TheLoneliest Punk

Artist: FatlipTitle: TheLoneliest PunkRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Max Herman

Fatlip will always be known as one of the most animated MCs in Hip-Hop. With his gruff, bluesmen-esque tonality and naturally comedic approach, Fatlip never fails to steal the show. But ever since he got kicked out of The Pharcyde some ten years ago, he just hasn’t been around enough to keep his rep up. Hence why on his rare 12” single—2000’s aptly titled “What’s Up Fatlip?”—he poked fun at his absence from the game, amid many other insecurities, as he rapped, “Yeah, I’m a brotha, but sometimes I don’t feel Black / My girl is white, my game ain’t tight / niggas who ain’t seen me in a while be like, ‘Dude, you aight?’”

After dropping this self-deprecating single in 2000, Fatlip spent another five years lurking in the shadows of Hip-Hop. Now in 2005 he’s finally reemerging with his highly enjoyable full-length debut, TheLoneliest Punk (Delicious Vinyl).

Whether he’s rhyming with a bluesy flow or just kicking straight-ahead raps, Fatlip sounds like he’s having as much fun now as he did on The Pharcyde’s classic 1992 debut album, Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde. Sure Fatlip is no longer a kid. But even when he digs into grown man issues (i.e. baby mama drama, having trouble paying the bills, etc.), he maintains his lively delivery. And as usual, he always kicks nothing but the truth. As Fatlip demonstrates on one of the album’s most revealing tracks, “Writers Block,” his inability to lie has played a large part in his absence from the game. Not becoming one of the many fictitious gangstas on the mic, Fatlip divulges that: “I wish I could make people believe that I slang keys and duck thieves / but I’m sorta like a fucking dweeb / and that don’t sell / I never been shot or been to jail / but I’m beginning to wish I had been / just to put it down on a pad with a pen.”

Despite his bad case of writer’s block, what he’s been through the past few years has completely reignited this charismatic MC. From heatedly documenting his daily hustle (“Joe’s Turkey”) to sharing comical tales of trying to pick up ladies (“Cook”), Fatlip clearly had plenty of inspiration in creating this album. He even takes time to offer his eldest son some reassuring advice on the optimistic closing-track “Dreams.” And with Squeak E Clean, Pharcyde producer J-Swift and himself behind the boards, a nice mixture of blues, jazz and funk-infused beats provide the perfect backdrops for Fatlip’s animated flows.

The one potential drawback to this album is the amount of interludes, with there being one in between almost every song. But while there may only be ten full songs featured, every moment on TheLoneliest Punk proves to be entertaining—even if it’s just a recorded phone message. Welcome back Fatlip.