One is a big-boned rap vet from the Bronx whose Terror Squad crew — creators of the chart-assaulting hit ”Lean Back” — swears he doesn’t dance. The other is a big-beat DJ from Brighton, England, whose turntable tricks and rollicking dance-floor anthems have been bringing out folks’ inner frat boy since before that first ”funk soul brother” refrain in 1998. Fat Joe (a.k.a. Joseph Cartagena) and Fatboy Slim (Norman Cook) may have seemed worlds apart before. But thanks to Listen2This and the pain-in-the-ass reality of promoting their respective records (Terror Squad’s True Story, released in July, and Slim’s Palookaville, out this month), two simple guys named Joe and Norman finally sat down to find out just how much they have in common — and to stuff their Fat faces with gourmet cheese balls.
L2T Joe, you co-owned a seafood restaurant in the Bronx, and Norman, you’re part owner of the Spotted Pig, the Greenwich Village restaurant we’re sitting in right now. What’s the best thing (or for you, Joe, was) about having your own restaurant?
SLIM The best thing — I’ve been finding out the last few nights — is that no matter what you do, no matter how late it is, no matter how you behave, you can’t get thrown out.
JOE The boss is here, so they gotta keep the door open. I took advantage of that situation too.
SLIM What was your place like?
JOE It was up in the Bronx. It was called Jimmy’s City Island.
L2T What was the best dish on the menu?
JOE This fish they made, but I don’t know the name of the fish.
SLIM How did you order it if you didn’t know what it’s called?
JOE The chef knew.
L2T What’s the best recipe here?
SLIM It’s like gnocchi, but it’s got a lot of cheese…. We’re going to eat some in a minute.
L2T Joe, have you ever eaten at Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club or Puffy’s place Justin’s?
JOE I’ve been to Puffy’s. It’s all right.
SLIM Has every rapper in New York got their own restaurant?
L2T Not just rappers. Have you been to Moby’s vegan restaurant, Teany?
JOE I’ve eaten some from Moby’s joint. It’s real good.
SLIM There are a few reasons why I would not go to Moby’s restaurant. One is that I like to eat meat. Another one is…[deadpans] Moby.
L2T Joe, I’ve heard you had your own booth at Jimmy’s City Island.
JOE I got my own little section where the family went and we ate and watched the Yankees play.
SLIM That’s my booth. [Points to the kitchen] I do shifts in the kitchen. I love cooking.
JOE I don’t know how to cook nothin’. I’m bad at making toast.
SLIM I like the idea of not being too special, too scared, to cut up vegetables.
L2T Speaking of scared, Joe, how long has the Terror Squad been together?
JOE Since I was 13 [21 years]. We started out as a graffiti crew.
L2T You seem like a pretty nice guy. Is the Terror Squad really that terrifying?