On Tuesday night in New York, Fat Joe and Remy Ma premiered a remix for their comeback single, "All The Way Up," at the Yankees game. Featuring a freak out-worthy verse from Jay Z, the remix and its unveiling (alongside an exclusive premiere on TIDAL) were smart ways to make the most New York rap record of 2016 even more of a New York moment.
Since its release in March, "All The Way Up" has emerged as an underdog pick for 2016's song of summer — it's had steady gains on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and is currently sitting at number 51. It also peaked at number 7 on the rap songs chart this month. For Fat Joe, it's a solid hit after a long absence from the charts.
Over the phone from his house in Miami, Joe explained how he convinced Jay Z to hop on the song, and opened up about what success means to him now.
How did Jay Z come to be involved with the "All The Way Up" remix?
FAT JOE: Well, it's been a long time coming. I woke up one morning and I was walking around the house. I see pictures of me with Kanye West and Eminem, some of the greatest lyricists and artists to rap — but the last of the mohicans is Jay Z. I guess it would be on my bucket list to work with Jay Z. So I reached out to him via N.O.R.E. and Memphis Bleek and they put me on the phone with him. I was like "Yo, I would love for you to be on the remix." And he said, "I can't wait, let's do it."
There was a lot written about how you two came together for this, after there had been some bad feelings from both sides in the past. How did that get resolved?
The past is the past. I've grown out of any immaturities that I used to have, and stupid ways of thinking. I'm mature. I'm a business man. I'm much smarter, wiser, and I just figured the game deserves to hear a Fat Joe and Jay Z song sooner or later, for the hip-hop culture. Because I'm not going to be rapping much longer. Jay and me both came up on hip-hop culture. We're businessmen now. We took different roads, but we're real hip-hop.
Remy's new verse for the remix also got a lot of attention. What is it like working with Remy again?
It's producing Remy. Making sure she stays in line. We've got one goal and one goal only — for her to be the queen of rap. That's what we're going for. She left seven years ago and when she left she was the hottest chick in the game. Now she's back seven years later and we're going for the crown. That's the bottom line. We're going to make sure she owns that crown by making great music.
I'm not sure if you saw the news, but NYPD Commissioner William Bratton called some rappers "basically thugs" in response to the shooting at T.I.'s Irving Plaza show on Wednesday night. As a New Yorker and rapper, do you have any thoughts on that?
I can't recall the last time someone got shot in the middle of the show like that. That's a rare occasion and it's very unfortunate. You have to understand — rappers aren't responsible for how society is right now and how crazy these kids are. We're not their parents, we didn't bring them up like that. People should come to a show to celebrate, to have a great time, to enjoy themselves and hear their favorite music. We don't encourage no one to come out and shoot innocent bystanders.
6:40 AM and I still ain't sleep. Feels good to be lit. This time last year, my best friend died, shows were slow, but I NEVER gave up.— FAT JOE (@fatjoe) May 25, 2016
This week, you reflected on your recent success on Twitter. After some time away, what does it mean for you to have a hit in 2016?
You know it's a great feeling. This is what I do it for. This is why I'm in the studio at six in the morning every day. This is why I'm on the road. This is why I'm constantly trying to make music. Let me tell you something, Fat Joe is probably one of the only rappers in history to ever have a number one song in 1993 and have a top five song in 2016. Do you know how hard that is? Most rappers are one hit wonders. It's damn near impossible. It's an honor. I know what's being done right now in regards to my legacies, in regard to my legend, in regards to the hip-hop culture. Some shit is happening that's never happened before.
Earlier you mentioned it might be time for you to stop rapping. Are you thinking of a particular time to stop? Have you talked to your family about it?
I guess when we stop making number ones. Should I retire now that I'm number one? This is what we love to do. When the time comes and it feels like I don't have what it takes, or I'm not able to compete at a higher level, then I'll step off. If I had listened to people who told me to retire a few years ago, I would have never received "All The Way Up."