Warning: This article contains mentions of self-harm
Fat Joe has been making the rounds on daytime talk shows this week, promoting his new memoir The Book of Jose, and shedding light on the tragedies he’s experienced in his life.
The rapper, who previously revealed that he considered suicide at age 18 after he got into a fight with his brother, explained that he drove his Mustang at 100 miles per hour that night. He said he contemplated driving into a huge concrete barricade near a restaurant and headed right for it with only a few seconds to choose life or death. Fortunately, he suddenly chose life as he slammed on the brakes.
He stated that he never had suicidal thoughts again, despite the endless tragedies that were to come as Fat Joe’s success was overshadowed by the darkness behind the scenes, as he told the hosts of Good Morning America.
Early in his career he was collaborating with Big Pun and created the Terror Squad but then Pun suffered a heart attack and passed away at age 28.
“I’m doing Lean Back. Bruce Willis, Puff Daddy was at the MTV Awards and I was being framed for a murder in the Bronx at the same time. Framed,” he said. The rapper was never charged with murder, however.
Fat Joe explained that while this was going on publicly, it was also a time of loss for his family.
“No one understood what was going on. My sister was giving birth and they gave her the epidural and instead of numbing her from the waist down it went from the waist up. So, lack of oxygen to the brain. We lost the baby. My sister was in the nursing home for eight months. I had to see my mother and father go there everyday and she finally passed away.”
Joe eventually did go to jail, but for tax evasion. He served four months in 2013. “I had just come out of jail. They took all my money. I was broke.”
Starting from square one, he built himself up again but noted he fell into a depression. However, he decided to go to therapy and encouraged other men to do so, citing how many men refuse to because of their own egos. Referring back to his own struggles, he added, “All of this is happening while I still had to entertain people.”
Incredibly, and quite sadly, even the day that started his rise to fame was laced with darkness. Joe explained, “The day I got signed, I rushed home to tell my mother and she told me she was diagnosed with cancer.”
He went on to discuss the difficulties that his mom faced but still somehow managed to stay positive during the GMA3 interview. Perhaps the best thing about the interview was the message he wanted to send with his book from his book. “God didn’t have me on Earth just to make rap music,” he told the audience. “He has me here to help the people. This book should help you get through any dark time you’re going through in life and still be able to smile.”
The Book of Jose is on sale now.
If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. A list of international crisis resources can be found here.