Fat Tony is not what most people would think of when they think of a rapper from Houston. But it should be. For a few years now, Fat Tony has been creating some of the most interesting and unique hip hop music to come out of the Houston area. It’s not the Dirty South stuff, thankfully–it’s much smarter than that–and his music has won over hip hop and indie fans alike.
His most recent release, 2010’s RABDARGAB, showcases Fat Tony’s talent is a big way and he’s ready to continue to spread the word about his music at this year’s SXSW showcase. Check out his music here.
I recently asked Fat Tony some questions in advance of South By Southwest 2011.
Houston Calling: What are you looking forward to most at this year’s SXSW?
Fat Tony: Looking forward to not stressing playing shows every hour of the day, every single day of SXSW like I have done for the past few years! Looking forward to playing an official showcase, some unofficial shows… Looking forward to drinking and eating for free as often as possible.
HC: Any bands in particular that you want to see during SXSW?
HC: Are you happy with how your latest release has been received so far? You spent a couple of years on it, right? In Houston, I know it’s gotten a fair amount of attention…
Fat Tony: Hell yeah, RABDARGAB is doing great things and people really seem to like it all over. I’ve had a few people from England and Canada hit me up about the album which is recently fantastic and surprising. A lot of people outside of Texas are really into it and that means the most to me.
HC: How do you view the Houston music scene these days? How do you see that it’s changed in the past couple of years?
Fat Tony: It’s been a change with a bunch of new bands emerging and kids growing up and becoming the new scene, but for the most part the vibe of the independent local music scene remains the same.
HC: What do you consider to be your primary musical influences and how do they play into your songs?
Fat Tony: My primary musical influences are all the pop songs, rap music, R&B, and rock ‘n’ roll I grew up listening to like Michael Jackson, Nirvana, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, UGK, Murs, Blink 182, Prince, The Ramones, E-40, The Smiths & Morrissey, R. Kelly. And by pop music I don’t just mean Top 40 hits. I like those too but I more so am referring to any catchy, melodic danceable music I got into over the years. All the underground rap and rock ‘n’ roll had a big effect on my ethics and knowledge of being an independent artist. Bigger than anything I ever learned from the success of a popular artist. But from popular artists like Prince and and Dr. Dre I learned the skill and focus that goes into making innovative pop music.
HC: How has digital technology helped you create your music?
Fat Tony: Totally helped me. I wouldn’t be shit without the internet. Tom Cruz, my producer, and I primarily created the RABDARGAB album via email and transferring files. I’ve promoted myself to most of my fans in the world through the internet. The internet is the ultimate gift and curse to modern music. More so a gift in my eyes.
HC: Other than SXSW, what does Fat Tony have planned, music-wise, for 2011?
Fat Tony: Tom Cruz and I are gonna make another album this summer. I wanna do a mixtape or EP or album or something before this summer with some friends of mine. We’ll see what comes. And other than recording it’s nothing but touring, touring, touring. I’m trying to play everywhere I can even if it’s just a mini-tour or one-off dates every weekend in some city somewhere in the world.
HC: Any music you’ve been listening to lately that you’d recommend?
Fat Tony: OFWGKTA, aka Odd Future. They’re a collective of young bad-acting black skater kids from L.A. that made really good funny, tongue-in-cheek, creepy, scary, personal rap music. They’re pretty good. I like listening to Danny Brown from Detroit a lot too cause he raps good as hell and talks to me on Twitter about E-40 sometimes. I listen to Tom Cruz a lot. He’s got a solo album coming out soon and a new instrumental mixtape out called Music Inspired by the Motion Picture Jerry Maguire that’s probably out by the time you read this. He also just produced a new reggae album by Cen’C Love. She sings really good and happens to be Bunny Wailer’s daughter. Negashi Armada that’s on “Rap Babies” from RABDARGAB has a new project/persona he’s doing called BLUNT FANG. I’m on one of his new songs about hanging out with lesbian girls and I’m pretty excited to hear that record come out soon too. And, of course, I recommend B L A C K I E who is still my favorite “new” artist in the world.
Thanks to Fat Tony for taking the time out to answer these questions for Houston Calling. Be sure to check out his music online at www.fattonyrap.com.
Fat Tony plays an official SXSW showcase at Karma Lounge on Saturday, 3.19.11. Visit the SXSW website for show times.