Recently ML had a chance to speak to Phat Kat. Undeniably one of Detroit’s top MC’s talked about his new album the ‘Carte Blanche’. The album which features Phat Kat working with a who’s who of Detroit’s beatmakers from Young RJ to J. Dilla. Kat talked about how he got 5 Dilla beats for the album, as well as his enjoyment of hockey & the Washington Redskins. It doesn’t need to be said that Phat Kat is ML approved. Read on..
Metal Lungies: What’s going on man?
Phat Kat: What’s up bro?
ML: Not much. How about yourself?
PK: I’m good man.
ML: You’re on tour right now, right, with Slum Village? How’s that going?
PK: Oh man, it’s going great. Man, we are actually back in Detroit right now. We had a show in Detroit. A Detroit show. It was crazy.
ML: That was last night. How did that go?
PK: Oh my goodness man. It exceeded my expectations man. Detroit really came out.
ML: What was the highlight of the night for you?
PK: Just seeing all those people man. It was filled up from the front to the door man. I was impressed, man, with the turnout.
ML: All right. All right. I want to ask you how you have changed from your early days doing 1st Down to today?
PK: I mean I really haven’t changed as far as being Phat Kat. I’ve changed as far as knowing and understanding the ins and outs of the music industry. Then you know I was a kid when I came out. So I’m grown now.
PK: But you know I mean lyrically man you know I grew. The only thing that is consistent is change. You know over the years man I just grew.
ML: Has your approach changed to the way you make your music? Have you gotten more serious? Are you more relaxed with it?
PK: Yeah, I’m more relaxed when I’m going through the process of creating. So yeah, I could say I am more relaxed. I’m just more in tune myself when it comes to the whole process of creating music.
ML: I was wondering what was the first track that you and Dilla did for 1st Down? What was the first track you ever recorded?
PK: The first track we ever recorded was a song called ‘Main Ingredient’. It was crazy man. We recorded that. We recorded ‘Front Street’ and then we recorded “A Day Wit’ the Homies’.
ML: What’s the difference between ‘The Undeniable LP’ and this new album ‘Carte Blanche’?
PK: The difference is the first album ‘The Undeniable’ was a pretty good effort but it wasn’t a ‘Carte Blanche’. I mean, the ‘Carte Blanche’ and ‘The Undeniable’ are two totally different entities because the ‘Carte Blanche’, the whole meaning signifies what I did on my album. I had total control and total say-so over the beat selection, who I wanted on the album. The whole creative process of making this album I had total control over. That was something that I didn’t have on the last album. People will be able to see the difference when they listen to the ‘Carte Blanche’ and go back and listen to ‘The Undeniable’.
ML: Is that what ‘My Old Label’ is referring to with the control that you didn’t have with the previous album?
PK: Yeah, that sums it all up right there.
ML: All right. Listening to the album and going over all the producers and all the features that you have there, were you trying to grab a flavor of Detroit if you will, or were you just trying to focus on Detroit based artists and producers instead of reaching out to people from all over?
PK: Yeah, I mean I got a lot of friends in the industry, man, that are in high places and who are just doing their thing. I kind of went that route. I had the big names and all those type of producers or whatever on the album but that was something that I didn’t want to do on this album. Since I had ‘Carte Blanche’, total say-so over creating it, I just wanted to bring something fresh to the game and highlight the showcase and the talent that we have in Detroit in order to let the world here and see that we really do have something to offer when it comes to production and emcees and vocalists.
ML: Yeah, and vocalists. Why did you go with the album title ‘Carte Blanche’? What was the reasoning for naming your album that?
PK: Well, it was really subliminal and it was really kind of direct. By being subliminal, I was in Paris and I saw this billboard and it said ‘Carte Blanche’. I just loved the way it sounded. I did research on it. Paris is like my second home when I am in Europe man. It’s like I’m at the crib, you know so that was like really showing love to Paris. Like the meaning – the album stands behind the meaning of the whole saying ‘Carte Blanche’.
ML: All right. You mentioned that you got a lot of people from Detroit on your album and that is the direction in which you took it. The whole hip-hop scene in Detroit, would you think it is segmented? Are there different groups that don’t interact or do you think everyone interacts with each other?
PK: Well, for the past years, up to the past with the Dilla and Proof, it was a lot of standoffish – you know, crews wouldn’t work together and all that. So like I said man, it really brought the city together as far as the community of cats just making music.
ML: Do you think it’s going back to the days of the Hip-Hop Shop where everyone hung out there, everyone worked with each other? Do you think it’s going back to those days or do you think it’s going in a different direction?
PK: For one, we really don’t have a central location like the Hip-Hop Shop. That was a central location where everybody would meet up at every Saturday. But we don’t have that anymore. Hopefully we could create that for cats and people to come and experience that. Maybe they can take what we took and take it to a higher level.
ML: Yeah. With the album, you have five Dilla beats on there. Were these all made at once or were they just beats that he did for you over a period of time?
PK: Actually, Dilla gave me that beat tape when we were in Europe during the tour right before he passed away. They were beats that I had already had and heard and that people never used. He was just like, “Man, whatever you are going to get off that man, do what you are going to do.” And that’s what I did. I did what I did.
ML: So they were off legendary beat tapes that Dilla was known for that no one else was going to use? Is that what happened?
PK: Oh, yeah.
ML: But now I bet you a lot of people want it, you know, would want those beats.
ML: That’s the ironic thing.
PK: Yeah man, they are so funny.
ML: Can give me may be a one or two sentence tidbit about that particular track and how it was made or just what the track is about. Is that cool with you?
PK: Yeah, let’s do it.
ML: All right. What about ‘Nasty Ain’t It?’
ML: All right. What about ‘Get It Started’?
PK: “Get It Started’. Oh, that’s deep. You know, authentic Kat.
ML: All right. ‘My Old Label’?
PK: Speaks for itself.
ML: *Laughs* All right. ‘Cold Steel’?
PK: Oh, wow. Instant classic.
PK: Man, that’s a triple threat right there.
ML: You and T3 and Black Milk?
PK: ‘Vessels’, oh wow. Dark. Dark, grimy Kat.
ML: How did you hook up with Truth Hurts for that?
PK: Actually Ben, Truth has the same manager.
PK: And that’s how that came together.
ML: Oh, all right. Was it your idea to reach out to her or something that your manager suggested?
PK: No, when I heard the track, I just heard her voiceover and I’m like, “Man! I want to hear her. I want her on this joint.”
ML: I know you have two beats from Nick Speed on there. Could you just give me a quick thing about him? Talk about Nick Speed.
PK: Man, Nick Speed is, like I said man, he is another one of these producers who is coming out of Detroit that is just going to really, really shock the game man. I mean he’s already producing for 50 and cats like that, so, I mean it speaks for itself man. It speaks a volume.
ML: Yeah. What about Lovely?
PK: Lovely. Oh my – for the ladies.
ML: All right. ‘Cash ‘Em Out’?
PK: ‘Cash ‘Em Out’. Oh wow. That’s, that’s, that’s – oh wow. [Laughs] ‘Cash ‘Em Out’, that’s what Kat’s about.
ML: All right. *Laughs* That’s what Phat Kat’s about. What about ‘Game Time’?
PK: ‘Game Time’. Basically it’s just letting the game know that their time is up man.
ML: All right. ‘Survival Kit’?
PK: ‘Survival Kit’. That’s like the – how can I put it? ‘Survival Kit’ is like a necessity for inspiring emcees.
ML: All right. What about ‘Nightmare’?
PK: ‘Nightmare’. I mean, need I say more? Guilty and Phat Kat on the track.
ML: *Laughs* That is a nightmare. For other rappers.
ML: All right. You give them the ‘Survival Kit’ and then you give them the ‘Nightmare’.
ML: What about “Hard Enough’?
PK: ‘Hard Enough’. Detroit City.
ML: All right. What about ‘True Story – Part 2’?
PK: No fabrication and it needed to be that the truth needs to come out.
ML: And last but definitely not least, ‘Don’t Nobody Care About Us’.
PK: It is still relevant to this day.
ML: Mmmhmm. All right. With ‘True Story’, I know you had ‘True Story’ on your previous album. Why did you decide to continue that on this album and have them make a part two for this album?
PK: Well, actually every album that I do is going to have a ‘True Story’ on there. And then when it is all said and done, you can put all the Phat Kat albums together and listen to the True Story and it is going to be like a movie.
ML: All right. So it is a concept that you’re trying to put out throughout all of your albums?
PK: Exactly. Exactly.
ML: What is the last thing that you bought?
PK: The last thing that I purchased was – wow, I mean, like for real, for real?
ML: Anything. A pack of gum. A car. Anything.
PK: I purchased some sour diesel.
ML: All right. All right. That’s a purchase right there! The other thing I always ask is are you a sports fan of the major sports and if so what are your favorite teams?
PK: My favorite team in basketball is the Detroit Pistons. Football – I’ve always liked – wow *Laughs* -
ML: In football do you have a lot of favorites?
PK: Yeah man. I’ve got a gang of favorites in football. I’ve got a homeboy that plays for the Redskins. His name is Brandon Lloyd.
ML: Yeah, the Redskins are my team actually. So Brandon Lloyd is a good receiver.
PK: Yeah. Yeah, that’s my homeboy man.
ML: How did you meet? How do you know him?
PK: Well he used to play for the 49ers. I was with him out in Frisco. We’ve got a mutual friend. We just hooked up man. He is a real cool dude.
ML: So you are always cheering for him and for the team he is on?
PK: Yeah, I like that dude. Hockey, I love hockey man and I am an avid golfer man. I play golf too.
ML: All right. So are you a Detroit Red Wings fan?
PK: Yeah, I’m a Red Wings fan.
ML: Were you hurt by them getting bounced in the playoffs?
PK: Yeah, but they don’t have the pieces to the puzzle yet.
PK: They are still trying to get them back since everybody – you know.
PK: They’re still not really good so there is only so far that they can go.
ML: Well that about wraps it up. You know, I’m really glad to hear that there are rappers that are hockey fans because I always ask a rapper, “Is there any chance you like hockey?” And most of them just laugh at me. So it’s good to see people watching hockey. That’s my favorite sport.
PK: Yeah man.
ML: Thanks a lot for your time. I hope you enjoy the rest of your tour.
PK: Oh yeah man.
ML: I’m sure you’re going to have a good time with Slum Village. You know? I’m sure you guys have a–
PK: Yeah, we always have fun out on the road, man.
ML: Thanks a lot again. Have a good one.
PK: Thanks, you too bro.
Shout out to the wonderful Ms. McDevitt for hooking it up like always!
You can pick up Carte Blanche, it’s in stores now!
Catch Phat Kat in Canada:
Jun 27 2007
8:00P The Warehouse
Jun 28 2007
8:00P Starelite Room
Grab the Mp3 of ‘Nasty Ain’t It’.