This Kat is PhatJune 18, 2007 at 10:50 pm | Posted in Interviews | Leave a comment
Written by Cierra Middlebrooks
When people think of Detroit hip-hop the first names that come to mind are Eminem and Royce Da’ 5’9. Well there is one guy who hails from the Motor City and he carries a legacy that is longer than the both of those MC’s combined. Phat Kat is his name and making real music is his game. This guy has been through it all when it comes down to the music business. He was once a part of a group known as First Down that he and the legendary J. Dilla started. The group recorded a classic hip-hop song entitled “Front Street” and the record was supposed to put this Detroit hip-hop group on the map. Unfortunately their label, PayDay Records, ended up folding into a bigger label and First Down was put on the shelf.
Since then Phat Kat has been through a lot more shit that would break the average MC or individual into pieces. In 2004 he signed another deal with Detroit based BARAK Records and thought he had found a place that would back him and his good music. But as we all know shit happens and once again Phat Kat found himself looking for another deal. Shortly after that his best friend, producer, and one time group member, J-Dilla lost his battle with lupus and passed away.
Now Phat Kat has returned to the music industry and he’s doing it with a vengeance. His debut album on Look Records is entitled Carte Blanche and he is serving up a plate full of dope rhymes, head bobbing beats, and real Detroit hip-hop. Check out what Phat Kat has to say about Detroit’s own Black Milk becoming the next J. Dilla and if he really cares that Detroit radio stations won’t play his music.
Who is Ronnie Cash? Is that Phat Kat’s alter ego?
Yes that is Phat Kat’s alter ego, Ronnie Cash is the business person and Phat Kat is the MC.
What was it like working with J-Dilla?
We just had a crazy chemistry together and whenever we worked together it was always just natural. It wasn’t like we used to just go in the lab and have a ritual; it was just always a lot of humor, a lot of joking, and weed smoking. It was a lot of fun working with Dilla.
Were there ever talks about doing another First Down album before Dilla’s passing?
Actually it was, right before he passed we did a European tour and we were talking about getting some tracks together and knocking out a whole First Down album which we were never able to do when we was on Payday records back in 95’.
Now you worked with Dilla before he was known as Dilla and before he got with SV and you’ve also worked with Black Milk. You know a lot of people are saying that Black Milk is the next Dilla. Do you agree with that at all?
I mean Black Milk is Black Milk and Dilla was Dilla! It’s a lot of dope producers in Detroit. Black Milk has his own sound and he learned from all the greats, he learned something from Dilla, the Pete Rocks, and all these other cats. I’ve known and watched Black Milk since he was a little kid and he got his own sound. It’s gone be crazy to see the stuff he’s going to be on in a couple of years.
It’s been three years since “Undeniable” was released and I’m sure you had a lot of shit to get off of your chest before you started working on Carte Blanche. Would you say that Carte Blanche is that stress reliever?
Oh yeah, I’ve been doing a lot of interviews and a lot of people been saying I was just mad! It wasn’t that I was angry, but I was kind of bitter because of the passing of Dilla and the way people was taking the whole thing running with it and making it a hustle. I was mad at that plus the fact that people just don’t get it and nobody was making good music. So yeah, it was a stress reliever, but the next album I won’t be so mad.
Does it upset you at all when the media defines Detroit hip-hop as Eminem and D-12 and leaves out the true MC’s like yourself, Guilty, and Slum Village?
It doesn’t really make me mad because people like Em, D-12, and Royce we all came from the same spot. The whole thing is that the media and other outlets don’t know. You can’t really be mad about people not knowing. It would be different if people wasn’t mentioning cats like myself and Black Milk and Slum Village now, that would be a different story.
I went to the show you had in Detroit a couple of weeks ago at Alvin’s and I remember you saying; “Man I’ve been all over the world, I hear my shit getting played on the radio in Paris! I don’t give a fuck if they don’t want to play my shit on the radio here.” I know that may be the case but it doesn’t bother you at least a little that your city don’t want to play your shit?
The only reason it bothers me is because of the fans and the fans don’t know about my music and they not aware of it. I feel sorry for them and that they won’t get to hear it on the radio like they hear all the other stuff, but people really don’t have that choice. That’s what I’m really sad about.
Do you think Detroit/midwest hip-hop can ever be respected the way that New York hip-hop once was?
Oh most definitely, the show we just did on the Carte Blanche tour in Brooklyn, New York, the shit was crazy. It’s people from Brooklyn that was saying that Detroit is the only city that’s really making hip-hop right now. They not even checking for cats in they own city because everything is watered down and everything sound the same.
The quiet bubble mixtape is something special. Is that a preview of the next album?
Yeah, It was just a whole smorgasbord of past and previous and just a whole broad spectrum of Phat Cat and it’s just a taste of what’s next to come. The next album is going to be crazy.
Who are some people that you haven’t worked with but would like to one day who are not from Detroit?
It’s funny because a lot of people that know me and know about the music that I make, they know that I know a lot of people in the industry. Like I know a lot of the people who’s really making noise, but I just wanted to do the unexpected, with the Carte Blanche I could have easily had some Pete Rock on there and cats like him on the album doing production but that’s what people was expecting and I didn’t want to do that on the first album. But yeah, it’s cats that I definitely will be working with on the next album. It’s going to be a lot of new cats too though because it’s some cats in Europe that got some crazy production.