Reflection Section: Behind The Music – Fat Joe

by Jordan Mark

We’ve made it to final episode of the first batch of Behind the Music episodes on Reflection Section. The final episode featured Fat Joe, a rapper from the Bronx.

Unlike the other artists, Fat Joe hadn’t been featured previously on Behind the Music. Not only was that a breath of fresh air, but the episode was made the way I thought the series was going to be done in the first place. It was a new presentation instead of an updated historical feed guided by a narrator. The production team had Fat Joe explain his career while sitting in a room with screens that displayed various moments and memories in his life, occasionally showing him reacting to them as the episode progressed. The other episodes also showed the artists reacting to stuff, but they were few and far between compared to this episode. There were also plenty of new interviews from other people. It felt fast-paced, yet enjoyable at the same time. With that in mind, it’s time to discuss Fat Joe.

Large and in charge, Bronx native Fat Joe had rap ambitions of being part of the underground, being on the ground, and even being above it. Pushing toward success expanded boundaries for his career and got him living as large as his body frame (technically larger considering his change in living a healthy lifestyle). Though his Wikipedia page doesn’t list him as a businessman in the first sentence as he wished it had, it does categorize him under New York businesspeople, so at least it’s acknowledged. Aside from Fat Joe, the episode also touched on artists Big Pun and Remy Ma, two of Fat Joe’s colleagues.

The largest takeaway from the episode was seeing how big Fat Joe is about believing. Believing that he didn’t deserve abuse from his father, believing in Big Pun, and believing in getting a woman named Lorena to be his wife were just some moments showing that. Despite this, there were times where Fat Joe wasn’t a believer, like the time when he felt his career was over after being incarcerated for a few months (which is essentially a lifetime in the music industry) during a point in his life where he was older than other rappers. With correct guidance, those times of self-doubt ended up creating things beyond what one could have ever imagined. As he said during the episode, the darkest moments are the ones that bring someone the most clarity.

The two parts of the episode that were the most enjoyable were at the end. The first part was when they showed Fat Joe with his family and friends at an extravagant feasting table enjoying each other’s company. It was nice seeing it, not just as a sign of how far he’s come, but that he’s able to enjoy it with his parents. Having made it a point early on that his father isn’t a bad person, just tough (and even commending him later on for supporting his mother when she went through cancer), it is sweet knowing such relationships with his parents both exist and are embraced. The second part was seeing him gaze at the images of his life fly by the screens. It was amusing to see perspective flash in a few seconds, and it keeps a sense of connection that can be forgotten when documenting celebrities.

That about does it. With the first round coming to end, that wraps up Reflection Section for now. Whether or not I’ll be doing more for the next round (or in general) is up in the air as they do take quite an amount of time to curate, but I do like doing them. There are also plenty of other music-based shows out there, so it would be cool if I decide to reflect on those as well. For now, I hope you enjoyed the posts as much as I did making them. Have a great rest of the year!