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There are few things more beautiful than Fat Joe shedding the glitz and polish that made him a mainstay in radio rotations for decades and returning to his Diggin’ in the Crates roots to give fans a bar-heavy verse. Yet in an attempt to be as lyrical as possible, Joey Crack overlooked political correctness and promoted rhetoric that has been harmful to East Asians.
Fat Joe gave Benny the Butcher a vintage verse on “Talkin’ Back” from Benny’s latest effort, The Plugs I Met 2. While the bars twisted heads, Joe ended up calling COVID-19 the Wuhan Virus in the verse.
“Threw that white up in the pot, gave ‘em pipe dreams/And watch it spread like the Wuhan Virus,” Crack raps.
This caught the attention of some of Joe’s fans because calling COVID-19 the “Chinese Virus” or “Wuhan Virus” places the blame on Chinese and Chinese Americans for the global pandemic. In turn, it creates an atmosphere where East Asians are targeted by radical terrorists who now view them as an enemy/threat.
When Joe heard the backlash, he took to Twitter where he explained that the verse was recorded over a year ago. At the time, media outlets and politicians were referring to COVID-19 as the “Wuhan Virus.” It wasn’t until months later that mainstream media realized how harmful this moniker was.
“I’ll adress the Benny verse i did that verse a year ago when the news was calling it the wuhan virus before they called it COVID,” Fat Joe wrote. “i support and love all my asian brothers and sisters never hate.”
Although Fat Joe’s explanation makes sense, it doesn’t forgive the mistake. Artists update songs and verses all the time. And with acts like the mass shootings targeting East Asians in Atlanta on the rise in America, fans would’ve liked Joe and his team to have screened the verse more carefully before it was released to the public.