe was nowhere near ready to raise a child.
That was the scariest moment of my life, man,” he said during a recent Zoom interview with HipHopDX. “It was. It was scary. I was just a kid myself. I had just got my record deal. I didn’t even have a song out. It was just really, really scary to be so young and have so much responsibility, so that was my initial response.”