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the beautiful destruction

Thursday, October 27, 2005

WHAT'S UP FATLIP?

FATLIP, THE LONELIEST PUNK
PICTURED: FATLIP, BACK FOR MORE.

WHAT'S UP FATLIP?*
Writer: MATTHEW NEWTON

In the candid documentary What’s Up Fatlip?, director Spike Jonze poses the Los Angeles emcee and former Pharcyde member this question: “Do you ever think about retiring from rap?” After knocking back a large gulp of Crown Royal, Fatlip, dressed in full clown suit and make-up, replies: “Every day.”

Fatlip (born Derrick Stewart) came up in the Los Angeles-area hip-hop scene of the early 1990s as a member of The Pharcyde -- a four-piece known for being the musical antithesis of hardcore West Coast rappers like Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. However, after releasing two classic albums -- 1993’s Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde and 1995’s Labcabincalifornia -- the group parted company with Fatlip, citing a myriad of “personal differences” as the reason for the ousting. Seemingly unfazed by the cold shoulder from his former bandmates, Fatlip regrouped in 2000 to release the brilliantly introspective single “What’s Up Fatlip?” -- which spawned the Spike Jonze music video and documentary of the same name.

Now, more than five years later, Fatlip is finally releasing his solo debut, a 19-song offering titled The Loneliest Punk (Delicious Vinyl). While the album has a few minor blemishes in the form of lackluster tracks, the bulk of the songs offer a fresh-sounding Fatlip, clearly up to task and obviously pleased to be back where he belongs.


Cementing his return with not only a new album but a cross-country tour as well makes the candid words that Spike Jonze captured in his documentary that much more prophetic.

“With the rap thing, I think I’ve ran my course,” Fatlip said, adjusting the red rubber clown nose on his face. “I had my time basically. I would quit, but what else am I going to do?”


*Article originally appeared in the Pittsbugh City Paper:
[CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE]

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