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    Fat Joe:

    All or Nothing

    Tue, 14 Jun 2005 11:22:43

    Album Reviews: All or Nothing by Fat Joe

    Fat Joe's success with Terror Squad's "Lean Back" came at a small price that made a surprisingly big ripple. A dis, however unprovoked, came from 50 Cent on "Piggy Bank": "That fat nigga thought 'Lean Back' was 'In Da Club'/My sh*t sold 11 mil, his sh*t was a dud."

    Big deal. Fat Joe doesn't seem to have body issues (maybe that's why he calls himself Fat Joe), and a lot of grandmothers can confirm that "Lean Back" wasn't a dud. This non-event also had something to do with the decision to change this album's original title, Things of That Nature, to the more serious All or Nothing. (A wise move since "Things of that nature" is almost as synonymous with Arnold Schwarzenegger as "You're fired" is with Donald Trump.) The album, Joe's first in name since 2002's Loyalty, caught some extra attention thanks to a reluctant response track. "My Fofo," in which shots are fired back, demonstrates why he doesn't consider himself a battle MC. For reasons hinted at above, and the fact that he caved into pressure from fans, he doesn't seem all that into it, even though some of the rhymes are wittier and meaner than the ones that provoked them. He's far more convincing when laying out general boasts and talking about street life.

    Apart from that one uncharacteristic track, All or Nothing isn't much of a change from the past few Fat Joe albums, with some durable hard-hitters rounded out with a handful of tepid R&B crossovers (featuring R. Kelly, Jennifer Lopez, and Mashonda). Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, and Just Blaze kick out some beneficial production work, but Cool & Dre handle several tracks and often match their more famous peers. While Fat Joe has yet to come up with a landmark album, he also hasn't released a dud since his 1993 debut. - Andy Kellman, All Music Guide

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