Story: Mark Lelinwalla
Photography: Tom Medvedich
RIDES: What would people be surprised to hear you bump while driving?
FAT JOE: I’ve always loved driving to R&B music. It’s just soothing, smooth. I’ve always loved to be in that groove while I drive—Luther Vandross, Stephanie Mills, anything smooth. I get to think and meditate. I do hip-hop music 24 hours a day, so every now and then, I try to smooth it out. But whenever I feel like I’m in a rush and getting aggressive, I listen to some shit like N.O.R.E. [“Superthug”], “What, what, what, what, what!”
You have a clear left lane on the highway—what song are you blasting?
Right now it’d be [ASAP Rocky’s “Fuckin’ Problems”], “I love bad bitches, that’s my fuckin’ problem!” It’s high-energy music.
What’s the major difference between listening to music in the studio and behind the wheel? Well, I made many of my hits in the car.
There’s something about driving [where] there’s nothing else to concentrate on but the music, so it brings the best out of you.
What’s the must-have feature every car should have?
A good system.
How counterproductive is a bad sound system in a custom car?
Aww, man…you just can’t do that. It’s a no go. I’ve been in great cars with shitty systems, and they’re just not the vibe. I can’t be in a car like that.
Do you ever pass your destination because you’re enjoying driving and listening to music so much?
All the time! I just drive around. Doing that gives me two joys, because I love to drive and I love music.
What are you driving now?
That Range [Rover] 2013. This is probably my fifth Range. I love Range Rover. It’s not too showoffy. I’ve had [Rolls-Royce] Phantoms, Ferraris—you name it. But now I’m in a place where I’m not really trying to show off.
In your wild days growing up in the Bronx, what was your ride of choice?
In my wild days in the Bronx, I had this sky-blue Ford Bronco truck, and it was called the Fat Gangster Mobile. Remember how the Broncos used to have the extra tire on the back? I had it wrapped, and it said, “The Fat Gangster.”
What car have you always had an affinity for?
The [Acura] NSX! That’s always been my favorite. When I made big money off the rap game, I actually bought it but gave it to one of my artists at the time, because I couldn’t fit in it [laughs]. Red with black interior. That’s still one of my favorite cars ever to just look at. My car game has always been up to par, thank God.