Today in Hip Hop History: September 1, 1998
New York based rapper Fat Joe of the Terror Squad released his 3rd studio album, Don Cartagena, through his own Terror Squad Entertainment, Mystic, Big Beat Records and Atlantic Records in 1998. The album was recorded from 1997-1998 and produced by L.E.S., Marley Marl, Dame Grease, DJ Premier and The Beatnuts. Don Cartagena featured the likes of Big Pun (RIP), Prospect, Armageddon, Nas, Puff Daddy, Raekwon, Layzie Bone, Krayzie Bone and several others.
The Bronx Latino rapper Fat Joe somewhat disregarded his habit for heavily prevalent gangsta songs and steered into another direction with Don Cartagena. The smooth lyricism and melodic beats brought a sense of restoration to late 90’s rap, which at the time had suffered from the end of the Golden Age of hip hop and the deaths of significant rap legends 2Pac, Big Pun and Biggie.
Don Cartagena peaked at #7 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the U.S. Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart. It also became RIAA Certified Gold after moving over 500,000 copies since its release. The album received generally favorable reviews, but it was seen as less of an album compared to the same year’s Capital Punishment by his protege at the time, Big Pun. Regardless, Don Cartagena remains a solid release in the hardcore East coast rapper’s discography, and arguably his last quality solo album released.