MORRISANIA — Famed rapper and Bronx native Fat Joe returned to his old elementary school Tuesday with a gift of 20 new computers for students there.
"In order for you to compete and use your creativity like I told you, use that switch I told you about, you have to be up to date with technology, so we’re giving back 20 computers to [P.S.] 146," he told an auditorium filled with students.
Fat Joe arrived at the Morrisania school around 11 a.m. and was introduced to the students by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who said he "exemplifies that spirit of giving."
The hip-hop star told the students that he used to sit in the same auditorium, but noted that when he was growing up, kids did not often hear that they could do anything if they were willing to put in the work.
“As long as you get an education and you stay focused, the future is yours," he said. "There’s nothing you can’t do."
Fat Joe told the students to keep an eye on their classmates who they might think of as nerds right now, as those would be the bosses of the future.
“If they make fun of you for being too smart, then you’re doing the right thing," he said. "You continue to be smart.”
The desktop Microsoft computers will arrive at the school in the beginning of 2017 and are meant to help honor the memory of Lisa Cartagena, Fat Joe's sister and another former student at P.S. 146, who died during childbirth.
Fat Joe was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame in 2012 and scored a No. 1 hit in 2004 with "Lean Back." He performed a free concert in The Bronx at Crotona Park this summer.
Hasan Mothana, a 10-year-old fifth-grader at P.S. 146, said he was thrilled to see Fat Joe at his school.
"It’s kind of a miracle, and I love his songs and his raps," he said. "It’s so awesome. I listen to it every day."
The rapper said the South Bronx was like "gladiator school" when he was growing up, maintaining that the borough had improved drastically since and would only get better going forward.
"The next one is The Bronx. Brooklyn's got their DUMBO; the next one is The Bronx," he said. "We’re coming up. It’s going to happen. Trust me."