Picks and Pans Review: Fat Joe

UPDATED 07/11/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/11/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT

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After 11 years and five solo albums, Fat Joe truly achieved hip-hop heavyweight status in 2004 with the No. 1 smash "Lean Back," recorded with the Bronx-born emcee's posse Terror Squad. The not-as-rotund rapper, who has recently slimmed down from 370 lbs. to 290 lbs., continues his roll with a crowd-pleasing set that is sure to get the block party pumping this summer. Booty-shaking beats combine with good-time rhymes on club jams like the chart-climbing single "Get It Poppin'," with its catchy chorus featuring Nelly, and the booming "Everybody Get Up," on which Joe slyly remarks, "Got chicks mad at me 'cause I lost some weight." Elsewhere, Joe shifts into gangsta-lover mode on tracks such as "So Hot," a tepid collaboration with R. Kelly, and "Listen Baby," which smoothly samples the Marvin Gaye-Tammi Terrell version of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." Public Enemy is also sampled on the rock-edged "Safe 2 Say (The Incredible)," one of the disc's hardest cuts. Lyrically, however, Joe saves his biggest blows for the diss track "My Fofo," where he fires back at 50 Cent for 50's shots at Joe on The Massacre. Shrewdly adopting 50's half-sung flow, Joe calls his rival "the fakest thug you ever seen."

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Get It Poppin'"

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