NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert done the Don Joey Crack way looks a bit different from the other bespoke office concerts. With a camera trailing behind him, Fat Joe enters the premises where his Terror Squad is in ready position, spitting “I stand alone in this cold world” — the first verse from his 2001 origin story track, “My Lifestyle.”
“What’s good, Tiny Desk?” Joe said, flanked in a denim Louis Vuitton bucket hat, baby blue aviators, and a Barbie-pink leather jacket. Against a backdrop of designer sneakers encased in glass, the Bronx emcee ran through some of his biggest in his 30-year career, including his monumental song of the 2002 summer, “What’s Luv?” Vocalist Angelica Vila expertly handled the Ashanti parts and the salsa dancing parts, matching the Don in a long hot-pink blazer.
“Luv” ripped into the undulating “Lean Back” — where the tiny desk was, predictably, leaned on — and then Joe’s new single, “Sunshine (The Light).” The new track uses a Heaven-sent mashup by DJ Amorphous, of Rihanna’s 2016 song “Kiss It Better” and Luther Vandross’ 1981 song “Never Too Much.”
“I love you, Luther,” Joe said, pausing for a reflective moment before performing his Terror Squad anthem, “All The Way Up.” Having released his first new single since 2019, the 50-year-old rapper contemplated the difficulty of staying both authentic and fresh in the music industry.
“I tell ’em all the time that your darkest moments bring you the most clarity. It’s hard to start from nothing, make something of yourself, and have ’em rip it all away, start back from scratch… Who’s gonna come back, 40-years-old as a rapper? Well sh*t, Tina Turner did it at 48. Terror Squad means loyalty, trust, respect, and honor. Most of all, we never give up.”
Watch Fat Joe’s Tiny Desk Concert above.