Beats, rhymes and life are three of the corners where hip hop intersects. Few other TV shows have been able to cover all of these angles in-depth and authentically quite like REVOLT’s “Drink Champs,” which thrives on its candid conversations with the biggest and most influential figures in the game. In honor of such a one-of-a-kind show, REVOLT will be recapping each weekly “Drink Champs” episode, so you can always catch the gems that are dropped in each lit interview.
On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN welcome back the show’s first guest ever, Fat Joe. Remaining a constant fixture via his popular series “The Fat Joe Show” on REVOLT, Joey has continued to expand his brand outside of music. Aside from collecting dope soundbites from the hottest rap artists, athletes, and other entertainers as an interviewer, Joe still makes waves on the musical front, particularly with his latest single, “Sunshine (The Light),” which builds on his track record of producing radio friendly jams that rock the dance floor and generates good vibes. And with summer just weeks ahead and the world beginning to return to some sense of normalcy, there’s no telling what we can expect from Joe next.
To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine things we learned from the Fat Joe “Drink Champs” episode. Take a look at them below.
1. On Missing The Opening Of Big Pun Plaza
This past March, Fat Joe’s late protégé and friend, rap icon Big Pun, was honored with his own intersection, Big Pun Plaza, located at Fordham Road and Grand Concourse in his home borough of The Bronx. The Terror Squad general, who was not present alongside Pun’s family during the ceremony, responds to critiques of his absence, as well as his efforts toward seeing the process through. “It’s beyond great,” Joe says. “I’ve been trying to ask people to give Big Pun a street for fucking 20 years and I don’t wanna get in too deep, but they wouldn’t let us get a Big Pun because of issues I don’t wanna talk about. So every year, they kept trying to get him a block, they wouldn’t give him a block because the whole board would be like, ‘Nah, he got this on him.’ So, it’s so disingenuous when you hear people say, ‘Joe didn’t try,’ this and that, no. Y’all actually know, even though I don’t rock with y’all, that I tried for 20 years to get this man this block.”
2. On Giving Up The Rights To Big Pun’s Catalog
The friction between Joe and Big Pun’s family has been well-documented over the years, as the two sides became at odds shortly after the rapper’s untimely death in 2000. However, Joe claims to have no financial stake in anything related to Big Pun including the documentary on his life and legacy that’s currently in the works. “He passed away, I did something nobody ever did,” Joe says of relinquishing his rights to Pun’s catalog and business affairs. “And I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but I don’t think Puff Daddy gave the rights to Biggie back, I don’t think they gave the rights to Tupac back. So I said, ‘OK, you saying Fat Joe’s jerking you, take everything. Take everything, it’s not a problem, everybody got whatever they want, get everything. Fat Joe doesn’t own a dollar, no attach[ment]. I don’t have nothing to do with Big Pun. That’s what y’all wanted.”
3. On His Collaboration With DJ Khaled and DJ Amorphous
Kicking off the year in a big way, Joe made waves with his single “Sunshine (The Light),” which sees the rap vet teaming up with social media sensation DJ Amorphous, who gained fame from his various mash-ups during the latter months of 2020. The rapper shares the backstory about first hearing about Amorphous and how their hit collaboration came to life. “I’m on vacation with Khaled, and [DJ Amorphous], he mixed Luther with ‘Kiss It Better,’” Joe recalls. “And Dre says, ‘Yo, you gotta see this shit, I never heard no shit like this.’ He sends us a video, I see the shit, I’m like, ‘Yo, this shit is incredible.’ Dre says, ‘Yo, I’m gonna produce the track,’ and then he sent it back, and then we did it together — me, him and Khaled... We could’ve stole it from the kid ‘cause he just DJ’d two records. No, we contact the kid, ‘Yo, thank you for inspiring us, your name is on the record, you get a percentage of the record we flew him down.’ We paid the kid, included him in the video. That’s for the people who think Fat Joe robs people.”
4. On DJ Khaled Being The Quincy Jones of Hip Hop
Christening DJ Khaled as a member of his Terror Squad family during the early aughts, Fat Joe’s relationship with the hefty impresario dates back to his beginnings on the mainstream radar. Joe speaks on his longtime friend and collaborator’s genius, and what sets him a part as a talent. “People take away the greatness from Khaled and they say, ‘Well, he just gets a bunch of big-time rappers and puts them on the same song,’” Joe says. “There’s a million DJs and producers who try that, and those ain’t hit records. And it’s been a long time since we’ve heard Nas and JAY-Z on what, to me, sounds like a smash hit. Like a smash hit that can play on the radio, it’s streaming incredibly. So, Khaled really is the Quincy Jones of hip hop right now.”
5. On His Renewed Focus On Philanthropy
During his visit with the “Drink Champs,” Joe touches on his charitable endeavors within his community, as well as the passion he has for reaching back to help troubled youth. “Why not give back to your community,” the “Lean Back” creator asks. “Why not look out for the people? Why not give back to the people? So, that’s how I feel. I feel like it’s a trickle down effect. We should want everybody who has a good heart to win, so they can come back to the hood and give it to ‘em however it is. And that’ll be my next 10 years of my life. God willing I live 10 more years, [my life] will be based really off of philanthropy and giving back to the hood and inspiring the kids. Whether they’re gang members, whether they’re street guys, whatever it is, to encourage them to change their life and show ‘em the greatness within them. That’s where my true heart and passion lies.”
6. On His Reaction To The COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic had a lasting impact with hundreds of thousands lives lost in the U.S. alone. Joe admits to becoming susceptible to the anxiety created by the pandemic, while sharing the lengths he went to protect himself and his family from becoming infected. “I was terrified,” he recalls of his initial reaction to the virus. “I’m for real, guys. I’m not gonna lie to you, I was scared. I thought I might die with Corona[virus]. Half a million niggas died, N.O.R.E., I was terrified. I never came out my house. When I came out my house, I looked like one of them alien niggas with the mask with the shit, lysol in my hand, gloves. And I’m in Miami where all these niggas are Trumpers, they don’t believe in the mask or nothing. They’re looking at me like I’m extra crazy. I’m running out here spraying the car, no valet. I sat in the balcony the whole time, I wasn’t lying.”
7. On The Role Addiction Played In DMX’s Death
DMX’s death dealt a serious blow not only to his family, but the hip hop community as a whole. Joe touches on his own personal experiences involving drug addiction and the role it possibly had in DMX’s demise. “I’ve seen this, I’ve dealt with this,” he says of addiction within his own family. “The addiction, it will take down the smartest, the richest, the loving, it will take them down. So, in DMX’s case, unfortunately the person who might’ve got him high thought they was looking out for him, like, ‘Yo X, I got it! Yo, what’s up?’ And they’ve been going back and forth [to rehab] for years.”
8. Terror Squad’s Pistol Pete On Meeting Sex, Money, Murder’s Pistol Pete
Terror Squad member and Bronx native Pistol Pete, who accompanied Joe to “Drink Champs,” hops into the hot seat and gives insight into his dealings with infamous Sex, Money, Murder gang founder Peter “Pistol Pete” Rollack, one of the most feared street figures of his era. “Like I told you on ‘Dog In The Yard,’ he (N.O.R.E.) said, ‘Did you ever meet Pistol Pete,’ and I said ‘Yes, I met him in MDC.’ We was in MDC together and I was with all the codefendants, I was with everybody. And he was like, ‘Yo, I wanna meet Pistol’ and shit like that. So, his co defendants, they was with me. So I came to the gate and we vibed. He was like, ‘Yo man, pleasure meeting you Pistol.’ I was like, ‘What’s up, man?’ He said, ‘Hold your head, I see you keeping it real, I’m here with your co defendants’ and all that... And let me tell you, it always was love.”
9. On Visiting Grandmaster Flash’s House As A Kid
A self-professed B-Boy and rap fanatic, Joe reveals his connection to hip hop pioneer DJ Grandmaster Flash, who lived in the same neighborhood as he did as a kid. “I mean, it’s hard, we invented hip hop,” Joe says of the rich history of the Bronx. “Pistol’s block, Cypress Ave, that’s where Grandmaster Flash actually lived. My brother was a crate-boy for Grandmaster Flash. So, back in the days, there wasn’t Serrato or nothing, they used to have a bunch of vinyls. So every time Flash went to DJ a party, my brother would go and pick up the crates. So, that’s how I know Grandmaster Flash lived in Cypress [Projects]. I would go with my brother to Grandmaster Flash’s house.”