Fat Joe Talks New Album Family Ties and Clarifies Whether or Not He's Really Retiring
"Family Ties is a classic. You’re gonna be like, 'Man, Joe isn’t supposed to retire, this is fire!'" says the rapper. "But this is pretty much what I’m dealing with."
Fat Joe has accomplished a lot since his debut album, Represent, was released 26 years ago — he's recorded a ton of hit singles, appeared in movies, and been nominated for five Grammys — but he's never shown any signs of stopping. That's starting to change, though. On Friday, he released his new album Family Ties (produced with Dre, of Cool & Dre), and he claims it may be his last album.
“I never promised nobody it would be, but that's how I'm feeling,” the Nuyorican tells People CHICA. “A good 85 to 87 percent toward there. My daughter's growing up and I just want to be like a regular father somehow, and go pick her up from school and be more in her life.” Family Ties is Joe's 11th solo album — his first since 2010's The Darkside Vol. 1 — and his first project since 2017, when he released Plata O Plomo with fellow Bronx icon Remy Ma.
Though fans might be disappointed that Family Ties is allegedly Fat Joe's last album, he's sure they won't be disappointed with the new songs, which feature Cardi B, Anuel AA, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Mary J. Blige and more. “Family Ties is a classic and you're gonna be like, ‘Man, Joe isn't supposed to retire, this is fire!'” says Joe. “But this is pretty much what I'm dealing with.”
As for the title of the album, it was a no-brainer for Joe and Dre. “Basically everyone that's a part of the album has at some point in their career been impacted or affected by Fat Joe,” Dre shares. “As a producer, my and Cool's first hit was ‘New York, New York' for Ja Rule, which is Irv Gotti's artist, featuring Fat Joe. It just felt like a family affair and we just called it Family Ties.”
Even if Fat Joe really does stop making new music, you can definitely count on seeing him on the big screen. “I just sold a movie to Warner Bros., so I'm really transitioning to the acting and executive producing, and producing films and TV shows and stuff like that,” he says. “I tell people all the time, when you're a kid coming out of the South Bronx, 18 years old, and walk in a room with 20 white guys and you're trying to convince them to give you a million dollars, you put a hell of an act on. Let me tell you, we've been acting out here — now we just do it on screen.”
When Fat Joe started, it was alongside the late Big Pun. Next year will be the 20th anniversary of Pun's death, and while there isn't any official tribute planned yet, Joe says that he is always remembered and hopes to do something to honor the rapper. “He's the Bob Marley of rap for the Latinos,” Fat Joe says. “It's a shame he's out of here so young. I've been thinking about that a lot.”
Family Ties is available now on all platforms.