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Hailing from North Oakland, California, Squadda B and Mondre of Main Attrakionz have been rapping together for most of their young lives. Early on, a shared love of rap music led them to put school on the back-burner and focus on producing music with a talented crew of local artists. Over the ensuing 7+ years, (and with an added assist from the world wide web and social media) Main Attrakionz have cultivated a unique and passionate sound, combining opaque atmospherics and lived-in reality rhymes, that stands as one of the most interesting and refreshing in the crowded and fractured world of today's rap underground. Squadda B, who doubles as both producer and rapper, has an instantly identifiable production style that draws from regional rap styles like hyphy and mobb music in the Bay Area, Memphis mixtape obfuscation and the NYC street rap of C-N-N, but also maintains pop accessibility through his use of booming 808s and melodic, floating vocal clips. Simply put: this music sounds like nothing else out right now. Their collaborations with like-minded artists such as Lil B, Clams Casino, and Shady Blaze have only added to post-digital sonics Main Attrakionz have cultivated over the last 2 years. A relentless stream of solo and collaborative releases in 2011, including I Smoke Because I Don't Care About Death, The Shady Bambino Project, Dope Since '91, and their most definitive statement to-date, 808s and Dark Grapes II, have turned heads not only among those on with an Internet connection and an interest in rap music, but have landed them acclaim from publications such as Pitchfork, The NY Times, Complex Magazine, The Fader, SPIN, and Fact Magazine. As the year winds down, Main Attrakionz have a couple of surprises still up their sleeves before turning their focus towards a debut LP, set for release in 2012.
Fat Tony stands at the forefront of new generation of young rappers who get it themselves—a DIY hustler who's built his burgeoning career on a foundation equal parts smarts and swagger. The Houston MC owns the mike with a casual confidence, workmanlike in his delivery whether laidback or lyrical, embodying a new brand of enlightened Southern that's as likely to tip back some lean on your front porch as sit down and school you on Dadaism. Through his simmering solo work and boundary-busting collaborations with Das Racist and A$AP Rocky, among others, Fat Tony has already launched a legacy. As a first-generation Nigerian-American raised in his city's historic Third Ward, heritage has always been important to Fat Tony. One of his earliest memories is of a parade of black cowboys riding down the local main street on MLK Day, blaring the good doctor's speeches over zydeco tracks. His childhood home was filled with records—King Sunny Adé and Jimmy Cliff from his father's collection, his mother's jazz and soul, Granny's gospel. He watched countless hours of music television as a kid, got his first drum kit at 8, and pummeled it to pieces shortly after seeing Nirvana on MTV. Fat Tony became a key player in the Houston music scene as a young teen. Inspired by the independent spirits he looked up to—from the Ramones and the Germs to UGK and Slum Village—he began throwing shows at local venues and friends' houses. He booked bands of all types from all over, hand-made flyers and mailed them to addresses nabbed from the student directory. Meanwhile, he toured regionally and earned a rep as a fierce performer, eventually racking up three consecutive annual "Best Underground Hip-Hop" awards from the Houston Press while studying communications at the University of Houston. In 2010, Fat Tony self-released his debut album, RABDARGAB, a sharply stylish set named after a local literacy campaign from his youth: "Read a book, do a report, get a buck." In keeping with the theme, he offered to send a dollar bill to anyone who listened to the record and wrote it up. (He wound up sending out $27.) Shortly thereafter, Das Racist reprised and rapped over the Murs-featuring "Luv it Mayne" for their Sit Down, Man mixtape, and legendary screw DJ OG RON C offered his "chopped up, not slopped up" version of the record, SCREWDARGAB, in 2011. A veteran at 24, Fat Tony comes to Young One Records knowing the two most important principles of creativity: 1) no matter where his music takes him or what others may say, he alone is responsible for the quality of his work, and 2) in the man's own words, "It's good to be good." With that in mind, he has two full-lengths poised for 2012. First up is Double Dragon, a Cuban Linx-style rapper-producer pairing that finds Fat Tony's go-to beatmaker Tom Cruz sharing mike duties. Second will be Smart Ass Black Boy, which will no doubt be aptly named. -Christopher Martins
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