Fat Joe recently made his first appearance in Hong Kong, performing at The Bungalow in Central.
What’s your impression of Hong Kong?
FAT JOE: It’s so beautiful here, just like in the movies.
Where did you get your stage name? Would you consider changing it, having lost so much weight in recent years?
No. I have been Fat Joe since I was a kid. It’s always been my name and always will be.
You are also an inspirational speaker and president of urban and Latino development for US internet company Market America. What inspired you to help other people?
To actually help people. I come from nothing and growing up I really didn’t have many people to inspire me, at least no good people to inspire me. So it is very important for me to [reach out and] touch people and then Market America has this opportunity to let people own their own businesses and become entrepreneurs. I actually get awarded for helping others so that’s a win-win. So I am very passionate about Market America.
Do you plan to go to other countries to give speeches and help more people around the world?
I don’t know. As an artist alone I’m just everywhere. We are going to Japan and Singapore on this trip and then back to the US. We travel so much it’s like my life. It’s my birthday today and I’m here doing an interview and I’m going to perform across the street. That’s my life and my life is on a roll.
I would say your career is like a roller coaster ride, what would you say about that?
I would say the same thing. But just to be so blessed to have a career. You’ve got to understand this: there are 10 million people trying to rap and only one makes it; and the fact that even when someone makes it, most of the time, 99 per cent, they are a one-hit wonder. To have so many years in the rap industry and so many number one songs, and sold so many millions of records, introduced the world to people like Cool & Dre, DJ Khaled, Pitbull, Rick Ross, Trick Daddy, Remy Ma, Big Pun, Rico Love… I could go on and on. Having been able to influence the rap game for so long is very important to me. Coming from the Bronx, too. You have to understand this thing you are interviewing me about is created from the South Bronx, and I am honoured to be in the Mecca of hip hop. As a little kid, I watched hip hop get created. So it’s an honour for me to represent the Bronx, the motherland of hip hop.
How did you deal with all the stress, especially after Big Pun’s death? It was widely known that you became depressed.
You know what, life goes on and it’s unfortunate because we have to deal with deaths and it’s sad. We deal with it all the time. In hip hop we just lost Sean Price, a legend. It’s about staying strong, it’s about just moving on and keeping the memory with you and keep pushing forward because the minute you reach out and dwell in the darkness, you’re through.
Do you have any regrets?
Man I got so many regrets. The biggest is that Eminem gave me so many demos – six different times he approached me and I didn’t sign him. Shame on me.
Any plans for the future?
We are working on music now, great music. I am working with new talent and that is going to be really exciting. We are also doing movies and television. We are just working. ,