Phat Kat / Ronnie Pounds

Artist / Band / Musician
Hip Hop
Look Records
“Every time I step in the booth, I’m tryna make some classic shit,” promises Phat Kat, a pioneer of the Detroit hip-hop scene who was putting it down for the underground long before anyone ever heard of Eminem, Proof, D12, Slum Village, Natas, or Royce the 5’9.” And while rap from “the D” has come into the national limelight in recent years, few of Detroit’s current crop of MCs boast a track record or reputation as credible as Phat Kat.

Back in the early ‘90s, Phat Kat helped to put the D on the hip-hop map as a member of First Down, pairing with legendary DJ/producer J Dilla (R.I.P.), then known as Jay Dee, years before Dilla’s involvement in Slum Village. After meeting Guru and Premier during a promotional stop through Detroit in 1994, Phat Kat gave them a demo tape – the first demo he had ever passed on to industry folks, he says -- and First Down ended up getting signed to Payday records on the strength of one song, the now-classic “Front Street,” which appeared on the Representing the Streets compilation. First Down seemed poised to be one of the first Midwestern groups to blow up nationally; unfortunately, their label was folded into a much larger company and they were lost in transition.

Undeterred, the MC also known as Ronnie Cash stayed on the grind in the ensuing years, appearing on albums by Dilla and Slum Village, hitting the road frequently, and releasing his first solo album Undeniable in 2004, followed in Spring 2007 by Carte Blanche, his first release for Look Records.

At long last, Phat Kat notes, “I’m with a label that sees my vision.” Dilla contributes five tracks, but the work of up-and-coming producers Nick Speed, Young RJ, and Black Milk is nearly as impressive. Other guests include SV’s Elzhi and T3, Truth Hurts, Melanie Rutherford, Fat Ray, Loe Louis and Guilty Simpson. Rather than pursuing cameos and features from overexposed stars, Phat Kat chose instead to work with his peoples from the D, figuring “the people I got on my album is just as hot as people that’s out.”

With its mix of original, streetwise rhymes that fall somewhere in-between gangsta, conscious, and backpack, grooves that can take you from the gutter to the VIP and back, and production that innovates rather than imitates, Carte Blanche is like no Detroit album you’ve ever heard before. It maintains the standard for excellence set by Phat Kat’s cohorts Dilla and Slum Village, but with a much more hardcore thrust. Asked what the album’s title means to him, Phat Kat says with a laugh, “Absolute authority. Full power,” adding, “It’s a good thing.”

Click To Download the Acappellas & Original Tracks!


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