United States of America
9 November 1974, Taylor
16 November 2000, Taylor
(aged 26 years)
Joseph Calleja (November 9, 1974 – November 16, 2000), better known by his stage name Joe C., was an American rapper and musician. His popularity and fame were based on his relationship as hype man and comic relief for fellow rapper Kid Rock.
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Calleja was born in Taylor, Michigan. He had coeliac disease, an autoimmune disease that may cause stunting and dwarfism and some complications in rare cases. Because of this, he had a maximum height of 3 ft 9 in (1.1 m) at adult age. His dwarfism resulted in multiple medical problems. In 2000, he said in an interview with John Norris from MTV that he had to take 60 pills daily and required constant medical treatment. His Los Angeles Times obituary stated Calleja’s medical regimen had required taking 65 pills daily, in addition to undergoing daily kidney dialysis.
Calleja first met fellow Michigan musician Kid Rock at a concert by the latter in Roseville, Michigan in 1994. In a backstage interview conducted by disc jockey Julie Slater of New York FM radio station K-Rock (WXRK) on July 24, 1999 after Kid Rock’s performance at Woodstock 99, the artist said Calleja “used to come to all my shows, he’d be standing on tables in the front row singing the lyrics.”
Kid Rock said in the interview that he mistakenly thought Joe C. was a child. Calleja asked a mutual acquaintance to tell Rock he wanted to smoke a joint with him, Rock said, after which the pair formally met and Rock learned Calleja was actually a 21-year-old adult. “He’s talking and I’m like, would you like a job? He’s like, I can’t do anything. I’m like, it’s not important right now. I was like, you got attitude flying all over this room. I was like, I’ll teach you everything you need to know.”
Joe C. was first featured on the demo “Cool Daddy Cool” in 1995.
He appeared on television, including a guest role with Kid Rock on the animated series The Simpsons, on the Season 11 episode “Kill The Alligator And Run”. Joe C. was a World Wrestling Federation fan and made various references to the WWF stable D-Generation X during concerts. He appeared on the May 18, 2000 edition of WWF Smackdown during a taping in Detroit to drink beer with The Acolytes, and on the May 29 edition of Raw Is War, helping Too Cool win their only WWF Tag Team Championship in 2000 from Edge and Christian.
Calleja became good friends with Justin Jardine and Jonathan Cohen by appearing on several Harlequin Kid and Think Fast! records.
In November 1999, Calleja had to leave the tour with Kid Rock, only appearing in a few programs from this issue. On November 16, 2000, one week after his 26th birthday, Calleja died in his sleep at his parents’ home in his hometown of Taylor, Michigan. No official cause of death was initially announced. A solo album was lined up before his death.
Devil Without a Cause (1998)
“Kyle’s Mom is a Big Fat Bitch” on South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut Soundtrack (1999)
“Early Mornin Stoned Pimp” (2000)
Cool Daddy Cool (2000)
“Devil Without a Cause” (live album Trucker 2006, recorded on concerts in 2000)
“Early Mornin’ Stoned Pimp” (live album Trucker 2006, recorded on concerts in 2000)
Cool Daddy Cool (demo) (1995)
Heaven (demo) (2000)