The world of hip hop is evolving quicker than any other genre going in music today. To be fair, that’s where it’s been since the genre began. However in the last three years we’ve seen the rap game change multiple times, and in many ways those changes are for the better. The one thing that always stands out between those who speak the game and those who rise the game to another level comes in performance. A rapper who’s always stepped up what a rap show looks like is Fat Tony. The Nigerian-American rapper has always brought his A-Game to his performances, even when he was rapping on small club shows back in Houston. Since moving from the South to the West Coast, Tony has upped his game with a string of releases that change how you hear hip hop as well. With his new album Wake Up with producer Taydex, Tony changes the game again with a bold new album that changes how you hear the ever evolving genre.
For starters, the collaboration with Taydex means that the songs have a new and colorful feel to them. Steering from traditional rap in some spaces while coming in hard with sick rhymes on others, Fat Tony has definitely evolved with this album. While the opener “Get Out My Way (feat. Sophia Pfister)” is a breath of fresh air, it’s just the beginning of an album full of fresh cuts. The beat lurks underneath a swirl of synths while Tony cuts bars with his quickness and the track has a hit level that’s like no one else. This occurs throughout the album, though the backing vocal interludes from Pfister make for a nice touch. With “Big Ego (feat. Sophia Pfister & Dai Burger)” Tony drops rhymes above a more dance heavy beat while Pfister comes in on her own as does Dai Burger to add a particular flavor to the track.
But as impressive as the tracks with features are, the songs with just Fat Tony are just as impressive. “Magnifique” has a tone that feels closer to the Fat Tony everyone fell for. The song is different in terms of production, but it’s hard to shake his signature mic sound. That flow he’s spit while burning calories on stage is there and it’s some of the best verse he’s dropped in a minute. “Wake Up” changes things, complete with a more ambient tone to start things off. Few rappers are employing so many different tones, yet here Tony does so like it’s second nature. This is also true on “Cut That,” where Fat Tony comes in and goes hard from the jump. The beat hits like you want, he raps in that head bumping way yet it sounds just as different as it does similar. The rapping until rasp evokes an emotion few rapper can pull off, yet here it feels as natural as breathing.
Though with all of this, the most impressive song of the nine tracks comes on “Omaha (feat. Clarence James).” The production here is minimal but it works perfectly between Tony spitting bars in his quick fashion and James coming in with verse that just holds the track up. The way the song mixes a lot of what’s on the album makes it hard to forget, the catchy pace of the song keeps it in your ears. Now on a larger imprint with press coming from all over, Fat Tony is evolving and Wake Up is just the beginning.
Wake Up is available to purchase physically directly from Carpark Records. It’s also available to stream on all streaming sites or to purchase in all digital outlets. Fat Tony is on tour March 05 in Houston, TX at White Oak Music Hall until April 10 in Los Angeles, CA at Zebulon. His complete tour schedule is accessible here.
Image Credits: Photo by Meredith Truax.