Fat Pimp received a rude awakening right as he thought he'd realized his dream. It was 2008, and having generated enough buzz as a rapper to be courted by different labels, the Dallas native signed with Warner Bros. But, being young and inexperienced when it came to contracts, he soon found himself in the center of a contractual dispute that took two years to resolve and left him without a label. The buzz he had built had dissipated and Fat Pimp had to find a new way to gather momentum. And he had to use the Internet, even though the comments made him angry.
“I hate that shit,” says Fat Pimp, before considering how many people have now watched his videos online. “But I like it now.” He wonders why someone would make negative comments. He has pretty thick skin now, but it took some time. “Back in the day,” Fat Pimp says, “if I knew who you were, I would want to come see you.” It makes him laugh to remember how mad he used to get five years ago, but he has learned to let it go.
Back then, Fat Pimp had entered hip-hop as a producer, working with DSR and Riff Raff before getting noticed for his own music. But he kept dropping singles and set his sights on working in Dallas and Houston. Right away he noticed that people in Dallas respected him more for work he did in other cities and people from other cities did not respect Dallas. He wonders if Post Malone would have received the same level of attention if he had stayed in Dallas. National acts would call local acts onstage in Houston, but Fat Pimp did not see that happening in Dallas.
He mentions working in Atlanta and how he would show up to the studio and Young Jeezy or Kanye West could be working in the same building. “That’s what Dallas is really missing,” says Fat Pimp. “We need to get more artists recording here.” This would allow local artists to network without leaving the city.
Now Fat Pimp seems to be back on track after touring with YG last year and with his latest single, “Uh Oh,” quickly getting over two million views on World Star Hip Hop. As it turns out, the website is not just a place to watch fistfights that end with someone getting hit by a car. World Star Hip Hop is also an important music platform. “I go to World Star every single day,” says Fat Pimp. But he visits the site to hear the newest music. “I don’t condone black on black fighting,” says Fat Pimp. “I hate stuff like that.”
Fat Pimp does not condone human trafficking, either. Like so many other hip-hop artists, he was given a name in his teens that has followed him since. He wanted to be a rapper by the time he was 10 and found his name in 10th grade. “You think you’re a fat pimp or something?” a girl asked him, when he was rapping in a classroom. The whole class laughed and the name stuck.
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Back then things were simple: sports, girls and weed. Once he started saying his name in his songs, people thought it was great. But in a recent radio show interview, he was surprised with questions like, “Have you ever pimped out a girl before?” The answer is no and the name was not meant to be taken seriously. “Nowadays the word ‘pimp’ is so frowned upon,” Fat Pimp says. “I tell people it stands for People Into Making Progress.”
“When you go to college you can really be whoever you want to be,” Fat Pimp continues. He was accepted to Texas Southern University. People asked him his name, asked him if he was serious, and he said yes. He started appearing at open mics and talent shows. BET brought a freestyle battle to campus and, after winning, he appeared on Rap City. “Once you get on TV and they see your name, it stays with you.”
Fat Pimp is known for music that you can dance to and it is something he is proud of. “A lot of people are scared to be honest with themselves,” he says. “I’m known for ratchet club music.” But he also addresses serious themes in his music, like parents not taking care of their kids, police brutality and homophobia. “I don’t feel like every song should be an educational verse,” he says. But it always surprises him when someone says they relate to one of these songs.
Now Fat Pimp is focused on helping with efforts to provide a Thanksgiving meal to those less fortunate. Two hundred turkeys and countless cans of sides will be served at Sycamore Park in Fort Worth and Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in South Dallas. And he still reads the comments. “Anybody black, fat, with a beard,” Fat Pimp says. “They make the Rick Ross jokes.” But he doesn’t take it personally anymore.