Fat Tony helps keep local sound original
Public relations sophomore Anthony Obi isn’t your average student. By day he spends his time going to class, but at night he is Fat Tony, one of Houston’s best local rappers.
Fat Tony began rapping at the age of 14 and hasn’t looked back since.
"I grew up in the hip-hop age. I was always jamming that as a youngster," he said. "First time I thought I could rap was when I saw Kris Kross and they had a real cool presence and style. They were like 12 and I was 10. I was like, ‘Damn, I can do that!’"
The Houston rap scene has been steadily growing, peaking in 2005 with artists such as Paul Wall and Mike Jones scoring hits across the country. To go even further back, The Geto Boys put Houston on the map in the rap world. Fat Tony hopes to make his mark on a scene where some big names paved the way.
"I got love for every artist out there," Fat Tony said. "Especially Bun B. B and Devin The Dude really hold it down for Houston. The Geto Boys are legendary, kind of before my time even. I appreciate them, but I really came up on Scarface’s solo music," he said.
Houston’s music scene has come under some scrutiny. While there are plenty of local acts, Houston remains in the shadow of Austin. But Fat Tony sees a city rich with talented acts, such as Smash Bro. and Satin Hooks.
"I think people (complain) too much about the music scene here in Houston, which makes things lame," Fat Tony said. "If people would stop and make something happen it would be cool instead of saying, ‘This band sucks, no one comes to the shows.’ I think Houston needs to have more event-oriented stuff – Keep it fresh."
Fat Tony is all about being new and progressive in his thinking and music. He is currently wrapping up work on his latest project, slated for spring release.
"Every record I’m going to try to do something different," he said. "I’m not about having the same old (stuff) every time. It is a good mix of real electric-touch type songs and a lot of songs that are mellow. All kind of different rap styles are on it, all types of different songs. It is going to be a solid record."
The Love Life EP was released last year by Austin-based independent label Same Struggle. Love Life was full of vibrant energy and positive rhymes that Fat Tony has been known for.
"I don’t strive for (the positive vibe), but it is in every song," Fat Tony said. "That is just the type of dude I am; it is just going to come out. I’m all about coming with some righteous stuff, but not being preachy about it and telling people what to do. I’m pretty positive. I love life, and we don’t need all this negativity."
Every young rapper has aspirations of someday making it. Fat Tony is working hard on making it both in music and academically, juggling both.
"I don’t care for the system. I think college is a big hustle, but I do it because it is has got to be done," he said. "I like being around the people. I like getting my lessons right. Music is important to me. Being a student is important to me."
Emcees are popping up everywhere as everyone wants to make it as the next big rapper out of "H-town." Fat Tony offers some words of wisdom to newcomers, a message he tries to practice himself, too.
"Come with something cool, unique, fresh and fly," he said. "Be you, and be a good artist and understand music. You are making art, you are making something that is very important to people."
Fat Tony can be heard at www.myspace.com/fattonyrap.