The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It’s the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.
Abby O’Neill | June 1, 2021
Latino hip-hop legend Fat Joe muscled his way out of the streets of the South Bronx with his debut album, Represent, in 1993. He radiates a different energy in 2021, sauntering in his own uptown streetwear shop, fresh fitted in pink leather and a designer bucket hat, but he’s still got that old larger-than-life electricity.
A founding member of the D.I.T.C. (Diggin’ In the Crates) crew, Fat Joe Da Gangsta has managed to last nearly 30 years and multiple generations in the rap game without ever giving up his lease on the top of the charts. That’s no easy feat for a rapper who came out of the early ’90s, and positively trailblazing for a Puerto Rican emcee without any notable predecessors. That catalog is on display in a medley of hits performed for his Tiny Desk (home) concert with the Terror Squad Band, and it’s clear that Joe is amped up rocking with a live outfit that keeps the essence of his hits while infusing some salsa that reps his Latino heritage.
That crew turns the rugged “My Lifestyle” into a visceral experience with layers of nuance added by Joe’s longtime DJ Ted Smooth. On the 2002 smash “What’s Luv,” Angelica Vila takes the spotlight singing a hook originally performed by Ashanti. “Sunshine,” is an effervescent new springtime jam that was spawned by 22-year-old internet sensation Amorphous, who mashed up Luther Vandross’s debut single “Never Too Much” with Rihanna’s “Kiss It Better.” Joe, who has always had a solid ear for new talent and a prowess for pinning down a buoyant hit record, came in and gullied this sparkling jam, renewing a glow that’s been dim for this last year.
• “My Lifestyle”
• “What’s Luv?”
• “Lean Back”
• “Sunshine (The Light)”
• “All The Way Up”
• Fat Joe: vocals
• Angelica Vila: vocals
• Eugene “Man-Man” Roberts: keys
• Rashid Williams: drums
• Eric Whatley: bass
• Simon Martinez: guitar
• DJ Ted Smooth: DJ
• Video: Omar Reynoso, Mehdi Zollo, Zach Sky
• Audio: Nathan Bonetto, Sacha Zuckerman, Danny Cheung for DCD Audio, Julian Stewart/DaJuan Williams Live Audio
TINY DESK TEAM
• Producer: Abby O’Neill, Bobby Carter
• Video Producer: Maia Stern
• Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
• Tiny Production Team: Kara Frame, Bob Boilen, Gabrielle Pierre
• Executive Producer: Keith Jenkins
• Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
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