Music News

Fat Joe

"Lean Back" gave Fat Joe a chance to make the really big money, and he's taking advantage of this prospect by embracing the mainstream. He came across as a genial glad-hander while working the red carpet at the recent MTV Movie Awards, and he makes repeated bids for airplay on All or Nothing, a disc that's slicker than it is hard.

A few cuts shoot for the old aggressiveness, including "My Fofo," a strained attack on 50 Cent. Yet the disc focuses on numbers sweetened by female vocals, be they the sped-up sort heard on "Intro" or the custom-recorded type Mashonda contributes to "Listen Baby." The Hefty One also uses the likes of R. Kelly and J.Lo to smooth out his grooves, and targets continued dance-club supremacy with "Rock Ya Body" and "Get It Poppin'," featuring Nelly.

While these last two tracks are expensively produced and moderately catchy, they're emblematic of the album in that they come across more as career moves than as truly vital songs. All or Nothing isn't about going for broke creatively: It's more concerned with grabbing for the green.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts