“They Don’t Know About That 23-and-1:” An Interview with Joey Fatts

TE P. speaks with the Long Beach MC about fatherhood, being self-educated in his pursuit in his music career, and battling depression during his trial.
By    April 4, 2019

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Over the past four years, Joey Fatts lost his mentor, his career, family members and friends. Throughout that stretch, the multi-talented Long Beach rapper/producer navigated the ups and downs of the music industry while juggling the unpredictability of the streets. He’s been through hell and back and he has persevered.

The music he created over that nightmarish span is undeniable. Fatts has carved out his own lane, merging an East Coast flow with a quintessentially LBC delivery. Output is one thing but the quality revealed itself as well. With each project, Fatts showed growth in both his ear for production and his rapping ability. If he never failed to convey the triumph and struggles of the wicked streets of Long Beach, his sound went far beyond the 562.

But right as he was poised to break through to mainstream success, everything was nearly stolen away from him. He was arrested for an alleged drive-by shooting and faced what could’ve been 10-year sentence. At one point, while sitting in an LA County jail cell, he’d all but accepted that everything he had worked for up to that point was gone—and his life would never be the same.

“During the case, that shit was hard. It was hard for me. It was hard for us. It was hard to plan. I didn’t think I was gonna be home. It just was hard. Me planning everything to basically to be gone for a minute. “

With the support of his soon to be baby’s mother and internal conversations with his late mentor ASAP Yams, Fatts fought his case and saw that initial 10-year deal dropped to probation with a suspended sentence. He dodged a major bullet and knew it.

Wasting no time, he began releasing music he’d put away before his incarceration. First came, the Dave East assisted, “U-haul.” ‘Parked’, an eerie murder muzik heat check for everyone who’d crossed or doubted him came next. Then back to back, he followed with “Double Up” featuring Gangsta Gibbs and Ohio rapper Stalley. And with this January’s Chipper Jones 4, he’s released his finest work yet.

In his 28 years breathing, the musician born Joey Vercher has weathered trauma, pain, and loss and put every ounce of it into his music. Never shying away from his past and self-reflection, Fatts will tell you himself, “I’ve been gang banging since ‘99. Most of my fucking life. And that shit is fucking dumb.” Statements like these came often during our conversation as Fatts has a self-awareness that allows him to take a step back and be honest about the crazy life he’s lived.

This same honesty is everywhere in his music. He’s complicated but knows how to communicate it in a way that resonates with his listeners.  A voice for the have-nots who don’t have the talent to rap or produce.

As he continues to make sense of his stint in jail, the loss of Yams, and what he feels was an abhorrent lack of support from friends and family who he’d spent over a million dollars on, he nonetheless stays looking looks forward. With a newborn daughter, a stronger relationship with his baby’s mother, a large amount of music in the stash, and his cult-like following continuing to support the Cutthroat imprint he’s built through the years, he’s excited for what the future may hold.

“I’m just so happy everything fell into place. I couldn’t be happier. I was facing 10 years. Just to be here and have a second chance just feels so good. Life is beautiful. With my daughter. All this music stashed away… It’s dope.”

It’s often difficult to separate the artist from the person. With Joey Fatts, he is who he is. He’s lost it all and now has a second chance. And he shows no signs of slowing down with a new single “iDGAF” featuring Aston Matthews along with a visual that shows he’s having fun again. He may or may not drop a mysterious out of left field project with alternative crooner JMSN. And he’s got a visual arts company in the works. But the music is what matters most to him now. Not the streets. Not the drugs. Not any of the other bullshit. Just the music. And he can’t wait for all of us to hear it. —TE P.

I know it’s been a crazy couple of years for you. What is life like now? What have you been up to?

Joey Fatts: Life is as a grown up now, I guess. I’ve been busy in the industry since I was 21. I turned 28 this year. I got a daughter now. That’s majority of where my time goes. It’s what I do with most of my days. Making bottles. Changing shitty Pampers. My career is in the best position it’s ever been. I ain’t dropped music in a long time but everyone is waiting for something from me. The possibilities are endless. In terms of Cutthroat, and the Cutthroat brand that I’ve built, the clothes are doing amazing. Selling out in a day. Right now, the position and timing is perfect. This summer is gonna be pretty good.

Speaking of your daughter, what’s being a father like—being a parent and being completely hands on while you’re still trying to run a business?

Joey Fatts: Being a parent is fun especially when you have a good baby mother. She takes a lot of stress off of me when it comes to things I need to be doing in terms of work and stuff like that. For instance, she’ll be watching my daughter, spending extra time with her when I’m getting stuff done. It’s dope. I run the company at home. For both of us it’s like a family thing. We have fun. We might end up making kids clothing.

Were you there for the birth?

Joey Fatts: Yeah. I got out a month and a half prior.

How was that experience? I’ve heard it’s one of the craziest rides you’ll ever be on.

Joey Fatts: Nah. That shit is crazy. Like, that shit is crazy. My girl started having like, seizure type movements. Because the pain is so crazy, they say that’s what the body does it. Then she wasn’t able to take the painkiller or epidural because her blood platelets was too low. She would have basically bled internally and died if she got it. She had to do it with no painkillers as a natural birth. It was crazy. The craziest shit ever. Imagine a big ass baby coming out yo’ shit. It is dope though.

Your baby mom definitely plays a major role in your life. Can you speak to your relationship?

Joey Fatts: I’ve been with her since I was 16 years old. She’s the one who got me into doing music. I was a football player. I played football my whole life. When I graduated high school she was still a senior. When she was at school I used to be at her house. She bought me FL Studio, the music program. I used to just play around with it. I never took it serious. I stopped doing music, then 3 years later I picked it up again. Since I was familiar with the platform it was easy for me to learn.

During the case, that shit was hard. It was hard for me. It was hard for us. It was hard to plan. I didn’t think I was gonna be home. It just was hard. Me planning everything to basically to be gone for a minute. I bought her a car. Got her a new crib and stuff like that ‘cause we lost everything. I got raided when I went to jail. They evicted me from my crib and shit like that. My bail was a half-million. I had lawyer fees. All types of shit. So, we didn’t even get to take no maternity pictures, bro. That’s how crazy it was. We just focused on me getting free every day and legal fees. Legal fees was the only thing I was focused on. And her being such a good woman, she didn’t make me feel like I wasn’t doing the right thing.

She made me feel alright with what I was doing, even though I was stressed the fuck out. Trying to get money and shit like that. Even though I was supposed to be giving her all my attention because she was pregnant with my baby. Like when she was pregnant and I was fighting my case, man— I don’t even think I rubbed her belly. It was so hard for me. It was so weird. Like shit wasn’t even real for me. That shit was so perfect and it turned so quick and you start hearing people talking about 10 years and all this type of shit. Man, it was like I dreaming it was crazy. That shit was crazy.

In situations like that you really get to see who’s on ya side…

Joey Fatts: Everybody left me. Everybody left me. Everybody left me bro. Nobody came to my court dates. Not one person. Not one person. I didn’t allow my baby momma to come because I didn’t wanna put that stress on her. I was walking into every court date by myself bro. By myself. Me and my lawyer. Not my brothers. Not my momma. Not nobody. And it’s not to throw nobody under the bus but nobody came for me. Nobody showed up. Not none of my friends. People I was just spending ten, fifteen, twenty thousand a month on. Nobody—nobody called me to check up on me.

It was to the point I was in my car a minute. I turned myself in like September 26th. From around April 23rd to like September 19th, we had no place to stay. I was sleeping in my car and my baby momma was sleeping at her granny house. Because I was tryna get money in position to where I could pay for my lawyer fees and I could leave her some money behind. The last thing I was worried about was myself. I was gonna be alright. And just… It was hard time for me. I was on medication. I was battling depression and anxiety it was a hard time. A lot of people left me. And to be at that point and to be facing ten years and everybody turned their back on you. It was tough man.

Everybody that knows me knows I spent well over a million dollars on my friends. I‘ve had stores. I’ve paid rent for people. I’ve bought people cars. People crashed my M6 that I paid 120 thousand for. I spent a lot of money on my friends and to not have anyone show up for me was a wake-up call. But again, it was hard for me at that moment. I thought it was over for me. I was just like. “Damn. I wish y’all could send me off in the right way.” Like that type of shit. Muthafukas didn’t even give me the decency of that. But that’s what gave me this fuel to go this hard now that I’m back home.

I couldn’t even imagine the gravity of a situation like that. Especially with the way things were going for you before it happened. And given the way you speak about your relationships. What did you learn from it?

Joey Fatts: I was able to justify it by saying I should have never put myself in that situation in the first place. I should have never been out shooting guns knowing I got so much to lose. I should never put those lil’ bitch ass niggas around me knowing they wasn’t about that type of life. That’s how I was able to justify it with myself. I knew better. That’s my fault. No matter the circumstances. No matter what the situation was. I knew better. No matter who egged me on. I knew better. That was my problem and that’s how I justified it. That’s how I was able to sleep in my bunk. That’s how I was able to go process myself into The County without, you know, doing all this crazy shit. Tryna fight guards and all that. Because I was ok with it. I came to terms and I was ok. It was my fault I can’t blame nobody else but myself.

I read you did a lot of reading in the law library, as far as staying on top of your case. Did any of those habits continue? Are you still reading?

Joey Fatts: I read a lot. I’ve always read. Like that’s how I’m able to run my career. I don’t have management. Never been signed. Never been in nothing. I did all this shit myself. I’ve broke and helped many other artists get to where they are. But, I read a lot. That’s just my thing. That’s always been my thing. I love reading. Soul on Ice. Soul on Fire. All these things. There’s a lot of books out there that’s dope bro.

As far as reading and educating yourself, what has that done for your career?

Joey Fatts: It’s just me depending on myself. Just knowing what everybody does and what they are entitled to do. Look, how I feel about it, a nigga who needs a manager is somebody who’s lazy. Don’t know how to be somewhere else. Don’t know how to take they emails. Don’t know how to be on top of they shit. Don’t know they proper splits. Don’t know how to get push sheets to producers. Don’t know how to do none of that shit. That’s a nigga who need a manager. A nigga who don’t know how to do PR. A nigga who don’t know how to finish they tape 90 days before you wanna put it out so you can give it the proper roll out. Those the type of niggas who need a manager.

But Yams taught me. When I got in the game I wanted to be self-sufficient. I knew I wasn’t the best rapper but I wanted to be a jack of all trades. I wanted to be able to do what these nigags couldn’t do. I wanted to be the nigga who locked myself in a room, make the beat, engineer it, and rap on it. Do everything, then put it out. Ya mean? Go directly to the distributor. Do mine own PR. Do my own campaign. Do my own marketing. I wanted to be that guy. I want to be an all-around A&R. I was blessed with the position I was when I first got in the game. Given that basically me and Vince Staples was responsible for us coming up. I helped him a lot he helped me a lot. And we both took off. So, I’m just in an interesting situation. I try to educate myself every day because I know where I wanna be. I wanna be the next great executive—not just a rapper. I wanna do something for the community. I wanna help these kids out.

How has that mindset put you in the position you’re in now? Being this far into the game and not having anybody in ya pocket?

Joey Fatts: It makes me feel right about what I’m doing, first and foremost. It makes me feel like I’m not crazy. ‘Cause you know you got those people telling you, “You stupid! You crazy! You don’t know what you doing! You egotistical! You need to let somebody take the wheel, and do what they need to do to get to the next level!” You know they always try to have those talks. I laugh. Niggas signing 50,000-dollar deals. I make 50 thousand dollars damn near in 3 weeks. I made 75 thousand off clothes in the last two months. It’s laughable but then again it hurts at the same time ‘cause these are the types of things I try to teach these kids. But me being a musician myself, a lot of people think I just wanna have somebody under me. I wanna be the bigger rapper. I tell them it’s not that. That’s just what pays my bills. I have to rap right now.

But believe me. If I didn’t have to rap I’d be doing partnerships with other artists. You see me up in the YBN camp. You see me with all these other kids that’s really doing all type of shit. A lot of shit I can’t even say to you ‘cause I’m under contract to not say too much. All this other stuff man. The power is in the people. The power is in the artists. And they gotta realize that. You don’t need a label—the label needs you. Even the artists I work with. The person that they pay is like, “I need this. I need this.” I’m like, “With or without me, you gonna make it. ‘Cause you forgetting this shit is about music at the end of the day, and you got that.”

A lot of people forget ‘cause they wanna be stuck in the image. A chain, a car, Man— go drop you a hot 16. Go shoot you a good video. And you gonna get where you need to go. All that shit will come later. They gotta be willing to work for the shit because it’s so much better when you work for it. You owe less people. Probably no people when you work for it. But when you just tryna get it out the gate—asking for favors and all that. Niggas gonna be all in ya pocket.

Can’t no nigga say he did anything for me! Can’t no nigga call and ask for any percentage of Joey Fatts at all. Nothing. Like, not a dollar. Can’t nobody call me and asks me for shit! I pride myself on doing this shit himself.

At times do you feel like it’s a losing battle— when you’re talk to these youngins and you’re trying to tell them how to do it?

Joey Fatts: It is a losing battle. It’s not me just thinking it—it is. The kids don’t wanna hear that man. At the end of the day they don’t. That’s just the sad truth. Until I’m proven otherwise I’m gonna keep it 100. They don’t wanna hear it. When I talk to these kids it’s like I’m preaching to ‘em. They like “Damn, Joey! Just shut up. I came here to sip lean, smoke weed, and rap—old man.” And I feel like I’m old now ya mean? I think of when I was in the streets. When I was 16, 15 years old, and used to have that one uncle that used to pull me to side. I was like, “Nigga shut the fuck up and let me go outside.” I feel like that one uncle now.

A lot of these young bulls are not trying to listen. Then we see them crash out. That’s when they wanna come and ask for advice.

Joey Fatts: Then again who are we to judge? ‘Cause life is about experiences sometimes it’s not about that big old house or having that nice car. Some people wanna blow that money and have the experience. It’s about the experience. Who are we to judge? People live their life different, but I’m saying for what I’m in it for. These muthaufkas ain’t in it for the same reason. They don’t look smart nowadays. I remember I was on tour in Europe. My first show in London with ASAP Rocky and I was getting 45 likes on IG. They in it for the quick fame, and clout, and they crash out and burn.

People take these “likes” so serious. Do you think they matter?

Joey Fatts: Curren$y. Rich the kid. Fuckin Tity Boy. The list goes on of muthafukas who been out for years that rebranded themselves and coming crazy. Rick Ross. You gotta think about it. Rick Ross been around since All About the Benjamins. But he was able to turn it into his terms and he waited for his turn. Even LUCKI now. LUCKI that nigga from Chicago. LUCKI been around for years. He came out with all of us. LUCKI had another resurgence with Carti and he still didn’t take off. In 2019 he took off and he’s not bitter about it. People gotta understand. Ya turn will come regardless. Everybody gets their time. You gotta make sure you ready with the content so, you can hit the ground running. Like fuckin’ Future, for instance, Future was rapping for a long ass time. Now everybody paying attention. But now that you see everybody paying attention he’s not letting up. Like, “Here! Look at this. Look at this. Look what else I can do. Look what else I can do.” When the spotlight hits you, you gotta be ready to do them dance moves. Have everybody amazed.

I can tell you listen to a lot of different things. What keeps you creative?

Joey Fatts: Man, I wanna be a billionaire. I wanna be a pioneer. I wanna be successful person. I know music is my stepping stone. While I’m here I’m gonna give it 100 percent. And if that means I gotta listen to Tame Impala, to KISS, to 2Pac—I’m gone do it nigga. I don’t give a fuck! ‘Cause all music is the same. Music breaks down to mathematics. Music breaks down to frequencies you can feel. If you can hit a certain frequency, you can connect to anything. That’s why music is so big. It’s universal. If you can get that frequency, you can get a hit, and that’s the best part about it. Tryna make a hit out of all this shit. It’s like playing basketball and getting it into the hoop. It’s just a little harder. [laughs]

How do you feel in this space in time—creatively?

Joey Fatts: Creatively I honestly feel like nobody can fuck with me right now. It’s whatever. Like nobody, I’m just saying that. Everybody is supposed to feel that way but I’m talking about in terms of everything I’ve been listening to. In terms of what’s to come. I mean, you heard “Chipper Jones 4.” I haven’t sent you the joint that I got with JMSN that nobody knows about. It’s strictly on some pop shit. Like left field shit. Like on some crazy shit. I’ma let them realize, frequency wise, in terms of music, there’s nobody fucking with me. In terms of stories, ‘cause ain’t nobody been through shit. All these niggas punks. Ain’t nobody been through nothing in this muthafuka. Fucking silver spoon, good ass kids, with 3.5 GPAs. These niggas never been through nothing. You got people who been through shit. That’s the people speaking pain. You got people like G-Herbo, Dave East. People like Vince Staples. Those are all people who been through shit. They all feel pain.

Like for instance, that YBN Almighty Jay kid. The music was trash. You see the nigga get sliced? The music is fire now! [laughs] It’s different when you got something to talk about. And you got that pain in there when you been through something. Niggas can connect. They can feel that pain. They can hear that like, “OK. I can hear where he coming from.” When niggas just talking about chopsticks and 30’s, everybody’s talking about that bro. Let me hear about something that’s going on. Let me hear about that love you got for yo momma. Let me hear from yo daughter’s perspective. Let me hear how ya daughter look at you. Let me hear how other people look at you. From the outside looking in. Let me hear you make yourself vulnerable. You talk about all this money and guns you got. That you really don’t got ‘cause you really a bitch! And you broke! That’s what I mean. You’re able to connect to people when you make yourself vulnerable. Like Drake, he on Michael Jackson status right now. He’s been vulnerable since he’s been here. “Look at me. I’m in love with girls. They shit one me. 24/7 these niggas pick on me. I’m light skin from Canada. But guess what? My music is fire!”

That’s how I was able to get this cult fan base. That’s how I’m able to sell so much money in clothes. Even though I didn’t start this shit doing clothes. A lot of people connect with me and this Cutthroat shit. It’s for people who come from nothing. We represent the same struggle. We Cutthroat! It’s for those who come from nothing. It’s for everybody going through a struggle and that’s what this shit is about. It’s about every walk of life. It’s about educating. Each one—teach one.

You hear me talk about all this gangsta shit ‘cause that what I’ve been through. That’s the type of people I attract. But when I get these kids next to me I tell ‘em, “You ain’t gotta do that shit!” I teach them ways for them to get money without having to be in the streets gangbanging. I don’t give my niggas pistols. I give my niggas money. I give my niggas merch ideas. I give my niggas all types of ways to get money. I teach my niggas about royalties, about admins, all that. To where they understand the the game or whatever they wanna do. I’m a good businessman. I was a businessman before rap. I’m an all-around businessman for my people. I’m for my brothers. I’m for everybody tryna do something with themselves.

Do you feel like people aren’t helping each other enough in this game?

Joey Fatts: There’s a lot of people who are in the way and that’s why the game is fucked up. They say they want you to be good and be well off but they secretly don’t want you to be shit. Muthafukas don’t wanna be positive. Everybody wanna be Tay-K 47 til they get hit with them 2 murder charges.

There are a lot of rappers getting booked and getting numbers. What do you think about that? Does it bother you?

Joey Fatts: They don’t know about that 23-and-1. Where you eat, sleep, and shit in the same place. Do ya 10 minutes on the yard to get sunlight and go right back in ya cave. Get yo ass beat every Saturday on non-affiliate day. Even if you don’t gang bang, you gotta fight. These niggas cooped up. Smoking weed in Woodland Hills. Think they know LA until they get caught with a pistol and hit that LA County [Prison] and they gotta deal with those politics. Free the real. Free Drakeo. Free 03. We all caught cases at the same times.

Drakeo had just got out when I was fighting my case and he went back when I was still fighting my case. That shit is sick. I’m thinking damn all these niggas gone I’m about to be like them type shit. Rap and streets don’t go hand in hand. You can’t rap and be in the streets. I’ma be there first rapper to tell you. I am not killing nothing right now. I’m not shooting nothing. I’m not robbing nothing. I’m not serving nothing. I am a rapper bro. All these niggas wanna rap and be in the streets at the same time. I’m cool bro. This how niggas get life. You can’t do both. You giving a face to a name. A lot of times police hear a name but they don’t see a face. Or they always see a face and don’t know a name. It’s always either/or, but you rapping. And you out there doing yo’ thing. Na. It’s over with. It don’t matter who you is.

You gonna get cracked one way or the other. It’s easy to get a conspiracy charge. Niggas gotta remove themselves. At the end of the day all that street shit stupid. I’ve been gang banging since ‘99. Most of my fucking life. And that shit is fucking dumb. You fight on the street with niggas. Then, in the county when a riot break off, the same niggas you fighting with on the street, you gotta be cool with because it’s about race. It’s the Blacks versus the Mexicans, the Peckerwoods, and all that. Everyone is to themselves. So, the same niggas you was tryna kill on the street you friends with them now. And it shows that this is stupid. It’s backwards.

Niggas doing it wrong. You gotta take care of ya people. That’s what the ultimate goal is to not about being out here reckless. I always thought the gang banging shit was to do it, get out, and tell your story. I waited ‘til I started rapping and all this good shit to try to do it all over again. I was moving backwards. It was a wakeup call bro. I don’t have no friends now. I don’t have no rap niggas hanging around me. I tightened my circle up. I don’t have no frivolous shit around me. Even if I feel like I have questions about you. If it’s just a second guess, you won’t be around me.

It sounds like you’re using this second chance and taking it as far as you can take it.

Joey Fatts: I can’t wait til y’all hear this music. I think the time is now. I think people will be paying me more attention after this. I don’t know what it is but I think I got things going so perfect.

Can you speak to how deliberate you’re being with your music right now? It feels like you’re running through a wall.

Joey Fatts: That’s just how I feel right now. Even on my next project, on the “Where We Are” record I said, “I went from sleeping on flours to sleeping on tours. Why I’m the one y’all sleeping on for? That type of shit is hard for me to ignore. Half of y’all niggas block ya’ll blessing ‘cuz you hate on the lord.” That’s how I feel. Like I’m a blessing. Not to sound cocky. Me being a musician—I produce and I’m a team player. It’s not even just me wanting to rap and have the spotlight. I wanna mix. I wanna do everything with everybody.

When I was in the studio with P. Diddy working on the Triple M album, I didn’t even get a placement. But it was something I was able to do. To smile and smoke weed with him. That shit made my day. There’s not too many people like me around. Not too many niggas willing to be a team player just to see something come into fruition. Whether I’m the one making it or not. There aren’t too many people like me and that shows. I feel all around, and in terms of being a musician. And it’s just in terms of my recognition a lot of people sleep on me. From me helping Rocky out with his sound. Teaching him how to produce everything.

Doing his project. I went back to them times when I was walking into that courtroom and not seeing anybody bro. I didn’t know if I was gonna get remanded bail. Or, if I was gonna get to walk out that courtroom. They offering me deals every court date. I can’t even tell nobody bout it ‘cuz ain’t nobody there. I’m prolonging everything. When I was supposed to turn myself in. I tell them I’m gonna come do it my next date. I got sentenced August-something and told them I didn’t wanna turn myself in September because I was worried about this rap shit. And none of my family was at my court date. I was gonna turn myself in right then and there but I was like, “Man, at least let me go tell my family even though there ain’t nobody here and they don’t care.” It was some, let them know what’s going on type shit.

When I was able to actually do music again, I just told myself, I wasn’t gonna take it light. And I really got a chip on my shoulder this time ‘cause these niggas really suck—they trash. Even these LA niggas. In terms of doing songs, they can’t fuck with me. These niggas can’t make better songs than me. These niggas can probably rap better bar for bar. They probably got more money than me and all that shit, but when it comes to niggas doing songs, these niggas can’t fuck with me. You hear songs like “All Night” on my mixtape. I didn’t write one bar on that mixtape. I punch recorded everything on that mixtape. I didn’t write not one thing on that mixtape.

It sounds like it’s not a want, it’s second nature for you to help people. Where did that come from?

Joey Fatts: I’m a people person bro. I grew up as the black sheep of the family. When I was born my pops left. So, I always felt like I was the bad seed. Like I was the one that made everything fall apart. So just me growing up I always got a good feeling out of seeing people smile. That’s what makes me happy. It ain’t the money. It ain’t none of that. I want to change these kids’ life.

I’m what the game needs just in terms of a person. Like I’m not going to steer anyone wrong. I’m not going to tell these kids do some shit they shouldn’t be doing. And that’s for everybody around me. I employ my people. That’s why I’m not rich right now. Because I’m paying muthafukas just to be around me to do nothing. I have business partners and they don’t do nothing. I handle everything creatively. I just like having people there if I need them. I like helping people. Even my baby mom. I don’t allow here to work. She’s not allowed to work. That’s my job to go get that chicken and bring it home. You just help me with my daughter and be you. Work on something creative. Any career you wanna work in. Make a career for yourself. I don’t want you going out here working for nobody. I want us to work on self-equity.

A lot of people hop into this business and say what they need instead of, “How can I help?”

Joey Fatts: You got totally right. It’s always a lot of people sitting on they ass. But mainly in this game you right. I’m an introvert. I don’t like hanging out with people. I’ve never been to a club in my life. Never been to a party. None of that shit. That’s not me. Niggas wanna hang out and talk about nothing. I don’t have nothing to talk about.

With you being the kind of person you are. How heavy can the responsibility be of being in the music industry?

Joey Fatts: It can be detrimental. It can be real bad bro. For people to see you as somebody and you not even that person to yourself. For you to be loved and you don’t even love yourself. It’s a mental problem. It’s deeper than me telling you it’s gonna be alright. You need to see a therapist. You need somebody to talk to. You need to be able to open up. Talks to somebody get ya feelings out there. For those type of people, I hope they not living everyday doing drugs to cope. You have a lot of people here that love you. You got people who want to be here for you.

I’m one of those people who has to remind myself that. It’s times everybody has those down days where they think it’s all over but you got to realize the sun do shine. It can be hard. It can be very hard. Just image the perception of you being a rapper and everybody think you got money and you really hurt. You got no bread. You helping people. Giving them your last because of the perception. But in actually, you hurting to give people yo’ last. You giving people rent money because of the perception. That shit’s bad.

That makes me think of how crazy some of these publications are and how they get it wrong. What was one of the craziest things someone said about you?

Joey Fatts: When I was fighting my case, people was going on interviews and saying shit about me and I couldn’t say anything. You can’t win with the internet. It don’t matter. Real niggas know. To see people throw dirt on my name when I was facing 10 years hurt. That’s why I don’t take my baby for granted. That’s why I don’t take my relationship for granted. At the end of the day my girl could have walked away a long time ago, she didn’t, and I’m happy for that. Through all the bullshit.

We have to talk about “Parked”. What the fuck happened that day? The moment that jun comes on it’s murder.

Joey Fatts: [laughs] Me and Aston made that song when Yams was still alive. I made that beat in 2014. Aston put the hook on it in 2015 right after Yams passed. I just never did nothing with the song. It was just hard every time I listened. The snare was crazy to me. “Pull up hop out nigga get yo’ shit parked.” The hook was alright to me at the time. Then I kept listening to it for years and it was growing on me and I was like, “Damn.” When I got out of jail something spoke to me about it. “Passed gang. Shooter gang.” It’s been a lot going on. Two of my homies had passed. A lot of shit happened since Yams passed. That’s what it came down to. It’s just like a check in. Like, this is where I’m at with my life type shit.

You followed up with another song. What’s the reception been like for “Chipper Jones 4?”

Joey Fatts: It let me know that this is what they want. I dropped it on my birthday and people let me know that’s what they want from me. In the moment, when I’m dropping Chipper Jones 1,2, and 3, they fuck with it but they not appreciating it because you got Schoolboy. You got Tyler the Creator. Everybody talking that shit. You got Kendrick getting hot. You got Action Bronson. You got Earl Sweatshirt rapping. Everybody was talking that shit in 2013 and 2014. Now it’s 2017, ‘18, ’19, and everybody on SoundCloud poppin’ pills. Everybody doing drugs.

So, for me to come out on this murder music. This street shit. This gangsta shit. It’s making muthafukas go back to nostalgic days. Back to what they was doing when I dropped “Chipper Jones” 1, 2, and 3. It was like, “Damn. This what that set sounds like. This is what we missed.” They like, “That other shit is cool. That “Dallas” shit. That shit is dope. But this shit right here, you in yo’ prime with this. This the OG speaking.” That’s how people treat me. The Warhols, the Unos. Everybody posted it on they Instagram and they don’t even make music like that. They make trap music. That’s like some gangsta west coast shit. Niggas treat me like the OG. And I’m like, “Damn, I’m really the OG out here to these little niggas.” When I started rapping in this industry most of these niggas was in the 6th grade. Maybe middle school.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2019 and further?

Joey Fatts: I’m launching the visual arts part of Cutthroat this summer. We have a Dash Radio show coming. I’m going to employ some minorities. It’s a lot of things I’m doing that will come to forefront and a lot of people will see what my vision was all along. It wasn’t just music. I have the #6 song on radio right now. A song a lot of people don’t know that wrote. But I don’t wanna put people business out there. I do write for a lot of people I do a lot of shit. It’s dope. I love my life I love my job. I love my daughter. I love my girl. I love my life. I love music. I love Yams. I’m just so happy everything fell into place. I couldn’t be happier. I was facing 10 years. Just to be here and have a second chance just feels so good. Life is beautiful. With my daughter. All this music stashed away. People like you who wanna share what the fuck I’m working on. It’s dope. I’m in a good position. Capitalizing and letting people know what I’m really about. And everybody’s waiting for me to rap. Now, I can show and prove.

I hear you mention Yams in that. “Stevie World” showed how close you two were. How do you continue his legacy in what you’re doing now?

Joey Fatts: Man, I am Yams. Me and Yams, to keep it all the way 100, me and Yams had a little falling out right before he passed. We didn’t talk for a couple months. But other that from, 2012, 2013 to 2015, everybody know when they saw Yams they saw Joey. When they seen Joey, they seen Yams. And niggas know Yams had that Cutthroat tattoo over his eye for Joey. Niggas know our love for each other and niggas know how close we were. How I’m able to keep it going by just being successful. I could be out of pocket in jail doing crystal meth. Doing some type of drug. I don’t know how I was able to cope with maybe being in jail, doing 10 years knowing what Yams went through to get us where we at.

Maybe that was him granting me mercy to where I got a second chance. ‘Cause he knew I wouldn’t be able to take that. That was the thing hurting me. Yams lost his life behind this shit. My brother really ain’t alive. It ain’t for no other reason than music. If Yams wasn’t in the music industry he would be alive hugging Tatianna. Hugging his momma. Right now, to this day. It was the stress of the music industry. It was the stress of all that shit. I think that lead him to be where he is today. Me just being who I am. Hustling, helping people, teaching people what he taught me. And doing exactly for the next man what he did for me is me being able to make sure his legacy lives on.

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