Sunday, April 20, 2008

Vocal Booth


Greetings!!! Hope life’s been treating you well.  Today we got a special treat for you and yours.  In this edition of Vocal Booth we chop it up with one of South Carolina’s legends…FAT RAT DA CZAR…in celebration of his new project DA COLD WAR (StreetSide Records)---IN STORES NOW!!!!  Let’s get right to it…

 



For those who may be unfamiliar with you & your work, who are you and how would you describe your style? Fat Rat Da Czar is the name. Champion emcee. 1/3 of the South Cack supergroup StreetSide. Co-founder and acting president of Street Side Records, which was established in 1999. 2 time NSHHL (Non Stop Hip Hop Live) statewide freestyle battle champ as well as a 5-time finalist. I also happen to be a guy who can lay claim to being a pioneer on the hip-hop music scene in South Carolina.  Put it like this, when it comes to South Carolina and hip-hop. I have either started it, finished it, did it, witnessed it, or was some part of it. My style is that my Rhymes Equal Actual Life, which means the music, is real just like me. I’m VA born and raised, but my music career definitely started South of the Border. So the Cack is on my back point blank.

StreetSide Records/Underground RailRoad (Old & New) has grown to become a mountain within the state of South Carolina and Southern Hip Hop.  In your opinion, why was the creation of your own record label necessary? Well I have to give my man Charlie Waters credit for the idea of our own label. I actually wasn’t sure about it at first, but when I saw my man Servin Mic Ervin buck his label off, I was inspired to do the same. We put together what little bit of funds we had to get the label off the ground and shortly thereafter we added some partners: Noah 180, Smokin Jokes, Eldorado, and Misfit. Although is was a big partnership we always worked together like family and tried to make the best of every opportunity. It was the best decision we could have made at the time because we all had great work ethics and a desire to succeed.  We all needed each others drive and determination to get things accomplished. 3 full-length albums, 9 singles, and 12 mixtapes later…I think we got a few things accomplished. Back then, there was no better feeling than walking in the club and handing the dj a slab of vinyl that we wrote, produced, recorded, mixed, pressed, and promoted ourselves. We controlled the whole process, and even better, learned a lot about the music business. We had one of the first independent record labels in the state and almost 10 years later we are still cranking out great music.

 Definitely composed of a crew of artists consciously reluctant to follow the status quo, but equally captivating live on stage & behind the mic, who’s on the team currently, had their number retired, and/or fell victim to the trade? Well the active roster consists of myself, Ali Rah (Hopkins,S.C.), Met Money (Tampa FL./Hopkins,S.C.), Mentality (Kalamazoo, MI./Columbia, S.C.) and Heazy Boi of the legendary Bornaturals (Bad Newz, VA). Misfit has retired from emceeing, and has started getting things popping in our community as the organizer and head coach of his own AAU basketball team, the Lower Richland Promise. Charlie Waters is preparing for his upcoming solo release on GBG/Nextwun Music. I had the pleasure of checking out a few of his joints and it is amazing. Charlie and Misfit are still two of the most gifted artists I know. I was blessed to have worked with that type of talent. The great thing about the new roster of artists is that the have an appreciation for what the original roster did. They understand the foundation that was laid and have full intentions of keeping the legacy going strong and taking it to new heights.

Hip Hop has birthed some of the greatest thinkers and writers that this world could possibly offer, if there is one group or emcee that could be considered a direct link to your style of flava, who would it be and why? I know I could never say one artist would be a direct link to my style. I was influenced by so much great music. From EPMD to Daz and Kurupt all the way to GoodieMob and Tragedy Khadafi. I have been influenced by it all. I always have been a fan of Scarface, Trick, and 50 but hands down Pac and the OUTLAWZ stay in my deck the most. I relate to them best.

Since the passing of both Biggie and Pac, the South has had an extreme stronghold on the direction of Hip Hop and popular culture of the day.  Understanding this, South Carolina has been, as some say ‘overlooked’. Could it be lack of industry knowledge, money, or even organization? Your thoughts? South Cack is definitely the final frontier when it comes to music in the hip-hop genre. I think that a combination of knowledge and organization are to blame for us not having a more notable presence in the music industry. Things are starting to change and peoples’ ideas about hometown artists improving towards better support for local acts. The money will come soon enough, but the knowledge and being organized have to take place now.

What are some of the projects Street Side Records has on the agenda for 2008 and beyond? The Climate Is About To Change. April 22nd will see the release of Da Cold War, which is a full-length project I have been working on since last summer. Shekeese Tha Beast assembled the cuts and guided the journey. It’s a real personal joint. I think the listener will welcome our particular brand of music. It’s refreshing, honest, and some of my best solo work to date. LaFamilia II will be landing in the beginning of the summer. It features the whole Street Side Records roster and some close affiliates. Met Money just released his Hood Legends project, which was mixed and hosted by Shekeese Tha Beast. Mentality and DJ Dyce are scheduled to drop a mixtape together in late May. Heazy Boy and Ali Rah both have solo mixtape releases slated for later this year. Very busy on this side of the street. I’ve also been nominated for an “Artist Anticipation Award” at the Gainesville Music Summit. Logon to  HYPERLINK "http://www.gainesvillemusicsummit.com" www.gainesvillemusicsummit.com to vote.

A Cold War is a war of words, politics, and ideas.  One fought without physical weapons, but devastating nevertheless. Explain the significance behind naming your latest release…Da Cold War!!! I’m drawing a line between me and the funny ass music I’m hearing on the radio. I happen to feel like some of the rappers that I am hearing and seeing in these videos are lying to me. So I am creating a certain separation between what’s real and that “phony bologna”. This is music, so there is no need for me to try to approach all the off brands and set ‘em straight. I let the music speak for itself. People are ready for an alternative because the industry is stale. Time to bring the balance back to the game and Da Cold War is going to set it off.

Official Block Banga handles all of the marketing and promotion for your squad.  Describe their technique. The Block Bangaz take it to the streets for me. They took the time to assess what type of artist I am and then put a strategic marketing plan to make sure that my look, sound, and feel was getting to the market of people that would be interested to in what I was doing. They offer support for all of my projects and shows as well as give a strong web presence. I was very fortunate that I came across a company that believed in me and my vision. I would recommend their services to any artist that needs custom fit promotional campaign. As a matter of fact here’s a plug for them since they plug me so much…I’m going to return the favor. Contact them at  HYPERLINK "mailto:info@officialblockbanga.com" info@officialblockbanga.com, and get your career on the one.

Any last thoughts? --- be sure to include all of your contact info (myspace, email for producers, etc.) Stay tuned to what Da Czar is cooking up. Go cop Da Cold War on April 22nd and enjoy good music. To all the fans that have been showing that genuine love and support, I just want say thank you. If you are not familiar with Fat Rat Da Czar yet, then logon to  HYPERLINK "http://www.myspace.com/fatratdaczar" www.myspace.com/fatratdaczar and see what I got crackin’.  Fat Shouts to Non Stop Hip Hop Live, Official Block Bangaz, Street Side Records, DJ Kingpin, DJ ETC, DJ DYCE, DJ Cannon Banyon, DJ Bam, and DJ Shekeese Tha Beast. Big up to The Cashionista (myspace.com/goldenmean14) and my  UndaGround RailRoad squad for holding me down. All the producers that have been holding me down and helping make great music:  MidiMarc (myspace.com/beatsbymidimarc), Frank Hustle ( HYPERLINK "mailto:frnkhrly@yahoo.com" frnkhrly@yahoo.com), Jah Freedom (myspace.com/jahfree) and Juice (myspace.com/gamefaceproductions) to name a few.

Before we wrap up, the number of classic Hip Hop albums is too many to list here, but if there is one album you would consider your favorite, what would it be and why? So many to choose from, but I will have to say Makavelli’s The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory album. It was so raw and uncut. Pac’s passion for what he was saying was, and in my opinion still is, unmatched. The lyrics were piercing and the delivery was hard, yet right on time. A lot of his verses were one takes. He had completely mastered his style and was totally submerged in the content. That album also saw much more of the Outlawz and the world was able to witness a teacher and his students at one of their best moments. There were a lot of great artists that never properly trained their pupils. Not only was he able to give them the game but they were also right there with him holding him down during some trying times. Even with all that was going on around him he was able to maintain, focus long enough to load, lock in on the target and launch an assault on the mic and the game all in 12 songs

 WORDS OF WISDOM

    Good always come to those who work towards it.  Catch y’all next go round.  Be sure to check my podcast-- http://villainofvinyl.mypodcast.com and hit me up  HYPERLINK "mailto:kingpin@nonstophiphoplive.com" kingpin@nonstophiphoplive.com.  Keep God First!!!

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