Houston rapper Fat Tony is one of 2017's biggest emerging artists, even though he’s been in the game for over a decade. He’s spent the last 10 years quietly releasing music online while shying away from the limelight and shameless self-promotion that usually comes with artistry. This year however, his record "BKNY" has gone viral, shooting up to 2.5 million streams in the matter of months. Thanks to prominent placement in Spotify's Discover Weekly playlist, Fat Tony’s music is now showing up in every hip-hop head’s carefully-curated feed and rightfully so - it's a banger.
With all of this recent attention and demand for new music, Fat Tony decided to drop his newest full-length project Macgregor Park, an homage to the historic Texas park and cultural hotbed where he spent his youth. He also manages to avoid every rap cliche on this project, choosing to spit about everyday experiences (like going to house parties and eating late-night at the Whataburger drive-thru) than about how hard it was growing up.
REVOLT TV sat down with the rap veteran to talk about his newest project, his project and get his hot-takes on a few of the tracks from the album.
Listen to Macgregor Park below.
"BKNY" is everywhere on Spotify; what has that been like for you? It feels like it kind of gave me a second life with a brand new audience. I’m just thankful for it. I really like Spotify. Out of anywhere I’ve ever put out music, Spotify is where I have the most fans. My SoundCloud is piss-poor. You know, I think different artists have different audiences that listen to them in different ways. Some artists have a Bandcamp following, some have a SoundCloud following, I have a Spotify following.
What is Macgregor Park? It's the park that is in my neighborhood. Growing up, it was walking distance from my house. Also, the first record ever released by a Houston rapper was called M[a]cgregor Park. I originally was gonna make a song about it, so I made the song and I loved it, and I feel like it was my best song ever. Then I vibed on that energy and went into album mode. That was in 2014. I didn’t completely finish that song until 2015. I was vibing to that beat for a year, writing different ideas. Sometimes a song will take me 30 minutes, sometimes a song will take a year. That was a year-long song.
That's a lot of time to work on a record. Not really. I was listening to an interview with Pimp C, he was talking about the last UGK album they worked on. They have songs on the album that they’d been toying with for eight years. You keep toying with records until they fit. Time and art are kind of separate to me. Art breaks every rule logically when it’s good.
Is there an idea or message behind the album? I wanted to talk about my youth. I wanted to close the door on that. As I inch towards becoming 30, I wanted to look back on being in my late-teens and early-twenties and wrap it all up in a neat package, [and] talk about all the fun I had, the silly times, the times of doubt, and everything else that’s really removed from how I feel now.
You've got a song about going through the drive-thru. Why do you think people don't rap about everyday experiences more often? People like to overlook stuff that’s seen as too common or basic. Especially in rap, it’s about showing off. You can’t show off with something everyone has, but also if everyone is showing off in the same way, doesn’t stunting become regular, too? If everyone is wearing Raf Simons, who is really stunting here? I prefer for my flexing to be left-of-center.
That’s my favorite song on the album. "Swervin'" is a fun song. It’s about not doubting yourself and not sticking to your regrets. The second verse is me talking about how I felt bad for something I did back in the day, but I’m ready to move on. The chorus is me saying 'I’m not giving up,' like, I’m not gonna hit a roadblock and be like, 'Oh, I’m a terrible person' or 'I can’t grow past this.' The first verse though is just me stylin'. I like mixing that up, where I can show that I’m styling on your ass, swaggin' really heavily, but also being vulnerable and really honest all in one. Having that whole spectrum on an album is what makes it really good. You can’t just be like, the coolest guy ever on every song.
It’s a song about trying to remember what was happening last night, being confused. "Ride Home," "Swervin'" and "Drive Thru" are about the tail-end of the party.
That song went through so many changes. I remember I made a demo of the song and sent an email to my publicist saying, 'Yo, I made a song about Whataburger, no one has done this before. This is gonna be my next hit!' That was in 2014. One thing I like about fast food is, it breaks boundaries. It doesn’t matter. Race, gender, social standing, everybody gets drunk and gets fast food. I saw a picture of Kanye at the drive-thru of McDonalds.
I wanted to make a weed song, but I think weed songs are corny. I didn’t want to make another song that’s like, 'Oh, let’s smoke, we’re smoking and having so much fun.' So I decided to take the historical route, like I did on the "BKNY" remix where my verse was about how Brooklyn was founded. In this song, I talk about the criminalization of weed, which has a lot of racial implications.
"Money All Around"
This is a song about coming up: being broke at one point, doubting yourself, having others doubting you, then eventually making it. 'Damn, I made it.' When I’m talking about throwing money all around, I’m talking about being able to pay my teammates and people I work with. Not like, throwing money at a strip club.