In my books, good hip-hop wakes you up on the bus ride to work, puts game in your shame, and makes you feel like you can scale small buildings. You throw your hands up, you get the fuck down. I’m not sure if Fat Joe accomplishes any of these things. “The soul of Big Pun is flowin’ through me,” he says in the lead-off track to this new solo album, Me, Myself and I. Seven years after Big Punisher’s death in 2000, the similarities between the two rappers continue to run deep.
The structure of Joe’s album reminds me of the posthumous documentary about Pun’s life, Big Punisher: Still Not a Player. The film climaxes with camera footage of Pun pistol-whipping his wife. In similar fashion, Me, Myself and I peaks at the middle of the record where Joe raps about blowjobs from a sixteen-year-old girl in “She’s My Mama.”
Typically, good production, beats, and a dash of irony can gloss over such rampant, um, underage sexing, but Fat Joe lacks the skill to pull it off. One diamond in the ear appears in the single “Make it Rain,” and Lil’ Wayne’s collaboration here helps in spades. Otherwise, the album is overproduced and underskilled. While Fat Joe gives shouts to Biggie Smalls, Jennifer Lopez, Hurricane Katrina, and the bird flu, the perceived currency of his credits is undermined by an otherwise half-shot effort, similar to the Live 8 that he parodies on the album.