We are currently in a golden age of music. Artists can literally make whatever type of music they want and easily blend different genres together to make timeless classics. I believe Anthony Obi also known as Fat Tony is the perfect example of this. Tony isn’t new to this either for almost a decade he’s been seamlessly dipping into whatever genre he feels like and making gold.
You might know him as the host of the Super Deluxe show “Thrift Haul”. Where different Internet personalities and comedians would pick out outfits competitively at Goodwill.
I first heard about Tony on the song he did with Puzzle called “All the Best” and I was also actively watching Thrift Haul. For some reason I couldn’t put two and two together and realize that it’s the same person. Anyways Tony just released his album 10,000 Hours so it was perfect for me to interview him on a variety of things.
Deshaun: Why’d you choose the name Fat Tony? The Tony part makes sense, but I’ve always wondered about the “Fat” part.
Fat Tony: I got the name Fat Tony from a band that won a Blink 182 contest on MTV’s TRL in 2001. The contest’s prize was for an up and coming band to visit Blink 182 in their studio. The band that won was named Fat Tony. It was the first time I’d seen the name outside the Simpson’s. I went to school and doodled the name on a Styrofoam cup and my friend started calling me “Fat Tony” and the name stuck. I grew up a chubby boy most of my life so it kinda fit. But people have always questioned it. I guess I’ve never been big enough for what people imagine a “Fat Tony” to look like. In Houston we had a really great rapper named Fat Pat. Now I see my name as a way of honoring his legacy and the great tradition of “fat” & “big” rappers like Big Moe or Big Pokey.
D: Is it really important to you to represent Houston’s culture and history in your music? Because I know RABDARGAB was based on a reading program in your school right?
FT: Hell yeah it is! Houston culturally is such a big inspiration me. I love my hometown’s music legacy. Especially the great artists of Rap-A-Lot’s heyday and DJ Screw. UGK are from Port Arthur, but they’re my favorite group ever and rep Houston enough to be considered hometown heroes in my opinion. RABDARGAB was a pro-literacy program from my elementary days. I named my first album after it because I wanted to represent something local and unique to folks my age.
D: Do you still have people that come up to you today and talk about it when you go home? Because I read you moved to LA recently.
FT: Yeah I’ve met people all over the world that have asked me about the RABDARGAB album. It’s always a pleasant surprise to meet people that have supported you for so long. Especially when you’re an underground artist. I moved to LA at the end of 2016 for the second time. I first lived here in 2012 when I made Smart Ass Black Boy and Double Dragon.
D: Where did you move the first time?
FT: I spent time in Brooklyn most of 2013, moved back to Houston in 2014. Spent a lot of time in Mexico City in 2016 – I started a monthly party called Function where I booked hip hop artists from the USA and Mexico to perform. I was the resident DJ and host too. Then moved to LA on Christmas day 2016. I don’t plan to live here for the rest of my life, but it’s been nice living here.
D: Wow you really been out here. What’s the biggest difference you’ve noticed between the 3 cities?
FT: I think they each give me a different feeling creatively. NYC (particularly Brooklyn) is my favorite of the three cities. I love Mexico City for its international qualities, beautiful architecture, and great food. I love the people in each city and I love how diverse all of them are.
D: Speaking of Brooklyn is there where you linked up with A$AP [Yams]?
FT: Yeah I met Yams on twitter and he asked me to come meet Rocky at one of their sessions. We shared the same engineer Daniel Lynas. He’s still Rocky’s engineer and also a producer too.
D: I’ve heard Yams’ energy and personality were one of a kind so what was that session like?
FT: It was dope! Yams was a great guy and I miss him. He was very smart and funny and loved rap music. I still visit his old tumblr and twitter for a laugh and to see iconic rap photos. The session was dope, it was me and my producer GLDNEYE plus Yams, Nast and Rocky. That night they recorded Peso, and me and my dude recorded Double Dragon.
D: That’s dope man I do that too sometimes. How did it feel to see them take off with that heavy Houston influence?
FT: It felt good, I was surprised to meet people outside of Texas that loved Houston rap so much. I think they’re just as influenced by Memphis rap and Bone Thugs too. They mixed a lot of influences, but Houston is prominent. I credit Yams with a lot of that. He was the aesthetic pilot and brought a lot of folks to the project.
D: Yeah definitely he was a big influencer I feel. Great segue into my next question. What was the inspiration behind the 10,000 Hours title? My first thought was Malcolm Gladwell.
FT: Definitely Malcolm, I feel like I’m at a point as an artists where I can proudly say I’ve put in the hours and energy and now I’m ready to level up in every way. It’s been a full 10 years since my first release. 8 years since my first album. I’m excited for what 2019 will bring! I think I’m better than ever with room to grow.
D: Do certain people look up to you as an OG now? Like do people come up to you an admit you inspired them?
FT: Yeah they do, I feel honored to be seen that way by some people. But I don’t of myself as an OG yet. I still have a lot to learn and much more to accomplish.
D: That’s great man, staying humble with the fame. I think I got like two more questions. How did you feel about Super Deluxe being shut down. To me that was a great channel for content creators to showcase their ideas without many rules.
FT: I think it’s very unfortunate. I hate to see several of my friends lose a job and I hate to lose Thrift Haul. It was a great show and on the rise. I think we’ll all get great work with other networks thanks to the viability we received with the content we created for Super Deluxe.
D: Oh yeah I’m sure it opened hella doors. Especially Thrift Haul like y’all had Rosario Dawson on there. Okay last question, since you have been around for a minute how do you keep it interesting? Because I notice that not many of your songs sound the same so do you think switching it up and trying different sounds is the main reason?
FT: Music and I are stuck together. I’ve been obsessed with it since the beginning. I’m always experiencing new things to write about and learning new ways to express myself. I love performing so as long as I can do that I’ll be making music. I like to try different sounds and challenge myself to be a better writer every time I go at it.
D: Do you find it easy to write over different genres? Because Texas is definitely a country song but you sound so cool on it.
FT: Yes I do. I write to whatever music I want, ain’t no rules in my music.
D: So fire man thank you for this forreal. Is there you want to promote to end it with?
FT: My latest album 10,000 Hours [Editor’s note: This album is out now on all platforms.] Thanks for the chat!
Watch him on Thrift Haul
Listen to 10,000 Hours here