Where did Fat Joe grow up? Rapper receives honorary Doctorate from Lehman College

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Fat Jor has been awarded an honorary Doctorate from the Lehman College (Image via Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

Fat Joe, also known as Joseph Antonio Cartagena, received an honorary Doctorate from Lehman College in the Bronx on May 30, 2024. While receiving his Doctorate at the College's 56th annual commencement ceremony on Thursday, Joseph expressed his happiness and recalled the days when he slowly established himself in the world of rapping.

Joseph, who grew up in the South Bronx, New York City, is mostly known for his hit albums, such as Jealous One's Envy and All or Nothing.

Fat Joe also had a few words for the students sitting at the ceremony. He started by giving an example of a friend who sold fish on the highway and later opened a huge market by purchasing a building.

"You may be the first generation, but now is the time to stop the vicious cycle of poverty in your family. Now is the time. You're just beginning your lives… Some of you been around, but I'm telling you success never stops. There is no age limit to being successful," he said.

Joseph took to his Instagram page to share a video on May 30, 2024, which was recorded at the ceremony and wrote:

"God is the Greatest! I promised my moms a Diploma & who would have thought I would have a Doctorate. I'd like to thank Lehman College for this humbling experience @ruben_diaz_jr."

Fat Joe witnessed a lot of struggle in his childhood before becoming a popular rapper

Fat Joe has pursued a successful career in the world of music over the years. He has 10 albums under his credits alongside several singles. However, he had to battle many other things during his childhood, which eventually contributed to making him a famous rapper.

He was introduced to music by his brother, and a few of his songs were also inspired by his early days. He even got involved in a robbery to support his family. In an interview with CBS News in 2022, Joe said everyone was going through a tough phase.

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Fat Joe also revealed that a lot of people beat him up as he was overweight. He said the entire experience left a different kind of impact on him.

"My heart turned black. I no longer cared about anybody. I wanted to inflict as much violence and fear as I could on anyone who stood in my path. It didn't matter whether they were good or bad," he shared.

He further said that if his childhood situation had been better, he could have pursued a different career as a doctor, lawyer, or pastor. However, things changed for him in 1993, as he was usually spotted in the recording studio, where he worked on music. Additionally, another rapper, LL Cool J, supported him at the same time.

Fat Joe recalled a conversation with LL Cool J in which the latter told him that he provides "commercial hits" by rapping to women and gangsters on the street.


The 53-year-old's last project was a collaborative album with DJ Drama, What Would Big Do 2021.

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