Fat Joe Breaks Down His 25 Most Essential Songs

Big L f/ Fat Joe “The Enemy” (1997)

Producer: DJ Premier

Album: Internationally Known/The Enemy 12 Inch

Label: D.I.T.C. Records

Fat Joe: “That’s one of my proudest songs ever. Big L was like my little brother. He was a member of the Diggin’ In The Crates crew. He was our baby brother. Finesse brought him in. Me and Big L spent a lot of time together, telling jokes, a lot of chilling. I used to mentor him.

“Every time you’re rapping with somebody, it’s like a competition, but it goes without being said. No one ever really [makes it known]. But Big L was the first rapper [to challenge me on a song].

 

Big L was the first rapper [to challenge me on a song]. I had just went Gold on Don Cartagena, and he was like, ‘I need you on my record, and I want you to know, I’m gonna rip you down, and take all your fans.’ No one ever put pressure on me like that on a song!

 

“I had just went Gold on Don Cartagena, and he was like, ‘I need you on my record, and I want you to know, I’m gonna rip you down, and take all your fans.’ No one ever put pressure on me like that on a song! I’m like, ‘What, L?’ He said, ‘I’m gonna take all your fuckin’ fans. You went Gold. I need them niggas.’ I put my heart and my best effort into that song. I tried my hardest, because Big L was basically like, ‘I’m gonna destroy you on this record.’

“We always felt like [the cops were giving us a hard time and wouldn’t give us a break even though we were legitimately doing the right thing]. Especially at that time. That’s what that was.

“Big L would have been a giant in the game. He was one of the best, most lyrical rappers. He was charming, witty, smart, a handsome kid. Real intelligent, an entrepreneur. He was about to get his own label deal. There ain’t no telling what it would have been for him. The sky’s the limit for him.

“Who knows, there may have been another Dip Set. You know, he’s from Cam’ron’s block. He could’ve had his own little Dip Set there too.”

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