Corey Sipkin/News; Mariela Lombard for NewsFat Joe knows everyone looks better in black, but the noticeably thinner rapper is down 88 lbs.
Fat Joe�may need a new nickname after undergoing a serious slimdown in the last nine months.
The "Lean Back" rapper has sliced 88 pounds off his 6-foot-2, 350-pound frame - without popping a pill or jumping on a fad-diet bandwagon.
He took his battling skills from the stage to the scale after he lost seven friends in their 30s to heart attacks last year.
"What's the difference between me and them? Health doesn't discriminate just because I'm famous," the plus-sized South Bronx native said yesterday.
He ditched half-chickens and pasta plates for six small daily meals of fruit, veggies, whole grains and lean meats.
The pounds started to drop after he combined two-hour cardio and weight-lifting sweat sessions with a trainer.
"I was always LL Cool J in a fat guy's body," cracked the "What's Luv" rapper, who once topped the scales at 425 pounds but now hovers in the 265-pound range.
The first peek at his new physique came Tuesday when his new music video, "Drop a Body," went live on Worldstarhiphop.com, stirring buzz in the blogosphere.
If it weren't for his notoriously powerful voice, the slimmed-down don would be virtually unrecognizable in the video.
"They're all trying to alter my name, but I can't see myself as anything else," he said, referring to friends who started calling him "Skinny Joe" and "Joey Flaco" (Spanish for "thin"). "I think I gotta ask Diddy what my new name is."
Vanity didn't factor into getting skinnier, he said, but his health and his 5-year-old daughter Azaryah did.
"I can't leave my daughter behind," he said. "I want to be here for her; I don't want to die on her."
The hip-hop heavyweight lost significant pounds in years past, but it always piled back on because he "wasn't focused."
"I'm addicted to food; I love food," said Fat Joe, whose real name is Joe Cartagena. "It's like a crack addict - he hits rock bottom and he says, 'All right, forget it. I'm not going to get high anymore.'"