By being the right person in the right place at the right time, Fabolous became an overnight superstar in late summer 2001 with his debut single, "I Can't Deny It." Though the young rapper represents Brooklyn and is no doubt representative of the East Coast rap style, he also happens to embody a large dose of the "bling, bling" mentality often associated with the Dirty South style as well as the "gangsta" mentality associated with the West Coast -- the makings of a true crossover artist. [ Fabolous the Rapper ]
And the fact that he's young with poster-boy looks doesn't hurt either. So, in sum, Fabolous followed in the footsteps of other early-2000s overnight sensations like Nelly by representing his hood while also making subtle concessions to the masses. At the time, New York didn't have any ice-sportin', Cristal-poppin', hood-representin' rappers -- at least not since the death of the Notorious B.I.G. and the simultaneous popular demise of Puff Daddy. Fabolous filled this gaping niche perfectly. [ Fabolous the Rapper ]
DJ Clue certainly knew what he was doing when he made the young rapper the flagship of his start-up label, Desert Storm. Though a no-name at the time, Clue's calculation proved genius. He hired a handful of producers, rappers, and vocalists for Fabolous' debut album, Ghetto Fabolous: Ja Rule, the Neptunes, Lil' Mo, and Timbaland, to name a few.
And by teaming Fabolous with Nate Dogg -- who had become a hot commodity in the rap community that summer, virtually omnipresent on the radio with hits like "Area Codes" and "Lay Low" -- Clue had an undeniable hit song to drive the album's initial sales. This song was the perfect crossover hit, merging Fabolous' East Coast image and rhymes with Nate Dogg and producer Rick Rock's West Coast sound -- and interpolating a trademark 2Pac lyric for the hook obviously didn't hurt. As expected, the song became a huge hit, storming up the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and built up ample anticipation for the album, Ghetto Fabolous.