June 02, 2016

Fat Beats "An Oral History" (Red Bull Music Academy)

One of the most important articles I've ever read on Fat Beats; An Oral History via Red Bull Music Academy ... so much to unpack here! For 16 years, a record store called Fat Beats was New York City’s hip-hop Mecca. Opened by Joseph “DJ Jab” Abajian on July 14th in 1994, the spot was situated first in a basement on East 9th Street and then above a bagel cafe on 6th Avenue in the West Village. With records plastering the walls, signed promotional photos and posters covering the ceiling, and local DJs and artists working in the store, Fat Beats felt like a hip-hop junkie’s paradise. During its heyday, Fat Beats elevated itself from a retail venture into a hip-hop community hub. Upcoming rappers would hang out at the store, scheming to get their own releases on the wall, while major label artists and future stars would pass through to perform packed in-stores, with lines to see the likes of Eminem, the Fugees and Gang Starr trailing around the block (and often leaving mayhem in their wake). Fat Beats became a key part of the independent hip-hop scene of the mid-’90s, too, with the store stocking freshly pressed 12"s that fans would hear played on Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito’s late night radio show. During the peak of Fat Beats’ reign, further retail outlets were opened in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Amsterdam and Tokyo (along with a label, distribution arm and website that still endure today) – but its spiritual home remained the spot above the Bagel Buffet on 6th Avenue. For out-of-towners and overseas hip-hop heads, a pilgrimage to Fat Beats was an essential part of any New York City trip, and stories of tourists dropping $1,000 on vinyl were common. Here the store’s founder and the artists who worked, shopped and spent their days hanging out and freestyling at Fat Beats reminisce over New York City’s legendary “last stop for hip-hop.” Continue HERE to read all the stories from the owner, DJ Jab, as well as DJ Premier, DJ Eclipse, Just Blaze, Breeze Brewin, Pete Rock, Evil Dee, Percee P, Craig Kallman, BBAS, Pharoahe Monch, Homeboy Sandman, Ill Bill, Q-Unique, Dru-Ha, Paul Rosenberg, Talib Kweli, EL-P, Buckwild, and more! Fat Beats, '94 til Infinity... Make sure you read the full story HERE!