Though it’s kept a lot of variety, there’s been a certain saturation of samey rap lately and Fat Tony is certainly trying to subvert that. For his new album, he may not carry the aesthetics of many Don Giovanni artists but he certainly has their punk spirit. If he can harness his writing into something more consistent, he’s got a potent mix of bright electronics and off-the-wall delivery to set him apart.
Through all his mesmerizing productions, Fat Tony offers up his life story right away on “Through The Storm,” and makes it easy to overlook some of the lackluster closing melodies. His bright and preppy take on rap continues on the driving beats of “10,000 Hours” where he shows a whole new electronic world to hip hop that few are exploring right now. Whether he’s racing through licks or shifting to more rhythmic delivery, his ability to swap gears is pretty seamless. Fat Tony takes his most off-kilter rapping on “No Beef” where he sounds like MC Ride at times from a syncopation perspective, but ultimately stays warm and inviting.
The textures from his producers and his non-stop delivery actually open up more interlude-like tracks such as “Charles” and allow them to breathe as short narrative journeys rather than filler. Though something feels all too familiar on “You Like It, I Love It” all the bouncy synth lines expand the song to something beautiful. By swapping between a handful of different derivative vocal styles, Fat Tony avoids letting any one become too boring. Every Sonic ring on “Poet Laureate” reminds you how fun Fat Tony keeps his music, just as his unbelievable word play never seems to stop coming at you. Appropriately Cadence Weapon brings how own experience actually bearing this very title to question the industry and those who critique without knowing all the facts.
As the natural-sounding beat of “Got It Out The Mud” much of the track is surprisingly laidback and is carried by Fat Tony’s somewhat drawl-driven vocals. “Texas” however will prove a lot more divisive but equally intriguing in its ability to rhyme bizarre phrases and use sound clips relentlessly without ever getting old. Fat Tony proves his strength as a vocalist however on “Rumors” where he lands in the middle of a more familiar hip hop beat and goes all out. Though much of the track itself is forgettable his story of gaining inner strength is inspiring enough to keep you listening.
Unfortunately even with its sense of commentary and occasional lightning-fast delivery, “Dream House” is too disaffected and slow to really grab on to anyone. Even with other vocal misfires like on “Nike,” there’s constant sonic bliss for the rest of album especially in percussion. “No Features” flies on its dreamy (often Steve Miller-like) sound and vocals from Amindi K. Fro$t, and even “Been Waiting” manages to escape its frantic energy by letting vocals both float in the ether and constantly move faster.
Words by Owen Maxwell
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