Phat Kat: Carte Blanche

Phat Kat has a lot to be passionate about. As a matter of fact he should be pretty damn frustrated. Aside from the passing of his longtime friend DJ/Producer J Dilla, the lyrical go-getter rarely gets the credit due for putting Detroit on the map.  His name is often lost when Eminem, Slum Village and D12 discussions take place. Ronnie Cash, the walking split-personality exposes his musical yin and yang on his second solo album Carte Blanche (Look Records). An alias doesn’t make an emcee complex.  It is the well-thought out verses laced tightly like a pair of Adidas with a better-than-just-basic beat that craft a winner. A slightly irate Phat Kat deserves to finally create more buzz in Hip-Hop. Phat Kat’s album is for the listeners.  The tracks are infested with metaphors and witty verses that go in one ear and out the other for those seeking club tracks and easy dance moves.  Cuts like “Cold Steel” featuring Elzhi and “Nasty Aint It” are bass-heavy 90s inspired tracks. At times Phat Kat’s highly-charged energy mirrors Beanie Siegel  or Talib Kweli and in other instances Pharoahe Monch, but he definitely is no Hip-Hop clone.  Phat Kat comes agressively at industry naysayers, snitches and phony colleagues in “Survival Kit.” Also, on the darker tinted “Nightmare,” featuring Guilty Simpson, Kat chants, “We some major label nightmares. Bootleg our own shit, we don’t fight fair. Making deals while I’m chillin in my lounge chair.”Production on the album ranges from the late J Dilla to other budding producers like Nick Speed, Young RJ and Black Milk. A softer and perhaps more yang side of Ronnie Cash shines through on “Lovely” featuring Melanie Rutherford which is a track aimed at the object of his affection,  a curvy Mrs. with “a fetish for chocolate complected men.”  Perhaps the most vulnerable lyrics are on “True Story” which is a reflective song about J Dilla and his musical growth in Detroit and “Don’t Nobody Care About Us.” Phat Kat brings you inside all departments of his mind. The album is unpredictable and refreshing with a variety of tempos, cadences and topics. “Carte Blanche” translates into “having free reign to choose whatever course of action you want.” If real Hip-Hoppers are listening Detroit might have a heydey part deux courtesy of Carte Blanche.

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