EWA100 - #61. Fatlip - What's Up Fatlip?

61. Fatlip - What's Up Fatlip? (Delicious Vinyl. 2005. From the LP The Loneliest Punk)

(Originally released as a single in 2000.)

Raven Mack: Man, talk about a shot in the dark. Pharcyde had been busted up, that one producer is a crackhead, Fatlip is rumored to be crackhead, the dreadlocked dude was dating that fake Hindu white girl from Real World... fame had tore them apart from their humble goofballs-in-the-ghetto roots. And all of this is why this Fatlip track is one of the best ever, because rather than making a comeback with inflammatory self-hype brimming with tongue-in-cheek confidence, he's straight up about to commit suicide on the mic. But he's not, because it's that self-deprecating humor, so you kinda sense he's cool with everything, but he also knows how fucked up his life has become. This is the teenager time machine shit, where if the you of when you were 17 met the you of now, would they think you were a piece of shit or cool. The rest of the album this came off of is not so good, and I saw Fatlip live and he did a bunch of Pharcyde hits, and we were waiting for him to do this song at some point, but he went off for a minute about how he really wasn't a crackhead despite all the rumors to the contrary, then he did a couple more half-assed Pharcyde songs and stormed off the stage for some reason or another. It was awesome. Just having one fuck-up Fatlip making hardly any music but hitting that high point for a "What's Up Fatlip?" is worth more to me as a rap fan than a hundred Dipsets or Def Juxes or G-Units or whatever's the biggest bling shit or nerd shit that kids in dorms from Villanova to UVA rock out in the comfort of not having to realize how full of shit they are. That's the motherfuckin' thing, life is fucked, and you sit around and feel like you've got a grasp on the gold dust for a weak-ass moment, but then the car blows up or you've got cut-off on the light bill or somebody breaks an arm and you ain't got no insurance, or just all the regular everyday bullshit of life will put a damper on that Friday night hype you can feel in those hot moments with a pocket full of cash and a fresh shirt wrapped around your beer belly. Rap music is this grand illusion that life is nothing but Friday night hype, and the thing is, for some artists, it is, but it's all done on credit, so that they have nothing but Friday nights for like three years straight, and then the rest of their life, after the music industry has squeezed every dollar downloaded ringtone it can out of the so-called artist's fresh style, they're cast aside for a lifetime of Monday afternoons, because on Monday afternoon, when the suckitude of life has stepped back onto your throat, you are not far removed from remembering how great a Friday night hype feeling can be. "What's Up Fatlip?" is one of those rare Monday afternoon blah songs, but that's a big part of life, sometimes it seems far bigger than Friday night hype in the equation, and that's why this song is so goddamned awesome. And fuck you if you disagree.

Mike Dikk: Rap music is so serious most of the time that it’s really refreshing when you find someone telling it like it is in a funny way. Fatlip did what most rappers would never think of doing: tell the truth about his situation. Over the last couple of years, we’ve been privy to a lot of unneeded hip hop comebacks, and they’ve all kind of sucked. Actually, they more than kind of sucked, they did suck. Why? Because dudes are coming out from hiatus after ten years talking about how they’re still ballin’ and shit. I understand it won’t sell you any records if you talk about how over the last ten years you had a couple kids, took a normal full time 9 to 5 job and watched a lot of reruns on Nick At Nite, but telling me you’re still a Big Kahuna making all that scrilla is as believable as the dudes who say the same shit on their first single that’s accompanied by a video and a bunch of plastic whores who could give a shit if your name is Lil Dookie or Yung Pu Pu Platter. That’s why this song is on here. Fatlip took a horrible situation and made it into one of the most refreshing songs of the early '00s. (For the record, This song came out a while back. I’m not sure if it was 2000 or 2001, it was just that the full length kept getting pushed back.) It was kind of obvious since his verse on “Passin’ Me By” that Fatlip was the standout star in the Pharcyde. Just like every other great musical genius, it went to his head and his star faded as quick as it came. Instead of coming back on the solo tip with a song about how he’s still the shit and how he has a chip on his shoulder and fuck those other Pharcyde guys, he drops possibly the best Sad Sack lyrics over the Saddest Sack beat/chorus combo ever, while still keeping his familiar humorous style. Seriously, that beat and chorus conjures up visions of hobos with a handkerchief tied to a stick flung over their backs walking down the railroad tracks to their makeshift shack to eat a can of beans. If there was any song on this list that you may not have heard, it could very well be this one, and I think it’s one of the songs you most need to hear, especially if you’re the type of person that hates rap for all the obvious reasons. If you have heard this song before, you’ve most likely listened to it around fifteen thousand times because it’s that good, but if you missed the “Making Of” video documentary that was on that Spike Jonze DVD a few years back, it’s more than worth tracking down. Reality really sets in when he’s in his own neighborhood telling some kids that he’s a rapper shooting a video and all they ask him is if he can get them Snoop Dogg’s autograph. This song, and the documentary are the closest look you’re going to get into a rapper that’s already been chewed up and spat out by the industry, unless of course you take a ride in Cappadonna’s cab anytime soon (props to him for making that his rap gimmick now though, even if it isn’t nearly as self-deprecating as this song). Luckily in Fatlip’s case, it lit a serious fire under his ass and made him hungry again. Unluckily, his insanely pushed back debut solo album kind of sucked. In all honesty, I listened to it a couple times and wasn’t into it and never went back to it. This one song is way too good for me to ever want to tarnish it in my mind with a mediocre full length.

Download: Fatlip - What's Up Fatlip?

Watch the video:

Here's a link to the documentary, but it's cut up into an annoying amount of parts.