Fat Joe has longevity in the game. Rocking stages since the 80s, and putting on for Latino people for decades. Using himself as a conduit between the Merengue and the boom-bap of the emerging Hip-Hop scene. So it was no surprise when he stopped by Hot 97 and dropped serious knowledge on the unique African experience and heritage, shared by both Black and Brown people.
“All the music is African: Brazilian music, Dominican Music. Spanish Drums. All the music African music.” Fat Joe declared to Hot 97’s Ebro. “You getting on the Afrobeat now. I been in Africa. They been doing that.”
“Even in Puerto Rico when you go to Caribbean… Let’s speak about Latinos not being Black,” Joe said. “Latinos are Black. In Cuba, at one time, there was eight million Cubans. Five million, unfortunately, were slaves. Three million were actual Cubans, and they integrated and had babies. Same thing with Puerto Rico when you go to Loíza. And when you talk about Santeria, that came from the motherland Africa. Sometimes, Latinos may even identify themselves with African and Black culture more than Black people. This ain’t no crazy thing. Fat Joe ain’t on crack. He know what he talking about.”
Of course, none of this started with Joey Crack. Consider Timba music, the Cuban based genre of music that combines Afro-Cuban folk music with Funk/ R&B. Consider Salsa. Consider Tito Puente and Mother Celia Cruz. What about Oscar D’Leon all the way up to Ibeyi? The Rock Steady Crew? Beat Street? Do The Right Thing- Mookie & Tina? There has been this connection that colonization has tried to dissolve but would never.
As the community recognizes National Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s remember this is also a time to lift unity between two kissing cousins in Hip-Hop culture.