Fat Joe is stopping at nothing to help Puerto Rico recover from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria last month. The rapper, whose family descends from the ravaged island, has been heavily involved in sending plane shipments of bare necessities—water, food, hygiene products—and generators for hospitals to the U.S. territory. He has also lent his vocals to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s single benefiting relief efforts, and took part in Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, and Alex Rodriguez’s “Somos Una Voz Live” benefit concert to help the devastated land. Most recently, Fat Joe joined Jay Z in putting together the TIDAL X: Brooklyn concert, presented by BACARDÍ, to donate all ticket sales to organizations supporting victims of recent natural disasters.
The “All The Way Up” rapper has felt compelled to take the reins of recovery efforts in large part because of the Trump Administration’s anemic response to the tragedy. “A complaint we’ve been hearing since day one is that our own government isn’t doing enough for what’s going on with the people affected by the devastation,” Fat Joe tells People Chica. “They were too slow to come [to Puerto Rico] so we had to gather ourselves together in a grass roots effort and just combine our talents, combine our people and do whatever we can to give back to these people that are affected.”
President Donald Trump has been slammed on several occasions for criticizing Puerto Rico, most recently saying that federal aid workers cannot stay there “forever.” On Twitter, he also came down on San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz calling her leadership “poor.”
In disbelief over the state of the country, Fat Joe said: “We’re going through a rough time in life right now. It’s a very fragile time for America, whether it’s race relations [or] police brutality. It’s sad what’s going on. I never thought I would see this in my life.”
During the “TIDAL X: Brooklyn” charity concert, he performed with fellow rapper Remy Ma and made an appearance during J.Lo’s set. Fat Joe credits Puerto Rico’s rich musical history and talent for bringing all these artists together in a time of need. “Puerto Rico is a powerful island,” he said. “Culturally, the arts of Puerto Rico is really unmatched by any other island. [It’s] very influential music wise. It’s what we know how to do.”