One can hardly imagine the genre-busting, culture-crossing musical magic of Outkast, Prince, Erykah Badu, Rick James, The Roots, or even the early Red Hot Chili Peppers without the influence of R&B pioneer Betty Davis. Her style of raw and revelatory punk-funk defies any notions that women can’t be visionaries in the worlds of rock and pop. In recent years, rappers from Ice Cube to Talib Kweli to Ludacris have rhymed over her intensely strong but sensual music. There is one testimonial about Betty Davis that is universal: she was a woman ahead of her time. In our contemporary moment, this may not be as self-evident as it was thirty years ago – we live in an age that’s been profoundly changed by flamboyant flaunting of female sexuality: from Parlet to Madonna, Lil Kim to Kelis. Yet, back in 1973 when Betty Davis first showed up in her silver go-go boots, dazzling smile and towering Afro, who could you possibly have compared her to? Marva Whitney had the voice but not the independence. Labelle wouldn’t get sexy with their “Lady Marmalade” for another year while Millie Jackson wasn’t “Feelin’ Bitchy” until 1977. Even Tina Turner, the most obvious predecessor to Betty’s fierce style wasn’t completely out of Ike’s shadow until later in the decade. Ms. Davis’s unique story, still sadly mostly unknown, is unlike any other in popular music. Betty wrote the song “Uptown” for the Chambers Brothers before marrying Miles Davis in the late ‘60s, influencing him with psychedelic rock, and introducing him to Jimi Hendrix — personally inspiring the classic album ’Bitches Brew.’ But her songwriting ability was way ahead of its time as well. Betty not only wrote every song she ever recorded and produced every album after her first, but the young woman penned the tunes that got The Commodores signed to Motown. The Detroit label soon came calling, pitching a Motown songwriting deal, which Betty turned down. Motown wanted to own everything. Heading to the UK, Marc Bolan of T. Rex urged the creative dynamo to start writing for herself. A common thread throughout Betty’s career would be her unbending Do-It-Yourself ethic, which made her quickly turn down anyone who didn’t fit with the vision. She would eventually say no to Eric Clapton as her album producer, seeing him as too banal. In 1973, Davis would finally kick off her cosmic career with an amazingly progressive hard funk and sweet soul self-titled debut. Davis showcased her fiercely unique talent and features such gems as “If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up” and “Game Is My Middle Name.” The album Betty Davis was recorded with Sly & The Family Stone’s rhythm section, sharply produced by Sly Stone drummer Greg Errico, and featured backing vocals from Sylvester and the Pointer Sisters.
“You’re cool, the engine’s hot, the girls gorgeous. A tankful of gas and an openroad…The rest is up to you!" Different Worlds Music Group/Fat Beats are thrilled to announce the release of the latest album from Skizz (DJ Skizz), “Cruise Control,” available everywhere on July 29th, 2016. Cruise Control is Skizz’s 2nd official producer album. Over the last couple years, Skizz has been working extensively with Your Old Droog, both producing and mixing his music, helping to propel the career of the young MC from Coney Island. He has also been touring with Droog as well as making beats for other noteworthy artists. Skizz has also been busy helping to start the new music label, Different Worlds Music Group. This will be the 2nd official release from Different Worlds. The label released Timeless Truth’s critically acclaimed “Cold Wave” album this past February. “Cruise Control is a progression for me sonically,” says Skizz. “This album takes you from where B.Q.E. left off- it’s still that raw boom-bap, but this album is a bit more laid-back and melodious. It just feels good, like you’re cruising with your lady and the cool breeze is blowing through your hair!”. Skizz recruited a mix of veteran OG MCs (O.C., Planet Asia, Roc Marciano, Evidence, etc) as well as upand- comers (Your Old Droog, Conway, Hus Kingpin, Da Villins,etc) to provide a sonically cohesive album that is set to be the official Hip-Hop soundtrack for the summer of ’16…
My Chemical Romance release their posthumous greatest hits album - "May Death Never Stop You". The collection spans the decade-plus career of this remarkable band, whose unique, theatrical punk-pop sound earned them legions of devoted fans. MCR rose from the East Coast underground to the forefront of modern rock during the early 2000s to become a multi-platinum selling artist, with four commercially successful studio albums : I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love (2002), Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (2004), The Black Parade (2006) and Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (2010). In the form of one final hurrah one final single, Fake Your Death has been included on this album. The track is one of the last songs the band worked on in the studio together. As something of a eulogy for the band, frontman Gerard Way has rendered the track "...a service to those who believed in a band that did not compromise, and a wave goodbye to all. And yes, it is fucking heartbreaking."
Just in time for Cassette Store Day, 2016, Coalmine Records is pleased to release a limited edition run of ‘Land of the Crooks’; the collaborative extended play release from the late Sean Price and Melbourne’s go to producer, M-Phazes. The project finds the longtime underground legend lending his distinctive, Brownsville- bred grimy vocals over Phazes’ rich tracks full of dramatic pianos, thunderous basslines, swinging horns and bold drums. Side-A includes the main passes, comprised of four original tracks with the addition of the Small Professor Remix for ”Murdah Type Thinkin” (feat. Guilty Simpson), while the B-Side includes all of the instrumental passes. Additional features on LOTC include Roc Marciano, Billy Danze (of M.O.P.), Maffew Ragazino, Loudmouf Choir and the Dilated Junky, DJ Babu. Cassettes are manufactured on black matte shells with red leaders, and comes complete with the Andres Guzman designed artwork, inspired by the vintage ‘80s movie, ‘Crocodile Dundee.’ Sean Price was Hip-Hop’s Gray Hulk, a barbarian with the pen, with the sharpest of wits. A true Brooklyn legend...riP! If you’d like to make a donation to directly assist Sean’s family, please refer to his CrowdRise fundraiser: https://www.crowdrise.com/seanp
Jake One's discography reads like a who's who list of some of the greatest AND most successful artists in the history of hip hop. That's what makes him truly unique. Blurring the lines between the underground and overground. Providing sonic backdrops for such incredible emcees as De La Soul, Scarface, Freeway, MF Doom, Evidence, Casual, Elzhi, Brother Ali, and Rakim among others, but polishing that same formula and providing records for the likes of Drake, Rick Ross, T.I., 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, J Cole, Wale, Dom Kennedy, and Royce 5'9", Jake One is one of the exceptions that has worked equally with both of these sides of the industry. Exceptionally. "Prayer Hands", a collection of instrumentals created from gospel sources, includes some of those recordings amongst others that all remind you that Jake One has pretty much become the go-to producer for any major artist that wants some real hip hop shit on their album. And understandably so. His discography is one of the most reputable in the game. On October 21st, Street Corner Music and Rappers I Know are proud to present Jake One's "Prayer Hands"
Seige Monstracity is an anomaly in the music industry. He rides the fence, providing the contemporary soundtracks for successful commercial artists such as YG, Tyrese, Keisha Cole, and Marsha Ambrosius, as well as producing grimey backdrops for underground artists like Bizarre, Bad Lucc, and Namebrand. This is a collection of the latter. Seige’s debut LP contains 12 incredible doses of heavy beats, chopped up breaks, and obliterated samples. A Detroit transplant in Los Angeles, both cities are omnipresent at all times on the LP. “Swahililand” is a west-coast interpretation of the classic “Stakes Is High”. “Careless” revives a classic David Axelrod moment. “Dirt Bag” sounds like a late night liquor store robbery. “Doves” takes a classic from one of our all time greats who we lost recently, and transforms it into a ride thru the hood on a beautiful day in Los Angeles This is not to be missed. Another classic collection of beats from Street Corner Music.
On his latest release, Callus, Gonjasufi glides blissfully between hip-hop, psychedelia and guitar rock, at times suffocating his vocals deep in distortion, though elsewhere, allowing his lyrics to properly sit with you. Made over the course of four years, Callus draws on human ancestry and the state of global politics as lyrical inspirations, keeping Gonjasufi firmly in the conscious rapper box. The vibe is murky, harsh and jarring on the aptly titled album, truly creating a sound that is his own. The opening tracks, ‘Your Maker’ and ‘Maniac Depressant’ are industrial Americana at their core, the lyrical content giving us an insight into the fractured mind of the creator. Elsewhere on the album, heavy effects define ‘The Conspiracy’, with the phlanger insinuating a weepiness to the dubby drones and hanging drums. The album is certainly an entity of its own, and we suggest you rejoice in its offerings. Available on cassette for the first time for Cassette Store Day, along with an exclusive Callus patch!
Swet Shop Boys (SSB) have arrived with Cashmere (via Customs), the debut from Queens, New York’s Heems (Himanshu Suri) and NW London’s Riz MC (Riz Ahmed). Both are prolific artists, actors and activists in their own right, now bringing their creative experience and the riches of their working class immigrant roots together. Rounding out the trio is British producer Redinho, providing the soundtrack for songs like their first single ‘T5’, where the emcees lament the discrimination they face as they amass frequent flyer miles while traveling the world for work. Cashmere seems timely in a world where the US and UK look across the pond for different reasons: Trump and Brexit, trap and grime. From Heems' poignant debut Eat, Pray Thug, to Riz’s acclaimed mixtape Englistan, the Trans-Atlantic, Indo-Pak duo have proudly fused their worlds together here. Musically, the palette draws from a gumbo of Qawwali hand claps, hype harmonium, Bollywood string drama, spiralling sitars, Western synths, and an arsenal of drums - from 808’s to tablas and tars, dholaks and doumbeks. Production on the record from Redinho provides the heat for their melting pot. His debut solo album earned praise from Mark Ronson, Jessie Ware, and Hudson Mohawke who brought him out on tour in the last year. Heems started his career with Das Racist, and has kept busy since with his label Greedhead, a series of university lectures, and rapping from Macau to Malaysia. Riz MC's debut 'Post-9/11 Blues' was banned from UK radio, and his music since has maintained that sharp social commentary as well as his acting career which includes projects like Four Lions, Nightcrawler, and HBO’s The Night Of.
RIP Chrysalis is Alexandra Drewchin's second full-length album under the Eartheater moniker released on Hausu Mountain in 2015. At any given moment, an Eartheater composition reads somewhere between a folk song, a musique concrète collage, and a filmic suite fit to soundtrack a cosmic montage that only she can imagine in full detail. Her intricate ballad arrangements rise from standing pools of hi-fidelity synthesis, while her dynamic vocal performances span an untold number of tactics and tonalities. Eartheater builds layered electronic productions possessed of enough detail to constitute stand-alone worlds, each weighted thick with text and texture.
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RVA beatmaker Ohbliv follows up on his recent Baker’s Dozen installment for Fat Beats Records with Cassette Store Day inspired Lewse joints V. Cassette features 18 original beats. Cover art by Ohbliv and layout by Chris Hound (Paxico Records).
Holy Smoke is the fabled collaboration between producer/rappers Jeremiah Jae & Zeroh. The nine songs recorded together in Los Angeles 2012 focus on the spirit, health and the sacred use of cannabis. The swiftly-produced Holy Smoke sessions got buried in Jae’s relentless release schedule, ultimately archived in 2013 after a fresh signing with Warp Records and return to Chicago. The world’s only clues to these lost sessions came in the appearance of tracks "Trusted Friends” (2012) and “Black Myth” (2013) on HIT+RUN compilation albums. Excavated from the vaults in early 2016, the nine-track self-titled Holy Smoke album, finally sees a proper release on September 13th via HIT+RUN. Available on limited-edition cassette tapes, as well as special 10” colored vinyl (containing unique trails of silver smoke encased in clear wax) and housed in a one-of-a-kind silkscreened jacket (featuring artwork by Zeroh & PsyteOne). Only 400 quantity pressed and each album comes with Holy Smoke matches!
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LoFidel’s newest beat tape to compliment the long hot summer. Filled with retrospective themes and lots of 90s pop culture, this 35 minute tape symbolizes the ups and downs of relationships from both perspectives. Perfect for your next date with the honey to the shoreline so you can test that new ghettoblaster you just bought... LoFidel never comes up short on basslines. Features exclusive cover artwork by world famous “FRKO RICO”. UNISEX, ONE SIZE FITS ALL
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A few months back I was listening to a project by the homie Coss, and one of the beats kicked my ass. I hit up Coss and asked him who made the beat. ReallyNathan made the beat. I had him link us. I had him send a folder, and a couple weeks later I built "LoveNWar". Really Nathan is really dope. You can hear his love of creating in his work. Creating to create. To provide a soundtrack. For life – House Shoes
22, A Million is part love letter, part final resting place of two decades of searching for self-understanding like a religion. And the inner-resolution of maybe never finding that understanding. The album's 10 poly-fi recordings are a collection of sacred moments, love's torment and salvation, contexts of intense memories, signs that you can pin meaning onto or disregard as coincidence. If Bon Iver, Bon Iver built a habitat rooted in physical spaces, then 22, A Million is the letting go of that attachment to a place.
Surprise beat tape from Damu the Fudgemunk, Untitled Volume 2, a 12” picture disc. This marks the second installment in Damu’s Untitled series following the release of Volume 1 in July. In a nutshell, Untitled Volume 2 is a collection of music Damu assembled specifically for his longtime fans. All of the music / versions showcased on Untitled Volume has never been officially released, yet some of it may have been exposed over the years from various live videos, through word of mouth and a couple leaked mp3’s. The project was curated by Damu with the intention of packaging some of his most personally dear and sought after work on one title. If you have been following the Fudgemunk and Redef for the last decade, then the assembled music should immediately remind you of the journey. Also available on Cassette as Untitled Vol 1 & 2 with a bonus track.
J-Zone, self-proclaimed “jack of all trades, master of zero,” may be familiar to you for any one of his six lives: Indie hip-hop’s class clown; an offkilter producer with his own identifiable style; a frustrated music business casualty who penned a nervy memoir about the life of the working class musician (Root For The Villain); a tongue-in-cheek, encyclopedic music journalist; a late-blooming drummer with a knack for channeling the spirit of classic break beats or a DJ with a deep love for funk 45s. On his seventh solo album (and twelfth overall), Fish-n-Grits, J-Zone visits all the stops of an artistic and musical journey that spans well over two decades. Comprised of both limited edition 7” vinyl-only releases (dating back to 2014) and all new material, Fish-n-Grits is equal parts vocal and instrumental. The New York native uses his rap time to pick fights with the delusional state of the music industry, gentrification, the good and bad of nostalgia, police brutality, political correctness and hiphop’s generational conflicts, but never without his signature brands of humor and sarcasm intact. As a student of samplers, drummer, multi-instrumentalist and collector of archaic studio gear, Zone was able to chef Fish-n-Grits into his most sonically versatile album to date. A stew of dirty, funky live drumming, bizarre samples, pulsating percussion and menacing bass that stretches in vibe from a circa 1969 funk instrumental to a twisted, analog interpretation of trap music, Fish-n-Grits has moments inspired by just about everyone. It’s obvious that The Meters, Prince Paul, The Incredible Bongo Band, Project Pat, Kool and the Gang, Public Enemy, George Clinton, Kool Keith, Bernard Purdie and Tim Dog have all carved out space in Zone’s music library, but the sound remains his own. J-Zone’s zany alter egos (Chief Chinchilla and Swagmaster Bacon) also get booth time, as do long time collaborators Al-Shid, Prince Paul and Has-Lo. Serving as a bridge between Zone’s 2013 comeback offering (Peter Pan Syndrome) and a forthcoming group project with Prince Paul and Sacha Jenkins (SuperBlack), Fish-n-Grits captures his development as an artist and musician, with occasional nods to the past.
After releasing two albums independently (Little Armenia, Saturday Night At The Magic Lamp) as well as scoring music for the recent Vice Films release A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (Produced by Elijah Wood), the next release from Los Angeles-based producer Bei Ru is L.A. Zooo, his first instrumental beat concept record which incorporates everything from bugged-out Middle Eastern melodies from the 1970s to obscure Electronic, Funk, Jazz & Soul sounds. Hypnotizing keyboards, pulsating bass lines, and infectious drums guide you through the L.A. Zooo - a playful, yet ominous place where humans and animals coexist and weapons and armor are required for simple walks down the street.
Following their 2013 acclaimed debut, inc. no world return with an album that is poetic, immersive, raw and always soulful. The songs were born from trying and transitional times for the brothers, where faith prevailed and the songs are the fruits bared. As Light As Light is direct and ethereal. At times traditional, but from another world. With their instrumental abilities soaring and thumping behind words of opening and praise. Guided by a soulful voice of joyful longing, theres off-kilter low and live funk, 12 string guitar and pedal steel counterpoint, and at times pure gospel. As Light As Light is an album certainly unparalleled in its choices and the feeling of peace deeply embedded it the music.
Clipping formed in Los Angeles in 2009. Initially conceived as a remix project, Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson began pairing noise and power-electronics inspired tracks with (stolen) vocals by commercial rap artists. Jonathan and William did this mostly to amuse each other and the duo earned very few fans. However, the band began in earnest in early 2010, when rapper and friend Daveed Diggs joined the group. Clipping was their first project as a trio, building on both their long friendship and their many shared obsessions: rap, experimental music, and genre fiction, among others. Clipping released Midcity on their Bandcamp page in 2013 and signed with Sub Pop three months later. The band described their debut as “party music for the club you wish you hadn’t gone to, the car you don’t remember getting in, and the streets you don’t feel safe on.” In 2014, they released their Sub Pop debut, CLPPNG, omitting “I” in the title and lyrics to vacate rap of its traditional center, revealing instead a collage of recurrent rap themes. 2016’s Wriggle EP, released after Daveed’s Tony award for his role as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in the acclaimed Broadway musical Hamilton, included “Shooter,” which used gunshot sounds as the beat for an imagistic narrative of three different violent encounters. Since the release of CLPPNG, things have changed for the band—William finished his Ph.D. in Theater and Performance Studies with a dissertation on experimental music, Jonathan composed scores for the films Starry Eyes, The Nightmare, Excess Flesh, and Contracted: Phase II, and Daveed hit Broadway. Their activities outside Clipping have always influenced their work in the band, but never as much as in the creation of Splendor & Misery. Splendor & Misery is an Afrofuturist, dystopian concept album that follows the sole survivor of a slave uprising on an interstellar cargo ship, and the onboard computer that falls in love with him. Thinking he is alone and lost in space, the character discovers music in the ship’s shuddering hull and chirping instrument panels. William and Jonathan’s tracks draw an imaginary sonic map of the ship’s decks, hallways, and quarters, while Daveed’s lyrics ride the rhythms produced by its engines and machinery. In a reversal of H.P. Lovecraft’s concept of cosmic insignificance, the character finds relief in learning that humanity is of no consequence to the vast, uncaring universe. It turns out, pulling the rug out from under anthropocentrism is only horrifying to those who thought they were the center of everything to begin with. Ultimately, the character decides to pilot his ship into the unknown—and possibly into oblivion—instead of continuing on to worlds whose systems of governance and economy have violently oppressed him.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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