By Jody Rosen
Updated December 27, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

Once regarded as the Bronx’s fiercest battle-rhymer, Fat Joe has become a — pardon the expression — bloated caricature, spouting gangsta clichés over pro forma beats. The rapper’s seventh album, Me, Myself & I, is shrill, dreary, and trend-conscious, with formulaic boasts and production flourishes borrowed from Houston (”Clap & Revolve”). The record is almost redeemed by two cameos from the brilliant Lil Wayne, who packs more wit into one couplet than you’ll hear on a dozen Fat Joe songs. If only Joe’s CD had less of he, himself, and him.