Producer: Diamond D
Fat Joe: “I started out in the Apollo Theater. That’s where I got my start. I won Amateur Night four weeks in a row. I met Red Alert, who was the number one DJ in New York. He worked on 98.7 KISS FM. He asked me to give him a promo, like a jingle.
“So I went to Diamond D’s [crib], and he came up with the beat. He was like, ‘I just bought this vinyl off this dude on the train.’ And the minute he played it, [and I heard the sound he used for the sample], I remember Diamond started moving his head and doing the Diamond D.
Red Alert finally played it and I jumped off the couch and started screaming at everyone in the projects. I took my speaker and put it out the window, and was like, ‘Yo, my record is on!’ And the whole projects and everyone in front of the building started going crazy.
“I had never seen anyone produce a beat in front of me until that. He went in and just flipped it. He made it right in front of me, in his kitchen. He had his equipment in his kitchen, and he made the beat right there.”
“So I did it, and I gave it to [Red Alert], and he played it a couple of weeks later. I’ll never forget this. I had the flu, and I was laying down in the living room, and I had been waiting for like a month for him to play it. He finally played it and I jumped off the couch and started screaming at everyone in the projects, and took my speaker and put it out the window, and was like, ‘Yo, my record is on!’ And the whole projects and everyone in front of the building started going crazy. So that was where ‘Flow Joe’ came from originally.
“Then, Chris Lighty and Relativity [Records] approached me about signing me, and they wanted that to be the single. So we took that, and we turned it into ‘Flow Joe.’
“The other unique thing about ‘Flow Joe’ is that I never took a punch or anything. I didn’t know punching was allowed. I did my verses and hooks, everything, with the crowd of people there [saying the chorus], then I went in to the second verse. I didn’t even know what punching was. I was new to the studio.
Diamond D stepped to me and was like, ‘Every time I see you, you’re in beef, and you’re on some gangster shit. If you take that, put it behind music, and talk that gangster shit on music, you could be large.’ Essentially, he saved my life.
“Diamond D and Showbiz were big DJs from my projects. The thing that me and Diamond D had in common was graffiti. He used to write ‘D Rock,’ and I always wrote ‘Crack.’ I would see his name, and he would see my name and we became cool through graffiti.
“One day, I was standing by the light pole by my mother’s house in front of the building, and Diamond stepped to me and was like, ‘Yo, you keep getting in to all this trouble, and every time I see you, you’re in beef, and you’re on some gangster shit. I’m telling you, if you take that, and put it behind music, and talk that gangster shit on music, you could be large.’
“Essentially, he saved my life. He’s the one person I can honestly say saved my life. Because I wasn’t even thinking about rapping. He got me into that. And the rest is history.”