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Fabolous has been a working rapper in the music industry for over two decades. Throughout that time, the New York native has made a name for himself far beyond his city, and garnered a legion of fans all around the world.

Fabolous smiling
Fabolous | Andrew Toth/FilmMagic

Fabolous rose to fame in the 1990s

Fabolous first started to pursue a career in music when he was in high school.

Eventually, the young rapper caught the attention of producer and music executive DJ Clue, who had a radio show on New York City’s Hot 97 at the time. He invited him onto the show to rap and his profile grew even larger.

He was given the opportunity to rap a freestyle over The LOX’s hit 1998 single “Money, Power, & Respect” with fellow rapper N.O.R.E.

Fabolous’ name’s spelling was a mistake

The original “Money, Power, & Respect” featured New York icons DMX and Lil’ Kim. Fabolous and N.O.R.E. traded verses on this freestyle.

In the early years of his career in the 1990s, he rapped under the name Fabolous Sport, which referenced Ralph Lauren’s Polo Sport Line. On his second verse, Fabolous incorrectly spelled out his name, which he still goes by today, rhyming “It’s the F-A-B-O-L-O-U-S / In a new S, circling the U.S.”

Fabolous told MTV in 2015 that it was never his intention to have a misspelled name. “I didn’t really have a set name yet, which was weird because I used to just use my initial,” he said. “But I didn’t want to use J as my name because there was so many other Jay rappers.”

DJ Clue insisted, however, that the name was perfect for him. And so, the rapper we now know as Fabolous was born.

“When he thought that was my name and gave me that name — even though it wasn’t the particular name I really wanted to stick with — it kinda just stuck,” he said. “I was like, ‘Alright, maybe it is Fabolous; that’s my name.'”


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Fabolous’ career today

In a 2001, interview with, Fabolous admitted that he never planned on becoming a rapper. “I was just trying to make some money, ya know? I got tired of being broke,” he told the website. “This was something where I could make some money. It just happened for me.”

Of course, Fabolous went on to create a successful career for himself. He released his debut album, Ghetto Fabolous, in 2001. Fabolous’ second album Street Dreams was released in 2003. The album contained the hit single “Can’t Let You Go,” which reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; “Into You” with Tamia also reached No. 4 on the Hot 100.

Fabolous continued to release mixtapes throughout the 2010s. In 2018, he was arrested for domestic violence after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend Emily Bustamante. He was indicted on four felony charges of domestic assault and reportedly accepted a plea deal in March 2019. In October 2020, he and Bustamante welcomed their third child.