No artist personifies the DIY culture of both underground hip-hop and Houston as perfectly as
Fat Tony, the Third Ward-born musician who stormed through the indie-rap gates more than a
decade ago. Through years of writing and performing amid the hip-hop scene of the fourth-
largest city in the country, the man known as Anthony Obi has graced stages with the intent to
always honor his inspirations, musical or otherwise. He’s found himself as an artist among the
likes of fellow Houstonians who mix inward-looking pathos with storytelling and a swagger all
their own—from Devin the Dude to Scarface—as well as like-minded iconoclasts from other
genres such as Prince.
Fat Tony has emitted vital dispatches from his hometown to the world since he was able to pick
up the mic and pass out CD-Rs and post links on MySpace in high school. Following a slew of
independent releases, his 2013 record, Smart Ass Black Boy, introduced Tony’s singular voice to
a national audience. A voice that was introspective but slyly humorous, keen to recording
barnburners about house parties inside gentrifying neighborhoods on the same piece of wax as
an ode to the tough love doled out by his immigrant father.
The winding road he’s traveled in his career reflects the range of his vision—an artist captivated
by the spirit of punk rock and hardcore music, eager to put his on for his hometown as much as
decamp to New York, Los Angeles, or Mexico City for inspiration. He’s always been deeply
interested in human connections, whether as guest lecturer at a contemporary arts museum,
editor of a self-published zine focused on artists of color, or co-host of a talk show on Vice.
Along the way he’s collaborated with such key figures as Bun B, A$AP Rocky, and Maxo Kream,
fronted a noise-rock duo, and picked up accolades from every Texas-based publication
imaginable, as well as national outlets including Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and The Fader.