Fat Joe Says He’s Still Paying Atlantic Records Back 20 Years Later

rapper Fat Joe
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rapper Fat Joe
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Photo Credit: Fat Joe’s Instagram

Expanding on his previous comments in which he called the major labels a ‘Ponzi scheme,’ rapper Fat Joe admitted he still owes money to his former record labels for albums released 20 years ago.

Last year, rapper Fat Joe criticized the major label system, calling it a “Ponzi scheme” and accusing them of doing “funny math.” Now on Instagram Live, Joe expanded upon those remarks and explained his issues with Atlantic Records and Warner Music Group, to whom he admitted he still owes money 20 years later.

“Most of the time, they take a kid who grew up in the projects that’s talented and give you money to make an album,” said Joe. “Off the profit of the records, they charge you whatever they spend on the video. It ain’t like we 50/50 partners; we pay half for the video, they pay half.”

“They own your shit. That’s why I say it’s a Ponzi scheme. I sold two million records, still ain’t recouped. J.O.S.E. [2001] sold two million records. When I get my statement from the major label 20 years later, I still owe them money,” he continued.

“I put out an album independently on EMPIRE and get distribution,” Joe explained, citing that conducting business with Atlantic Records drove him to pursue independent distribution for his 2006 album, Me, Myself & I. “My album might sell 250,000, 300,000 records — I make millions of dollars off of it. What’s the difference?”

Previously, the Bronx native said, “I was talking to [Jennifer Lopez] about it, and you know, J. Lo is a megastar, and she was like, ‘Man, you know these guys, they only give you this. You never recoup, you know.’ So it’s a funny math, right?”

“When you look at a chart and they say 62.1 percent, 1.2 — it’s funny math. And so we never understood, we never recouped, you know. You had to be like the Fugees, who sold 30 million records, to make a dollar.”

Warner Music Group did not respond to DMN’s requests for comment in time for publication.