Fat Tony hit the streets of Austin, and he hit them hard.
"The whole purpose of it is that I'm out here trying to hustle. I'm out here trying to get my work out to more people cause it's important to me," said Fat Tony, whose real name is Anthony Jude Obi. "I walked ten miles today, walking from my music publisher's brunch to another publisher's lunch session to doing a podcast to doing this interview to playing my show to meeting this label guy to meeting another label woman."
Fat Tony's love for the music, and the game, is big. In between the seven sets he played at various venues around Austin during SXSW, he saw a whole bunch of artists perform as well.
"At the end of the day I'm a fucking fan of music. And getting off on some brand new music that I haven't heard before, that really impacts me," said Fat Tony. "The fun thing about the festival is you can see so many different types of music and just like hop around and stuff."
The son of an immigrant father who fought in Nigeria's civil war, Fat Tony's sound has an almost national approach. He dabbles in the regional hip hop sounds, while specific songs pay homage to specific neighborhoods of specific towns, from Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn to Third Ward, Houston. The result is an aura that feels grounded in place, yet prone to wander. Fat Tony's music is an anthem for transient , young hip hop artists who are making music for the love of it.
Even though Fat Tony is currently living in Los Angles, Houston comes first.
"Houston has an amazing tradition of hip hop music and I really feel lucky to come from that place," said Fat Tony. "It wasn't like hip hop was this thing that was ostracized. Everybody in Houston is familiar with hip hop culture. It was on the radio, it was on TV. It was spread by word of mouth. It's not like some cities where hip hop is this subculture, that's not really spoken about. In Houston, hip hop is celebrated. And we're aware of our legacy."
Fat Tony points to artists like DJ Screw, South Park Mexican, Swishahouse and K-Rino as people who built the legacy that he is carrying on. For Fat Tony, that legacy isn't just the sound, but the lyrical content as well.
"For the average listener, they think that rap music is all about the positive, about being flashy, about gloating about how great you are. But some of the best music talks about the downsides of life, talks about being broke sometimes, being sad sometimes, being hurt, going through pain, going through trauma," said Fat Tony. "I'm always looking back to the period in my life where it was more innocent. You know what I mean? Where I wasn't concerned about a career or money, when I just first just loved music and loved culture, and loved cool clothes, and just loved my thoughts, and loved expressing myself because there's a purity in that that I think I should always tap into when I make something new."
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