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Fatlip – The Loneliest Punk

There was a time, during the heyday of Young M.C., Tone Loc, and DJ Jeff, when the indie startup Delicious Vinyl ruled the rap roost. When they signed a young group of up-and-comers fresh off the Cali underground scene called The Pharcyde and released the critically acclaimed, commercially successful, Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde, it seemed the label could do no wrong.


Well, fast forward to 2005. Delicious Vinyl isn’t quite the power player it once was. Many fans don’t even know that they’re still around. Young, Tone and Jeff are long gone, or at least pursuing other endeavors. And, well, friends grow apart; as did the Pharcyde after their equally impressive sophomore album Labcabincalifornia. Of course, industry rule #4080, as defined by a Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip might have had something to do with it; the end result remains the same: The California quartet was no more. Left over, though, is arguably the tightest member of the group, the funny and enigmatic, Fatlip.

With his long-in-the-making solo effort, The Loneliest Punk, (there are songs here that were completed as far back as 2001), Fatlip delivers with Strong basslines and knocking beats. His sense of humor and sometimes manic delivery might draw instant comparisons to the almighty ODB (R.I.P.), especially when Lip says that people thought he was a crack addict or during the few times that he decides to sing in his off-kilter timbre. But his irreverent and innovative wordplay stays the course, while his personal and poignant insights separate him from the pack. For example, he details his Pharcyde breakup on the rolling “First Heat.” He talks to the youth, and anybody else out there pursuing their goals and striving to live to the fullest, on the R&B styled “Dreams.” And his storied personal relationship with his baby’s mama is detailed on the endearing “The Story of Us.” Meanwhile, strong guest appearances from Chali 2Na and Shock G, with Humpty Hump, help fill out production that was handled deftly by J-Sw!ft, Sqeak E Clean, and Fatlip himself.

Unfortunately, there are a few too many skit tracks to make this a truly great album, but it is an otherwise enjoyable ride. Take a trip with Fatlip, and find out finally just what’s been up. Oh, the two-disk set comes complete with a DVD documentary and two videos directed by the award-winning Spike Jonze.


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