Getting rap fans to agree on the greatest rapper of all time is difficult enough, but picking the greatest rap lyric ever? That’s a conversation that solely comes down to personal preference.
Fat Joe had little trouble naming his selection when the topic cropped up during his recent appearance on the I Am Athlete podcast, hosted by former NFL stars Brandon Marshall, Chad Ochocinco Johnson, LeSean McCoy and D.J. Williams.
The Bronx bomber went with a line from JAY-Z‘s Reasonable Doubt. Yet for all the slick wordplay, clever double entendres and confidence-boosting braggadocio found on Hov’s 1996 debut album, the lyric that resonates most with Joey Crack is one that’s simpler but no less profound.
— Elliott Wilson (@ElliottWilson) January 20, 2022
“The hardest lyric in Hip Hop is on JAY-Z’s first album when he said, ‘Something something and we will be each other’s crutches,” he declared, referencing Hov’s jewels-packed “Feelin’ It.”
(“If every n-gga in your clique is rich, your clique is rugged/Nobody will fall ’cause everyone will be each other’s crutches,” the full bar goes.)
Fat Joe went onto break down the meaning behind the line, saying, “So the point is this: everybody wanna be the man, everybody wanna be the guy everybody looks up to; there’s no real strength in that. The strength is everybody eating so if one of us falls, we can lift them up and put them back in the game. You have to understand that mentality.
“Whether your friend is a barber, we want him to be the best barber in the world. Your friend’s a mechanic? Best mechanic in the world. Your friend is in acquisitions and mergers? We want him to be the best. We need to be the best so that when we need each other, somebody’s there for us. We all there to cover all aspects.
“That’s the true power, the people power. There’s nothing more powerful than people power!”
Fat Joe hasn’t always had such love for JAY-Z, though. Later in the interview, the Terror Squad rapper touched on his past beef with Hov and the 2003 Rucker Park basketball tournament in Harlem that ignited the feud.
“There’s a little bit of jealousy involved,” he said. “The man was always winning. I might have been a little jealous if I’m gonna be a man about it. He won at everything. He had the baddest chick in the world. He was just winning.
“I always had the streets, no matter who I had beef with. And so The Rucker is part of the streets. That was the streets in the summertime, and out of nowhere here comes this guy after I win five chips in a row, he wants a team!”
Fat Joe also gave JAY-Z’s Watch The Throne partner-in-rhyme Kanye West his flowers on the I Am Athlete podcast, calling the Chicago native his “favorite rapper in the world.”
“I love him to death,” he said. “I won’t turn my back on him, no matter what he do. He’s a genius, he’s incredible and I fuck with him. A lot of people we cool with, they don’t vote like us or they don’t agree with everything, but we gotta fuck with him; he made ‘Jesus Walks’!”
Watch Fat Joe’s full I Am Athlete interview below.