Joey Fatts is a mysterious artist. He may not tweet often, but when he does his words are impactful and, at times, inspirational. After a sit down with Fatts, one can’t help but be impressed by the one-time homeless rapper's grasp on the music business. While the Cali native has only been making music since late 2011, the quality of his production and lyrical acumen is undeniable. His Chipper Jones mixtape series set the underground on fire and has featured collaborations with A$AP Rocky, Action Bronson, Freddie Gibbs, Danny Brown and more, with Chipper Jones Vol. 3 on the way next week (Aug. 3).

XXL sat down with the Long Beach representative to discuss the origin of his Cutthroat Records label, linking with the A$AP Mob, his new deal with Waka Flocka and much more. —Christian Mordi


On the origin of Cutthroat Records:

Cutthroat Records is my venture that I started for my brothers. The name of the label came from my brothers. They called themselves the Cutthroat Boyz in the streets, so I got the inspiration for the name of the label from there. I don’t own any of my brothers, we're all coming up together. My job isn’t to put my hand in my brothers' pockets, but to protect them. I created this so that we can get money together.

It’s A$ton Matthews, Vince Staples, Eli Myles and myself. A lot of people don’t know about Eli yet, but he can be something special. He can produce and rap. He's from Detroit and I feel like that area is looking for their next underground artist to take off. Everything is taking off now and I'm very excited to see where we can take things in the next year.


On the current music scene in the LBC:

A lot of the people are in the streets out there. There wasn't much of a rap scene for a while. Many made music just to put on YouTube, but most don't put too much thought on sending music out to blogs or attempting to get into magazines. Vince, A$ton and I have put a lot of time into our music and taking it to another level. It’s dope to see the response it’s getting from the fans as well as blogs.


On aligning himself with the A$AP crew:

I met A$AP Yams after making a song with A$AP Ant named "Trill Bitch." A$ton and I had just gotten our Cutthroat brand out to the people. Ant had approached us to do this song; I just wanted to do the hook and A$ton jumped on a verse. We did it and it turned out [to be] a good song.

Ant is a real dude and supports the people he works with. He's the type of guy who will share the music he likes and creates with others with everyone in his circle. We made music together and he really banged with us. Ant went and played our music for Yams, Rocky and the rest of the homies. Yams shot me a follow on Twitter after that and we began to chop it up. Yams then flew out to L.A. to chill with us, and we decided to work with A$AP Yams and his Yamborghini label.

Photo: Facebook


On nearly signing to 9th Wonder's Jamla Records:

9th was one of the first people to reach out to me and show me love. 9th is a real dude; making music with him is an experience. He contacted me and we made a song [titled “All Good”] with Rapsody for his Jamla Is The Squad album. Rapsody is really dope. Shortly after, he offered me a deal, [and] it all felt really good. 9th Wonder is someone that I respect beyond rap music—he's someone I respect as a man. I look up to him. He treats everyone with respect.

Photo: Facebook


On signing to Waka's Brick Squad Monopoly imprint:

My previous manager was working we me and Iamsu! and Sage The Gemini at the time. Those guys really took off fast, and he had to pull off due to how hectic their situation was, which I respected because that was a lot on his plate. I tweeted out that I needed new management. Everyone was hitting me up, from Future's manager to many others.

Milan Ackerman became my manager, and then connected me with Waka. They flew me to South America to meet with Waka. We did some music, a video and then we flew back. He offered me management under his 36 Brickhouse imprint. Waka is like a mentor to me. He’s smart and really knows the game. He was just like me in the sense that he didn’t want his hand in my pocket, but just wanted to get money with me.


On naming his next project Chipper Jones Vol. 3 rather than iLL Street Blues:

I just felt like it made more sense due to my new situation to continue this series for one more take before I go to my album. I have one of the most loyal and interactive fanbases in rap. They always let me know how much they loved the first two parts, so I decided to give them this one as well, while we continue to build upon this amazing sound we have for iLL Street Blues.


On the future of Joey Fatts:

I have Chipper Jones 3 on the way next month [Aug. 3]. I also have a joint EP with 9th Wonder on the way. I plan on following that up with the iLL Street Blues album. In regards to the XXL 2015 Freshman list, I couldn’t see the list happening this year without A$ton Matthews, Vince Staples and myself on it.