Fat Tony hails from UH’s back yard.
The Third Ward native and UH alumnus earned enormous buzz early in his career, winning hardware at three straight Houston Press Music Awards in 2008, ’09, and ’10. Fresh off the release of 2010’s RADARGAB, he worked with OG Ron C to put out the remixed SCREWDARGAB in 2011.
It was a storybook trajectory: Houston rapper gets love from the locals, puts out a well received album, and even receives the screwed up treatment. The hip-hop version of the “local man does good” archetype.
Then he went in a whole new direction.
Rather than sticking around town, Fat Tony headed to New York with collaborator Tom Cruz. Backed by Cruz’s beats, he released the solo Smart Ass Black Boy in 2013 to wide acclaim.
The beats range from spacey to rhythmic, rarely entering banger territory. They slither when Fat Tony gets meta on “Final Destination.” The methodically produced “Fatherhood” allow him to frantically work through his relationship with his parents.
“In my career, my parents weren’t supportive at first, but the more they see me work hard for it, the more they believe in me,” he told The Cougar when the album was released.
Don’t let anyone tell you Fat Tony doesn’t know how to have fun though. He’s released a steady stream of singles since coming back to Houston, and “No More” b-side “Love Me (feat. Maxo Kream)” demonstrates a willingness to simply put aside the people who aren’t worth his time for so he can enjoy life.
Still, nothing in his catalog eclipses “BKNY” from SABB. Accompanied by the New York duo Old Money, Fat Tony muses about the best ways to spend time in his adopted home.
It’s braggadocios without being overwrought. It’s fun without being goofy. It’s cruising music about a city with decent public transportation.
It’s Fat Tony, and you can catch him Day For Night on Saturday, December 17 at the Yellow Stage.
By T.J. Liebowitz