Joey Fatts’ Independent Grind Is Paying Off

When it comes to the grind, there are few who can boast more than Joey Fatts. The leader of Cutthroat Records, the Long Beach, Calif.-based label that includes Fatts’ cousin Vince Staples and their longtime friend Aston Matthews, only started rapping and producing at the end of 2012 but he’s already released three installments of his Chipper Jonesmixtape series and an EP, Ill Street Blues, which came out last month. That would be a strong enough output for most, but Fatts isn’t content to just produce and rap; he also directs his own videos, mixes and masters all his projects and just recently booked his own cross-country tour running from March 24 to May 7. The more he does, the more it seems that Joey Fatts can accomplish just about anything.

Fatts’ come up has been aided over the past two and a half years by a series of mentors who have also helped guide him, particularly the late A$AP Yams. Fatts credits Yams for giving him his career and teaching him about the industry, influencing his work ethic to the point where Cutthroat now has a national audience without the backing of the major label system. (For Fatts and Matthews, at least; Staples signed with Def Jam in Summer 2013 and is currently prepping his debut album.) Co-signs from Waka Flocka Flame, 9th Wonder and Curren$y, who all wanted to sign him to their respective labels, only boosted his profile, though he turned each down in turn. Now, with his tour on the horizon and a proper full-length debut slated for Summer, Joey Fatts is looking to take the next step.

Last month, the day Fatts dropped Ill Street Blues, he stopped through the XXL offices to talk about the project, upcoming work with 9th Wonder, his relationship with Yams and Waka and how he’s balancing his independent grind against the constant threat of burning out. Simply put, Joey Fatts isn’t going anywhere. —Dan Rys


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