Head Cheese

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As rap shamelessly chomps its tail, few can stay atop the game. South Bronx-born Fat Joe is an exception; as one of the few Latinos to chisel a legacy in hip hop, he continues to hit — from 1993’s “Flow Joe” to last year’s “Lean Back.” One of the first hardcore rappers (after NWA), Joe’s nonetheless kept love in the air, from work with Ashanti to crooners R. Kelly and Ginuwine. Whether acting (Empire; Scary Movie 3) or performing, podgy Joe is, uh, a powerful presence. His monomanias this week:

5. Beef: I’m happy for hip-hop’s growth. At the same time, “can’t we all get along?” At the end of the day, is rockers trying to kill each other? Are kids trying to kill your man, Bruce Springsteen? Is Patti Labelle trying to fight with Chaka Kahn? What kind of shit is this, man?

4. Oh, lady: When I look back, I want to be “damn, I worked with this person, that person.” We did Ashanti’s first record and now that she’s a superstar I’m so proud that I played a little part.

3. Hearing voices: I can hear beats, and that beat starts talking to me. My whole brain opens up, and I start seeing things.

2. The deal: Kids really need to know this isn’t about popping somebody. It’s important to tell real stories about your community, but it’s about making good music. It’s like we’re Steven Spielberg writing movies.”

1. Crib: We’ve been building my house for two years. My wife never makes up her mind, so we keep changing shit, tiles, faucets. Everything’s been changed a million times.

 

Sunday, March 20, at the Fox Theatre (2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-6611) with Nelly and T.I.

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