I try not to complain too much about music on the radio. And I don’t like to hear people talk about how Hip Hop isn’t what it used to be. They’re right. It’s not. But what they should be doing is looking for something that speaks to them now. Because it’s out there. And today, it’s right here.
I came across today’s featured artist, Fatnice, when Kitchen Mix favorite, Infinito 2017, was getting the word out on this dude via Facebook. What drew me in was the album cover. And if the picture of the toddler laced up in fresh gear doesn’t do anything for you, the music within sure will. It’s got that essence of what Hip Hop records should sound like. Not watered down but stripped of the unnecessary over production that plagues a lot of radio music. Pure and simple and good to listen to with kids in the car.
TKM: Let’s start off with some lyrics. You got your son looking super fresh on the album cover, which is what initially drew me in. Then as I listened I noticed an underlying theme about children. In the song Babies, there’s a lyric that kinda struck a chord with me. Can you talk about this part of the song:
“Must feed ya with food and knowledge
to get the greens like collards
we can send a baby to jail or send a baby to college”
Fatnice: It’s just being a father and an advocate for children. I work with children, as a school counselor, and just to see what the children that I work with go through everyday. Everything we do as human beings has to be for the children. I’m from Chicago and I’m not sure if you’re familiar with what’s going on with the senseless violence that’s going on over there. Children are dying on a daily basis. Every six minutes someone is getting shot out there. That song hit home for me because I have a young child and I work with young children. That’s a part of my life. A part of my life is the babies. So, that song’s really about us as human beings coming together making a better world for the babies. Because when we’re gone, they’re the ones that are gonna inherit the planet – if it’s still here. I remember sitting down putting the concept for that song together – every time I listen to it I get a little touchy because it’s a very emotional piece because that’s what I do. I work with babies everyday.
TKM: You already know how much we have in common, both teachers and fathers to 4 year olds, but another thing that struck me was in the song, My Favorite Things, you named The Alchemist as your favorite book. That’s mine as well. Can you talk about other pieces that you’re reading for inspiration?
Fatnice: Outside of books, I’m a huge reader of liner notes. Call me a nerd if you want to. What I’ve been able to gain just from reading the liner notes of albums – I read a lot of liner notes! The book I’m into now is the new Dusty Groove book. A lot of my friends are in there. I still read books I read as a kid like Judy Blume, poetry like Langston Hughes – because I’m a poet first. A lot of stuff.
TKM: I can’t even tell you how many Hip Hop artists I’ve talked to that are or were at one time educators. What do you think the connection is between Hip Hop artists and the desire to teach the youth?
Fatnice: When you think about Hip Hop, Hip Hop is youth centered. It’s directly connected to the youth. When you think about the individuals that created Hip Hop, they were all children. It was a youth driven culture. So, that’s the connection right there. It makes sense to me that you, or myself have jobs in schools. Or Asheru who’s an administrator in a school – J-Live was a teacher. I think it’s just that energy that you want to give back and who better to give back to than the youth, the people that are coming behind us. Trying to instill in them the principles of Hip Hop or the principles of life. That’s what Hip Hop was founded on. The culture is about peace, love, unity and having fun. That is directly connected to the youth aspect of human beings. So it only makes sense that we end up in schools working with youth.
TKM: What are your thoughts on the relationship between food and the creation of music?
Fatnice: Your question forces me to back to – I heard KRS ONE speak about preparing. Preparation for anything. When you sit down at the dinner table you don’t just sit down and start eating. You prepare the table, you prepare your plate, you think about what you’re going to drink, some people may say grace. There’s this whole preparation type of thing that happens before you even eat. At least where I grew up. I grew up in a household where the table was set. That’s the background that I come from. So, even before I sit down to write or even listen to a record there’s a preparation stage that has to take place. For me, usually before I write – I love bananas. I may get a banana, I love mixing orange juice with Hawaiian Punch or other mixtures with juices and stuff. So, for me, there’s a true connection. Growing up in the late 80’s and 90’s of Hip Hop, a lot of our Hip Hop artists talked about food in their rhymes. KRS ONE had a song called Beef teaching us how it wasn’t good for you. And then you turn around and the Fat Boys are talking about All You Can Eat. There’s a connection with all of that stuff. And particularly for me, I’ve always been a heavy dude. That’s where the Fat came from in my name. I’ve lost weight over the years but that food thing with me and music – when I’m listening to music, I’ve got to have something to eat. Be it a grannysmith apple, a banana, some grapes or smoked turkey, or something.
TKM: You get loose in the kitchen?
TKM: What’s something you prepare often?
Fatnice: Something easy that I prepare often for my son is – we name most of the dishes we prepare in Soulville. We have the popular Soul Sandwich, The Funk Burger and here is my recipe for…
The Good Foot (Rice and Turkey Sage with Vegetables)
Green, orange and yellow peppers
Turkey sage sausage links
White or brown rice (I don’t have a measurement scale, I just know how much to use)
Cut up your peppers, onions and mushrooms (I like chunky – you can cut to your preference).
Place all vegetables in frying pan and sautée with a bit of olive oil.
In a separate pan cook your sage sausage links, after done cut links into mini halves; place links in pan with vegetables adding a bit of crushed red pepper.
Boil rice, upon completion place right on plate or bowl and top with sage sausage mixture and…Enjoy!!
TKM: You got any upcoming projects we can look forward to?
Fatnice: Oh, yessir. On Monday (May 19th) I have a 45 coming out, Peace Love Unity and Havin Fun. There’s a remix on the album, It’s Nice to Meet You. But there are two other remixes on the 45. It’s being released on Record Breakin’ Music but you can also get the digital with some extra little bonuses.
TKM: Have you had the opportunity to travel outside the States?
Fatnice: Yeah, I’ve definitely traveled outside of the country. I actually MC’d for DJ Cash Money for about a year and a half. So, through him I’ve had the opportunity to go to Dubai, Switzerland, Australia, Belgium, Prague, Estonia, London, Canada, so many places.
TKM: Can you talk about food culture over there versus here in the U.S.?
Fatnice: It’s totally different. When you’re eating at hotels and stuff there are a lot of options for Thai Food. Whereas here, you gotta go high and low to search Thai food that’s not expensive. Over there, it’s like Thai on every corner. Or Indian on every corner. You’re paying astronomical prices over here. In other countries, it’s at your fingertips, it’s accessible and to top it off it’s good. Everything just seems so fresh. I remember being in Switzerland and the water system, they have the best water purification system in the world. And just to taste it. The freshest fruits and vegetables that are just inexpensive, man.
TKM: Were you adventurous with the food?
Fatnice: Somewhat. Especially in Switzerland. When you travel places, it’s kinda disrespectful if you don’t partake in what they eat. I taste a lot of things that I probably wouldn’t taste at home. I delved in a little bit. In Dubai, the spicy – I love spicy.
TKM: Talk about touring with Cash Money. That dude is legendary.
Fatnice: I used to be in a group called 84. He originally took us all on tour; myself and two other guys. We were rocking the crowd like MC’s do. It was just a great experience to rock with a DJ of that stature. When you think of DJ’s the first two that come to my mind are DJ Jazzy Jeff and Cash Money. Just to be able to rock with him and for him to embrace me, it was amazing. I’m forever grateful to that guy and just humbled to be able to rock with him.
TKM: From my experience in Europe, the love for the purist form of Hip Hop is a lot stronger and more vibrant than it is in a lot of cities in the U.S. Did you find that to be true?
Fatnice: Let me tell you something. If it wasn’t for my son and him being as young as he is, I’d probably be living in Australia right now. I would be living in Japan. Just because of the respect and how they view Hip Hop culture. In Japan it’s like 1989. Kids are walking around with boom boxes and using SP-1200’s and MPC’s to make beats. I met a guy online who makes some of the best beats I’ve ever heard and he’s from Australia. I would be living somewhere in another country just because how they treat and feel about the culture if it wasn’t for my son, who is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. To step off a plane and go into what they consider the ghettos of Australia and to see the graffiti on the walls and on the trains. I’m like, this is where I’m supposed to be. In America, the type of Hip Hop that I do is under appreciated. Most of the people that really bang my music come from Europe. I have a cassette tape that came with the “Nice to Meet You” release and most of the sales came from Europe and Japan. They honor that aspect of what we do and I can’t do nothing but love it.
TKM: Can you leave us with a message for the youth in regards to either food, Hip Hop or both?
Fatnice: As clichè as it may sound, I believe the children are the future. Everything that I do – I make music so my son can listen to it. I want my son to pull out my tapes and records and my students to be able to listen to my music and get something out of it. The children are our future and I mean that with a passion. I do this everyday. I work with kids more than I’m in the studio. I really do this for the children. I grew up listening to music that inspired me. Boogie Down Productions and stuff like that, it inspired me. I want people to be inspired when they listen to my music and pass it on to somebody else. Any kid out there that hasn’t listened to my music or is wondering what life can possibly be…peace, love and unity – that’s what it’s all about.
Man, I gotta say if you want a current piece of work that embodies the essence of peace, love and unity, and of havin’ fun…grab yourself a copy of Fatnice’s It’s Nice to Meet You. I really think you’re gonna enjoy this project. And like he mentioned, starting today, you can grab his new 45 HERE or just scroll down and stream/purchase a digital copy to take with you anywhere. You can find Fatnice on Twitter to stay connected or give us a follow as we’ll be keeping you posted with his future projects as well. Good music for you…and the kids.