Week in Pop: Cool Calm Chrys, Lemuria, Yared Kiflai

Sjimon Gompers

Claiming it & kicking it in Los Angeles with the city of angels' own icon in the making Cool Calm Chrys; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Fat Tony’s Week in Pop

The face of the franchise—Fat Tony; photographed by Nathanael Turner.

In the August heat of this past summer, Fat Tony followed up the 2013 album Smart Ass Black Boy with the much-anticipated MacGregor Park, taking the name from the local park from Anthony’s upbringing in Houston’s Third Ward. Four years in the making, Fat Tony’s fourth album includes production from Rogét Chahayed & more chronicling the innovative artist’s return to Los Angeles. The move is documented on tracks like “H-Town to L.A.” ft. LA SkyyWalker & iLL Faded that lampoons the west coast decadence, surveying state sanctioned cannabis decriminalization on “Legal Weed”, material minded movements on the chirping Kweku Saunderson “Money All Around”, to the sick styling mode of wisdom & confidence that rolls with the assertive hook reiteration of I got a dream, I ain’t finna give it up on the lead-in single “Swervin'”. Atmospheric & experimental head-spaces are omnipresent on MacGregor Park from the full throttle cruising electro-woodwind gem “Ride Home”, continuing the high-rolling theme on “Drive-Thru”, recounting narratives of the night before in fun anecdotal rhythms on “Last Night” to the brilliance album closer with the title cut that makes Fat Tony’s childhood Third Ward memories feel closer to the contemporary underground movement the artist is currently fostering in Los Angeles (revisit the recent phem collaboration “Amazing” via Text Me Records).

Fat Tony presents exclusive Week in Pop guest selections with the following insightful introduction:

2017 brought hella changes in my life and it feels like one huge relief. I moved back to Los Angeles for the first time since 2012 and released MacGregor Park, my first full-length album since 2013. I’d been working on the album for years, unsure of what songs to include and how I wanted to represent myself on an album that pays homage to my hometown neighborhood Third Ward, Houston. I kept releasing projects and touring over those years but never fully felt like myself artistically. I wasn’t growing as a writer the way I desired to. I was too caught up in a cloud of my own desires and insecurities to focus on expressing myself fully.

In 2016 I tried a few new things. With two friends I created and edited issue one of Found Me, a magazine highlighting Houstonian POCs and a few of our friends abroad. I spent time in Mexico City organizing Function for six months, a residency that featured Hip-Hop performers and DJs from all over North America in an aim to make the diversity of rap’s sub-genres comprehensible for an international audience. Those two endeavors plus EPs with producer P. Morris and Charge It To The Game inspired me to get back into Fat Tony and finish the album I longed to create for years.

When I think back on what helped me get my head together one word comes to mind in bold, big ass letters: clarity. My Week In Pop is dedicated to my ten favorite songs that gave me peace of mind in 2017. I turned to each of these tunes in long Lyft rides, on tour, and at home when journaling just wasn’t enough.

Fat Tony forever; photographed by Mekael Dawson.

Revisit the Ryan Muir video for Fat Tony’s title track “MacGregor Park” produced by Tom Cruz.

Follow Fat Tony via Twitter.

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