In the middle of July, during another random rap show at Warehouse Live, Fat Tony emerged with a distinct smile on his face. It's common with Tony, the Houston indie-rap darling whose last two projects -- 2012's Double Dragon with frequent collaborator Tom Cruz and 2013's Smart Ass Black Boy -- were met with similar groupings of adjectives and praise-like declarations. Tony weaved through multiple well-wishers, sat back on a couch and eyed things for a moment before dipping out to enjoy his night.
In the in-between of Smart Ass... and now, Tony (born Anthony Obi) has reserved his stature as one of Houston's known minor deities. He's performed as a featured artist at a Museum of Fine Arts Mixed Media event in May, was inducted into Red Bull's Sound Select fraternity and kept people geared towards him in slow increments via oddball collaborations ("Love Me," with Maxo Kream on ) and neatly put-together singles ("No More," with producer iLL Faded).
"Ain't no rest in this business," Tony says with a dash of confidence. He wasn't directly asked about a follow-up to Smart Ass..., but the thought of it lingered in the air.
"Mixtapes have never really been my thing; I've always preferred the album format," he says. "I wanted to let Smart Ass Black Boy still sink in. It's got more life in it than the average rap album these days and I didn't want to release a new project and let SABB be forgotten."
It's September now, and Tony is preparing to jump on his first tour his first one since the Double Dragon jaunt with Cruz in 2012. Even without his ever-growing assortment of friends, this latest adventure into the mental land of Fat Tony is still one of wonder -- and fun.
Many of the moves Tony creates now are subtle but eventually become seismic. He's already on the promotion trail for his tour and tomorrow's kickoff show at The Summit with Rai P, DJ Bombón and DJ Good Grief, one that will lead him to join stages with Prodigy of Mobb Deep and the Soul Rebels, to name a few. Complex premiered the video to his latest record, "Insecure" (feat. Trpl Blk and Ahkl Sesh), along with a formal rollout of the tour itself.
"'I'll finally get to see the heathen haven where things happen but don't end up on MediaTakeOut," he says jokingly while listing off upcoming dates. "A couple cities I've never been to on this tour, Las Vegas and Seattle. I'll get to pay homage to the great Sir Mix-A-Lot in his hometown."
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A Fat Tony show boils down to two instances: when it begins, him hopping onstage either rocking a five-panel hat or laid-back swank gear and when it ends, him caked in sweat and a crowd repeating words like "buy my shit" or the humorous chorus to "You Ain't Fat" from his R.AB.D.A.R.G.A.B project.
In between? Nothing but energy that dabbles in Houston traditionalism of slang and pomp, New York rattling thanks to working with Kool A.D. (ex-Das Racist) and other elements. Live, Tony reminds many of the reasons why HPMA voters tabbed him as the Best Solo Rapper this city had to offer for three consecutive years.
Touring for him and being sort of a dual resident (he stays in Brooklyn from time to time) allows him to have friends all over the place. Musicians he trusts.
"I got to handpick opening acts on several shows!" he says with excitement. "I got friends on the Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Arizona, and Chicago shows to ensure that they're extremely off the chain."
"I hate when promoters just let any random artist get on a show," Tony continues. "It has to make sense. I want folks to get a good show all around, not just from my set."
Fat Tony performs with Rai P, DJ Good Grief & DJ Bonbón at The Summit (3536 Navigation Blvd) on Saturday, September 13th from 10 - 2AM. 21+ only, complimentary drinks provided by Remy Martin, Saint Arnold's & Topo Chico. To get tickets, click here. For more info on the tour visit here.
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