Creepin' On Fat Tony

Getting geared up to see him in Austin, I reached out to Houston-based MC Fat Tony for a lil pre-SXSW interview. In the email exchange, we chatted about a shit ton of stuff, from my fav cartoon, to his fav music, to who he's been texting, and muuuch more. Reading his responses only confirmed my suspicions that he is in fact one of the coolest humans on our pale blue dot (he <3's BKNY + has a Bikini Kill tattoo, c'mon). Hopefully you can catch some of the veteran attendee's sets @ South by next week (locations/times enumerated at the end of the interview), but if you won't be in ATX in the near future, make sure to get tix for his US tour with The Garden next month!

EMILY BEISER: Since it’s almost that time of year again, tell me what are you are most looking forward to at 2k17’s SXSW.

FAT TONY: I’m looking forward to sleeping more at this SXSW than ever before. This will be my 9th year at the festival and I think I’ve finally mastered how to survive a week or more at SXSW without suffering exhaustion, insufficient funds, or a broken heart. I’m DJing and/or playing a live show every day for 10 days straight. Pray for ya boy.

After being under the impression that your stage name was inspired by a Simpsons gangster for a couple of years now, I just read in an interview that it isn’t... but if it were, which character (excluding Fat Tony) would you have chosen to borrow your moniker from?

I would totally be the former famous actor Troy McClure who has now fallen on hard times because I’m persistent as hell and I have a taste for the sea.

Who are your biggest influences?

I made a post of my top ten influences recently, and here they are:
✨ top ten influences ✨
Sega Dreamcast
Richard Pryor - "That Nigger's Crazy"
UGK - "Diamonds and Wood"
DJ Screw - Chapter 16: Late Night Fuckin' Yo Bitch
Prince - "When You Were Mine"
X - "We're Desperate"
weed (the 5th element of hip hop)
Please Kill Me (the book)
We can also add Miles Davis’ autobiography, Friday (the film), Dada (the art movement), Devin the Dude, E- 40, Bikini Kill, Lil B The Based God, Beastie Boys, Ramones, Black Flag, Bad Brains, and Too Short to that list.

You’re going on tour with The Garden from early April to May, and I’m super excited to see the dichotomy between your sets. How did this pairing come about?

The Garden and their agent contacted my agent and asked me to go on the road with them. I obliged because their music is cool and they dress sharp. Style is very important to me and I can tell if I’m going to vibe with you from the moment you enter the room: your outfit, your demeanor, the pace of your movements, and the way you hold your instrument say more than you know. I love performing on mixed genre bills and prefer audiences with an open mind. 

I noticed that you’re into music from the riot grrrl movement, specifically Bikini Kill. This led me to wonder if you have seen an analogously subversive movement from female hip hop artists attempting to combat the misogynistic content often associated with rap lyrics. If you have, who are some women you think are leading the front? And if not, do you think it’s time that things get shaken up a bit?

Absolutely, especially lately. The female Hip Hop artists that have emerged in the past 5 years are feminine in ways that have been underrepresented in rap music, at least in the era before them (the 2000’s). I think artists like Princess Nokia and Lizzo are at the forefront of this new voice that’s being heard loud and clear in artists like Princess Nokia and Lizzo are at the forefront of this new voice that’s being heard loud and clear in Hip Hop and underground culture, in general.

What is the music scene like in Houston, and how do you think it has shaped you as an artist?

Houston has a rich music history. We’ve been innovators in blues, rap, country, jazz, and more. Houston’s contribution to Hip Hop music and culture is immense! The shit really runs deep! Deeper than what was on radio in the 2000’s! The early to mid-2000’s mainstream Swishahouse era of Paul Wall, Mike Jones, Slim Thug, and Chamillionaire was awesome but what Houston did in the '90s was even more important historically. DJ Screw, the production of Pimp C and music of UGK, Rap-A-Lot Records, Scarface and the Geto Boys, Devin the Dude and the Odd Squad, Big Moe, Mr. 3-2, Big Mike, ESG, Lil’ Keke, and more set the template for what Houston rap music would be remembered for and it is still being imitated today worldwide. The 2017 Oscar winner for “Best Picture” is the film Moonlight, which is filled with scenes showcasing the Chopped & Screwed remix style that DJ Screw popularized. As a famous DJ Screw mixtape once said: “Southside Still Holdin’” and the world ain’t gonna forget that anytime soon, especially while I’m on this earth.

What’s been your favorite album release of the year?

So far I really love Future’s second album release of 2017 (so far) entitled HNDRXX. I think his style is more him than his “turn up” music. Future is an emotional, sensitive vessel that speaks for real niggas like me.

Do you think you’re more of a Ren or a Stimpy, and why?

I’m definitely Ren cause I talk a lot of shit.

What would Fat Tony’s theme song be?

“Pretty Boy Swag” by Soulja Boy. Every time I play it when DJing I announce it as my theme song, and the people agree. I am often “pretty boy swaggin’, in the club I feel sexy."

NY, LA, or Houston?

New York is my favorite city of all-time. I feel most comfortable in a huge city like that full of pedestrians. I love the energy and the sense of community that comes from living on top of each other in a place where everyone faces some kind of struggle. My New York friends are some of the most consistent friends I’ve had in my life. I love walking and don’t like driving outside of road trips or touring. I miss living in New York. I live in Los Angeles now and like it a lot too because it’s easy for musicians to meet and create together, more so than New York where everyone’s schedule is hectic. I love Los Angeles because it’s not humid and humidity is my number one enemy. I do wish the food was better in Los Angeles though. Houston is the restaurant capitol of the United States, in my opinion. Houston is my hometown and I love the food, culture, family, and friends here but I don’t think it is conducive to my music career flourishing at this point in my life. I’ve spent most of my career traveling to New York and Los Angeles and they’ve both given me all of the opportunities that have truly raised my profile. Houston raised me and showed me how to work hard when I got to those cities. If I live in the United States I only want to live in Los Angeles or New York. It makes more sense for my lifestyle, my business, and honestly my happiness.

What was the last text you sent?

I texted my friend Saji Girvan the words “we winning” and I really do mean it. Saji is the brother of my longtime producer GLDN EYE aka Tom Cruz aka Shaka Girvan. Saji just started a new app called PLUG and it’s launching at this year’s SXSW. I’m determined to make it pop!

Any shout-outs?

Shout out to you for being a sweet person with good taste. God speed.

What can fans expect from you throughout the remainder of the year?

A new album from my group Charge It To The Game, a new Fat Tony album entitled “MacGregor Park” and if all goes as planned I’ll be recording another new Fat Tony album this summer and releasing it in the fall. <3

Photo creds to Micah E. Wood.
Don't miss out on Fat Tony's SXSW sets:
3/10 - Live Performance @ Hotel Vegas (10:30pm)

3/12 - Live Performance @ Whip-In (11:00pm)

3/15 - Live Performance @ Scratchhouse Backyard (12:30am - 1:00am)

3/16 - Live Performance @ Indian Roller (Daytime)

3/18 - Live Performance @ Valhalla (12:20am - 12:55am)