Record Label: Fat Beats Records
Test pressings of Union Analogtronics & Blu's new collaborative LP, limited to ten, numbered copies. Hand-screenprinted by the world-famous Hit & Run.
Hot off collaborations with Nottz (Titans in the Flesh EP) and Madlib (Bad Neighbor LP), SoCal ambassador Blu has teamed up with the Paris-based production team Union Analogtronics (OJ & Gold) to unleash a new full length album: Cheetah in the City. Featuring Dam-Funk, Phat Kat, Frank N Dank, and more, the album signifies a stylistic sea change for Blu, best known for his dusty, soul sampling collaborations with Exile (Below the Heavens) and his own introspective opuses (Her Favorite Colour, Good to be Home, York!). Rippling with 808s and cinematic strings, Cheetah in the City is an organic evolution from the synth-soaked, futuristic sound of Analogtronics, UNION’s 2012 Fat Beats Records debut album featuring Talib Kweli, MF DOOM, Elzhi, Guilty Simpson, and more.
After mutual friends put them in touch at a Parisian post-show after-party, Blu and Union began a musical exchange that spanned continents. Blu returned to LA with UNION’s best beats, and after months of exchanging lyrical ideas, the trio regrouped for marathon recording sessions in UNION’s Paris-based studio. Cloistered for weeks with nothing but drum machines, instruments, keyboards, records, and France’s best bud, Blu became obsessed with infusing his kicked back Southern California sensibilities into UNION’s penchant for pushing the possibilities of technicality into multilayered, densely packed productions. A cohesive story emerged in the songwriting: a young man, raised amongst deadbeats, killers, and hard drugs, metamorphoses into the Cheetah, a money-making predator whose quick talk and cold hustle make him the king of a city that will eventually consume him, heart and soul.
We’ve never heard Blu like this.
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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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