This week the nascent Young One Records announced its flagship artists: the rappers Children of the Night, Main Attrakionz and one Fat Tony.
Hailing from the southern hip-hop hub of Houston and boasting connections with Das Racist's Greedhead label, Fat Tony's raps are nimble, chock-full of weird wit and idiosyncratic swagger. This and his propensity to rap over beats that sound like they're from the year 2054 situate him nicely on the Greedhead roster.
Tony spoke with Nonstop Sound via email from his California apartment, with his producer, Tom Cruz, "trying to figure out who ate my pizza." Double Dragon, his Young One-backed mixtape, drops June 1, and he has a show at Glasslands June 11 and Santos June 14.
Nonstop Sound: What does releasing music on Young One mean to you? What attracted you to them?
Fat Tony: "It means Fat Tony fans get a double dose of us Denim Guinness Boys this year. Two new records. The first is Double Dragon, a collaborative album with Tom Cruz. Totally produced by him too."
NS: What can we expect from Double Dragon that's different from your other work?
FT: "Just a total progression of staying throwed in the game. More tight flows, tighter songwriting, crazy a-- beats. I feel like every year is a step closer and I'm only getting better. I'm understanding what it means to make a great song every time I make a new album. I think Tom Cruz is really growing in his production too. We're getting wiser and wilder with age."
NS: Bun B called you "Houston's best-kept secret." What did that mean to you?
FT: "What may be the best kept secret to some is well known to a living legend. As a huge fan of the music I love and my home, it's a big honor to have Bun B of UGK speak kind words on my name. And this was way before we even got together to make 'Bad Habits.' I grew up on UGK and appreciate a man like Bun being still involved in the mix enough to holler at a youth like me with some words of encouragement. God bless him."
NS: What's your process when you write? Do you put pen to paper, write in your phone, just commit stuff to memory?
FT: "Straight to memory. Made both of the new albums coming out this year in my head and in the studio. Usually I think up a first verse at home and let the rest flow once we start recording."
NS: How do you come up with song concepts?
FT: "The concepts come from me and Tom Cruz bouncing around ideas and talking things out all day, all night. Sometimes we'll think up a song while he's making a beat in the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes it'll be a song one of us thought up in the past, sometimes it'll be something brand new that comes to one of us suddenly. We learn from each other's abilities, and give each other the respect and trust to add our own touches to the record. I'm happy that Tom Cruz is a producer in the realest sense and not just a damn beat maker. He sticks with the song through the whole process of me writing and recording it, guiding it to where it needs to be. You need your Quincy Jones to be a Michael Jackson."