On this date in 1998, Terror Squad general Fat Joe released his third full length album Don Cartagena on the Atlantic/Big Beat/Terror Squad imprint.
On his first “official” release of Terror Squad as a crew and label, Fat Joe garnered the support from his then TS crew Armageddon, Triple Seis, Cuban Link and new recruit standout Big Punisher to pull together a superstar-laden album that would catapult TS to an equal level of success. With Pun’s almost overnight stardom from the smash single “Still Not A Player”, it gave Joe the leeway to bring in the rest of the crew sans Remy Ma, who was in Bedford Hill Correctional Facility. Singles such as “Bet Ya Man Can’t (Triz)” and “The Hidden Hand” left fans looking for that Terror Squad album with the original cast members, but internal strife only allowed those tracks to bring those thoughts into fruition. The real album feature was of course the Ski-produced “John Blaze”, which featured Nas, Jadakiss, Raekwon and Pun, is still considered one of the greatest joint tracks ever laid.
The album’s commercial success reflected the response from the fans, being Joe’s first top ten Billboard 200 release, grabbing a A- from EW and selling 100,000 in its first week was right in line of the thinking of The Don. Within a month, Don Cartagena was certified gold by the RIAA.
Salute to Joe, Pun(RIP), the entire original Terror Squad, Just Blaze, Dame Grease, Preemo and everyone else involved in the making of this Hip Hop classic!