"Lean Back" gave Fat Joe a chance to make the really big money, and now he's embracing the mainstream. He came across as a genial glad-hander while working the red carpet at the recent MTV Movie Awards, and he makes repeated bids for airplay on All or Nothing, a disc that's slicker than it is hard.
A few cuts shoot for the old aggressiveness, including "My Fofo," a strained attack on 50 Cent. Yet the disc focuses on numbers sweetened by female vocals, be they the sped-up sort heard on "Intro" or the custom-recorded type Mashonda contributes to "Listen Baby." The Hefty One also uses the likes of R. Kelly and J. Lo to smooth out his grooves, and he targets continued dance-club supremacy with "Rock Ya Body" and "Get It Poppin'," featuring Nelly.
While these last two tracks are expensively produced and moderately catchy, they're emblematic of the album in that they come across more as career advancers than as truly vital songs. All or Nothing isn't about going for broke creatively; it's more about grabbing for the green.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.