Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fat Joe Da Gangsta - Represent (Album Review)

Release Date : July 27, 1993
Label : Relativity Records

I missed out on Fat Joe's D.I.T.C. stuff, so why not go back and check out the earlier material while he was Fat Joe Da Gangsta? Can you believe this album is 20 years old? You know how people always say an artists older material is their best? Well lets see! The production on Represent is very raw, it has that whole early 90's jazzy boom bap sound. He gets beats from Lord Finesse, Diamond D and The Beatnuts, just to name a few. Fat Joe is really limited on Represent, he rarely switches flows, his mic presence is average at best, and his repetitive tough talk gets annoying after a while. Fat Joe wasn't always mainstream, this is way before Lean Back, What's Luv?, All I Need, Make It Rain, Etc.

The album kicks off with the Lord Finesse produced Livin' Fat, the hook is chanty "Im livin fat yall/ I'm livin fat", and the lyrics are pretty much straight forward, "I got props, believe it or not /I never got caught/ because I pay off the cops". Flow Joe fits his rap style perfectly, it was the single, you should already know about that one. Da fat Gangsta samples the Ohio Players "Pride and Vanity", yeah yeah I know the song has been sampled a million times, but I never get tired of it. Bad Bad Man samples Yvonne Fair's "Let Your Hair Down", Jay-Z later used the same sample on "Where I'm From". 

The S**t Is Real is a introspective track. Joe talks about the struggles he dealt with, from his Mother being on welfare, to his Father not being there for him, and even admits to robbing his own cousin because he needed the money. Joe also calls out the fakers in the third verse "I know your style, I've seen it before/ You wear an army suit, now you think you're hardcore/ Drinkin on your 40's, smokin on your blunts/ Can't afford a chain so you wear gold fronts, yeah/ You're fakin the funk, kid/ And you'll be gettin it up the ass if you ever did a fuckin bid". I recommend checking out the DJ Premier remix too, but it doesn't appear on this album, its actually on his second album Jealous Ones Envy.

There are few posse cuts on here, Watch The Sound features Grand Puba and Diamond D, it has the Jamaican sample in there, the beat is less hardcore compared to the other songs. Gismo, Kieth Kieth and King Sun appear on Another Wild N***** From The Bronx, they all had good verses, and they got the Cypress Hill "Hand On The Pump" sample in there. The menacing You Must Be Out Of Your F*****' Mind features the late Apache and Kool G Rap, of course G Rap stole the show,  but come on now, how many people could actually out-rap him in his prime? Exactly. The dialogue on the hook comes from the movie Straight Out Of Brooklyn.

Now lets get into the bad. One of main problems with Represent is that Joe rarely switches topics and when he does, the results are lackluster. Shorty Gotta Fat Ass  and  I'm A Hit That are forgettable, luckily later in his career, he figured out how to cater to the females without sounding corny. The lyrics bring the album down too, even Joe himself knew he had to work on his lyrics. But Fat Joe eventually picked things up on the Jealous Ones Envy album. I will be reviewing that album as well, so stay tuned. All in all, I would recommend checking out Represent just to see how far Joe progressed as an rapper.


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