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HPMA Showcase Spotlight: Fat Tony, "Regular Customer at Whataburger In Her Jacuzzi"

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In the weeks leading up to the Houston Press Music Awards showcase on Sunday, August 4, Rocks Off will be profiling a handful of performers each day, mostly in their own words - part of the best top-to-bottum lineup the showcase has ever had, in our humble opinion. See the showcase schedule and ticket information at HPMusicAwards.com, and watch Twitter (@hprocksoff) every day until the showcase for your chance to win tickets.

What are you nominated for? Hey, this is Fat Tony of Fat Tony and I'm nominated for best local rapper. It's an award I've been blessed to win a few times before and it's still a real honor to be a nominee after all this time.

Please list all of your regular band members and what instruments they play. I play the throat and the audience's heartstrings. When I create with producer Tom Cruz he plays the keyboards, drum programming, laptops, turntables, and the BBQ grill. When I'm with iPod Ammo he plays the turntables, laptop, and fish-eye camera device on his iPhone.

Describe yourself in four to seven words. Regular customer at Whataburger in her Jacuzzi.

Who is your single biggest musical influence and why? It's hard to pick just one because it's really all of my influences going through my new mind that makes me who I am to some degree. From the Ramones to Richard Pryor to Public Image Ltd. to R. Kelly to E-40 to Devin the Dude to Prince to UGK to Sade to A Tribe Called Quest to Too Short. They've all played a big part in shaping my ideals of what music should be.

If I had to pick just one influence right now, I'd say my mother. She's the more advance version of myself. Smart, creative, open minded, hardworking, funny, critical, caring, and pretty much everything that I aspire to be one day.

What recordings (if any) do you have readily available? My new album Smart Ass Black Boy is out now on Young One Records! Get it in Houston at Cactus Records or anywhere CDs and MP3s are sold online and in real life.

Have you ever been HPMA-nominated before? When and what for? I was nominated for best local rapper in 2012 and 2011. I won best underground Hip-Hop in 2010, 2009 and 2008.

Where and how often do you perform (publicly) around Houston? I've performed all over this great, gigantic city. I usually play three-five Houston shows a year but I also love to DJ whenever I can. Some of my favorite places to play are Warehouse Live, Fitzgerald's, and house shows that are off HPD's radar.

What is the next step for you and/or your band? Make more songs, more albums, more videos, more merch, continue to grow as an artist, make a movie(s), eat more spicy Pad Thai, drink more Guinness, keep performing wherever I'm invited, and hang tough with all my family, friends, and fans wherever they may be. Expression is a never-ending journey for me.

Finish this sentence: "Houston music is..." Houston music is slow, loud, and bangin all in my trunk.

Fat Tony's HPMA showcase spot is 9 p.m. Sunday, August 4 at House of Blues' Bronze Peacock Room, 1204 Caroline. See more about Tony at fattonyrap.com or facebook.com/fattonyrap.

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