Fat Joe: Cool & Dre Inspired Direction of New Album Darkside, Vol. 1

Fat Joe's new, 10th studio album, Darkside, Vol. 1, dropped just two days ago, but is already expected to debut in the Billboard 200. Why all the sales fuss over Jose's latest? Well, it's a return to his old, street-level form -- a 180 from the continued attempts at pop crossover that marked his last album, 2009's J.O.S.E. 2.

And while that record's Akon-featuring lead single, "One," entered the lower reaches of the Billboard R&B charts, the rest of the album mostly failed to stick on a massive level. (We still give Joe and the record credit for featuring tracks from South Florida-based producers like Schife, Jim Jonsin, and Rico Love.)

So when it was time to head back to the studio longtime Fat Joe friends, rising Miami super-producers, told him, gently, that perhaps he had gone a little too soft on his previous effort. He recounted their advice yesterday to MTV News:

Joe said that his friends, producers Cool & Dre, were two of the people who inspired this project. The production duo believed the Bronx MC had missed the mark with 2009's Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E.) 2 and wanted to hear an album of just hardcore Joey Crack music. He recorded the album in their Lake Oasis studio in Miami.

"They was like, 'Joe, you the boss, man. We need you to be on top. We need you to be hot. If you not hot, nobody's hot, ' " Crack detailed. "They felt like, 'Yo Joe, when I first met you, when we was doing the J.O.S.E. album and [2002's] Loyalty, Joe Crack was from the Bronx, he was hard, we couldn't tell him nothing.' They wanted that back; so did some of the blogs. My fans kept on me like, 'Joe, we love you, we gonna support you. But we need that Fat Joe the Gangsta.' "

Cool & Dre ended up producing three tracks for the album, including the Trey Songz-featuring single "If It Ain't About Money." (Also repping Miami: Streetrunner, who produced the Weezy-featuring track "Heavenly Father," and Rico Love again, who appears as a guest star on the Scoop De Ville-produced "No Problems.)

Here's "If It Ain't About Money." For more than that "Lake Oasis" studio mentioned in the MTV News story, click here to check out New Times' recent feature on Cool & Dre.

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