Fat Joe Was Asked If He Had Slept with Ashanti After He Defended Her from Irv Gotti Jab
Fat Joe is standing by his decision to defend Ashanti from disparaging comments made by Irv Gotti.
The "Lean Back" rapper, 52, described Ashanti, a longtime friend and collaborator, as his "sister" in a clip from an upcoming appearance on Red Table Talk, which PEOPLE is exclusively premiering.
"I'm the brother that looks out for the sisters, but somebody had asked me, 'Yo, why'd you jump out and defend Ashanti like that?'" Joe said.
He went on to explain that the friend asked if he and Ashanti—who teamed up on the 2002 hit "What's Luv?"—were romantically involved, as if that would explain Joe's defense. The question, however, left the star "flabbergasted."
"This was like, blasphemy or some s—, right?" he said. "'Cause she's been my sister for 20-something years. And Irv [is] my brother… I love him… I'm not trying to disrespect Irv. I'm talking about the situation."
Jordan Fisher Fat Joe on Red Table Talk
Fat Joe continued: "When somebody I considered one of my brothers was like, 'Yo, you f—n' her?' Are you crazy? That's my sister. And then I noticed that when I started telling him that that's my sister, his whole face calmed down and said, 'Wow, she really is your sister.'"
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The rapper's comments come months after Gotti, 52, alleged on the Drink Champs podcast in August that he and Ashanti, 42, were romantically involved, and that their relationship "helped her" in her career.
He claimed that he wrote her song "Happy" after a night they spent together, and that he was later disappointed to find out while at a basketball game that she was dating Nelly.
Though Ashanti later shared her own version of events, and said Gotti "flat-out lied about a lot of things," Fat Joe defended the star in an Instagram Live shortly after Gotti made his comments.
Theo Wargo/Getty, Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Fat Joe, Ashanti
"Whatever Irv has with Ashanti is 20 years old. And I know he was making some points that mean a lot to him, his heart and soul, but when you keep ranting about somebody 20 years later, it felt like he's not over the young lady," Joe said of the music executive and producer.
Joe continued, noting that during all the time he spent with Gotti and Ashanti he'd "never seen them together like that," and felt his comments were disrespectful.
"You gotta say your truth… But to go to Drink Champs, and [to] keep calling her a bitch, keep disrespecting…" he said.
In October, Ashanti gave her version of events on Angie Martinez's IRL podcast, saying she found it "very weird" that Gotti would "just keep lying."
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"The one thing is that it wasn't surprising to me, to an extent. I've accepted a long time ago that that's the person that he is," she said. "But now the world is seeing."
She continued: "I feel like Irv has flat-out lied about a lot of things… I don't play in the mud, so I let that sit down there and I'm over here. It's weird, it's very weird when you know you're lying and you just keep lying. And that's where it becomes a little scary and a little mental."
The "Foolish" singer said it was true that she was dating Nelly, and that Gotti was "salty" over it, and as a result would not let her come to the studio to record.
"Irv was telling everyone not to record with me. Why do I want to stay in that situation?" she said. "When someone is consistently saying to you 'You ain't s—,' 'F— you,' 'You not even f—ing loyal,' 'I made you, 'I made the world want to f— you.' He would say, 'N—s wanna f— you because I made you look like that. I made you f—able.'"