Fat Joe’s ninth solo album Jealous Ones Still Envy 2 (J.O.S.E. 2) (EMI Music) is getting waxed and shined for its April 7 release date. While it’s common belief that follow-up albums aren’t nearly as tasty as the original, this one actually stands up strong. With singles worthy of a charting position, we can’t help but wonder if Joey Crack made the wise picks for his guest verses (Lil Wayne, T-Pain, Lil’ Kim, Akon), or if he was simply going for a more lighthearted appeal. The man himself invited Rap-Up.com into the studio for a sneak peek (and some pretty entertaining commentary) of what’s in store.
1. “Winding on Me” featuring Ron Browz & Lil Wayne
Produced by Ron Browz
Any track that contains the line, “Let the haters keep hating,” can immediately be deemed as one of those opening tracks that attempts to set the swagger factor for the entire album. This buzz single is a playful preface to most of what lies ahead: head-bobbing beats, pricey guest features, and catchy hooks. Weezy’s verse is almost predictably addictive.
2. “Hey Joe”
Produced by Infamous
“Joey got a gun, everybody know that,” Crack utters on this track. Did everybody know that? If they didn’t, he spells his gangsta by talking smack in a manner that is so rapper cliché at this point that suburban second graders can recite right along with him. The mid-tempo beat, slightly more original than some of the others, raises the song’s stock.
3. “One” featuring Akon
Produced by The Inkredibles
A decent pick for the first single, this track is catchy and sweet, albeit kind of safe. If you haven’t heard this one yet, it’s an ode to Joe’s No. 1 girl—paying homage to a female who holds him down through it all, complete with Akon’s nasally vocals.
4. “Put You in the Game” featuring T-Pain & OZ
Produced by Shief
Arguably the sickest song on the album, this one pushes past the rest because of its futuristic beat and energetic vibe. This joint is buoyant in a mischievous way, as Crack and his comrades offer women the world in exchange for a little affection. Turn this one up for a quick shot of cockiness before approaching the opposite sex.
5. “Congratulations” featuring T.A. & Rico Love
Produced by Eric Hudson
Joe claims that “everyone wants to be famous” on this addictive hook spilled onto a celebratory beat that’s almost vacation-like; think island drums and writhing bodies on the dance floor. Another strong club banger possibility, he throws a couple of humbler artists on as features, which adds variety.
6. “Porn Star” featuring Lil’ Kim
Produced by Jim Jonsin
The title says it all, but Joe elaborates, of course. “Just listen to the beat,” he smirks, “Even the beat is perverted.” What could be considered as straight raunch, this track has the dirty talk, Lil’ Kim’s breathy “Work it, baby, hurt me, baby” hook, and should probably come with its own stripper pole.
7. “Cupcakes” featuring Benisour
Produced by Shief
This track starts out with an ominous beat, piquing intrigue, but it quickly loses its novelty because the content doesn’t follow up. Discussing the shitty economic times, flaunting coke sales, and other material that’s been mulled over too many times, this one loses its charm even after the cute little “Rachael Ray / White girl” cocaine allusions.
8. “Me and My Bitch” featuring OZ
Produced by Calvo
Hood reverent to say the least, the most noticeable thing about this one is the church-bell quality of the beat. Joe channels 2Pac on this one—not lyrically but in sentiment—though not as gracefully as one would hope.
9. “Here We Go” featuring Fabolous & Rico Love
Producer by PIT
A track that’s a radio hopeful but might not make it, the beat is not as memorable as some of the stronger ones on this album. The lyrical content is weak, save for a couple of clever one-liners peppered in.
10. “Ice Cream” featuring TA & Raekwon
Produced by Kevin of The Inkredibles
More of a narrative in the beginning, Joey claims that his fly is international, reviving memories of trips to Italy. The verses are much meatier than the hook on this song (“She screams for ice cream”), where he mostly describes his lavish lifestyle. What might have been too soft hardens into something more substantial with a Wu-Tang cameo.
11. “Okay Okay”
Produced by Drew of The Inkredibles
This one could be the background music in a jail fight scene. Despite the dimples and pop-centric tracks, the record gets a little rough (in a good way). Although his, “I’m great with the nines, much better with the techs,” gat-bragging doesn’t do much for the song, the beat is abrasive and heavy—a refreshing change in tempo and style.
Produced by Raw Uncut
The classic introspective outro, Joe gets deep on a few topics—the most prevalent, his love for music. He touches on family, determination, and the importance of force without intentionally wrapping up his album.