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Fat Joe Is No Longer Fat

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It's been a long time since we heard from Fat Joe -- has it really been seven summers since "Lean Back"? -- but the rapper is back in the news today, not for his rhymes but for his dramatic weight loss. The MC also known as Joey Crackts recently premiered his new music video for "Drop a Body," and fans were quick to notice that Joe wasn't his usual portly self. The formerly Fat Joe has not yet commented on the weight loss -- or his weight loss secrets! -- since he's been in South Africa touring (he just landed back in the States two hours ago, says his Twitter), but according to Media Takeout, Joe decided to slim down for health reasons. Fat Joe reportedly dropped between 75 and 100 pounds, going from this to this in the process. In the photo above, compare Joe in August 2002 to his current leaner version.

Joe's weight loss efforts probably aren't purely for vanity reasons, however: In 2000, Fat Joe's good friend and fellow Bronx rapper Big Pun passed away from a heart attack and respiratory failure at the age of 28. At the time of his death, Big Pun weighed nearly 700 pounds. The Boombox writes that at Fat Joe's fattest, he tipped the scales at 370 pounds, but in 2005 he shed 80 pounds from his frame to weigh in at 290. Judging by his new look, he's probably hovering around the 200-pound mark now, not an ideal weight class but certainly not the definition of "fat." Photos of Joe at a New York Knicks game in late-March and performing in Australia in April show the rapper looking not so thin, so it's safe to assume Joe underwent lap-band surgery or a procedure like that.

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Like yesteryear Native Americans and reputed mobsters, rappers have often used physical traits when adopting monikers. For instance, the Notorious B.I.G. was in fact big, Lil Wayne measures at about 5'5", Royce da 5'9" lives up to his height, etc. So given Fat Joe has shed his trademark "Fat," it remains unclear whether a name change is also in the works. He wouldn't be the first to change his name to reflect a new era in his life. Andre 3000 was once simply "Dre" before he got sick of being confused for Dr. Dre on paper, and Diddy has gone through more names (most recently Swag) than many on-the-lam fugitives. If Fat Joe wants to become "Svelte Joe," we approve.

[Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.com]

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