FATRAT DA CZAR
Cornerstone of South Carolina Hip-Hop
FatRat Da Czar is a recording artist and producer, entrepreneur, and hip-hop activist based out of Columbia, South Carolina. As a cornerstone of South Carolina hip-hop, FatRat began his career in the late ‘90s as a member of the Columbia-based rap group, Streetside. By 2012, he was an established solo act, releasing his acclaimed Da Cold War album trilogy under the name FatRat Da Czar. With a total of eight studio albums, FatRat Da Czar is widely recognized as South Carolina’s godfather of hip-hop and has opened for national acts to include Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg, and Lauryn Hill.
MUSIC REVIEW: FATRAT DA CZAR’S EXPOSED
March 13, 2019
The last time Fat Rat da Czar’s actual, unsunglassed face appeared on one of his album covers was seven years ago. Staring straight out into the camera on Inglorious Bastard, the stalwart Columbia rapper is tinted purple, looking calm but tough in his signature Raiders cap.
The face that looks out from Exposed is much the same, but the presentation could hardly be more different. Here, Fat lays in bed, wide awake, with a woman sleeping on his chest. The stark, full-color photograph emphasizes the graying hairs in his long dreads.
This is not the stylized mug of Inglorious Bastard or the graffiti portrait of his locally beloved hallmark Da Cold War 3. This is Fat Rat untinted and unvarnished. Exposed.
It’s a perfect match for the music. Confidence and vulnerability are tough to balance, especially within the frequently ego-driven aesthetics of hip-hop. But across seven songs that dig into his romantic past, Fat Rat exposes regrets and doubts while remaining assured and commanding on the mic.
WAKE UP: FATRAT DA CZAR HOPES COLUMBIA IS READY FOR A BROADER IDEA OF HIP-HOP
October 3, 2018
Last Friday on Columbia’s Main Street, Fat Rat da Czar delivered a very different set from the one he’ll offer this Friday at Art Bar.
The hometown rapper was one of four local acts chosen to play a special block party. Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin is currently president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. As such, the group held its Fall Leadership Meeting in Columbia. As part of his efforts to show off the city to his mayoral colleagues, Benjamin shut down the 1600 block of the revitalized Main Street, a section bustling with such recent additions as The Grand bowling alley and bar and a virtual Topgolf Swing Suite.
Fat Rat took the stage roughly midway through the night, his long dreads swinging out from under an orange ball cap. Backed by a bright and limber live band...
COLUMBIA RAPPER FATRAT DA CZAR REFUSES TO SURRENDER
October 24, 2012
Check the fine print on your next music story about the guy who struggled hard, maintained his vision and focus, and finally succeeded. There between the lines is a disclaimer: Your results may vary. For every guy you hear about, there are dozens of equally talented ones you don't — and never will. That was the situation facing 35-year-old Columbia, S.C.-based rapper Fat Rat da Czar. He hadn't yet made it, but he wasn't ready to quit. The only question was, what next?
"Music had always kind of kept me from straying too far from home base, but I needed to make some decisions, because music is a privilege," Fat Rat says from the Boom Room in Columbia, the legendary Jam Room Studio's sister studio where he's been working for the past year. "A lot of musicians feel because they have a gift or a talent, that it's a promise, but it's not. It's a privilege."
ON THE SCENE: FATRAT DA CZAR IS HIP-HOP’S BIG BROTHER HUNGRY FOR MORE
November 2, 2012
On “A Czar is Born,” a song on FatRat Da Czar’s new mixtape, he raps that he’s the “Obi-Wan Kenobi to you young Skywalkers.”
It’s a statement loaded with meaning. And it’s true.
FatRat, the calculatingly baleful MC, has become a mentor to the younger generation of Columbia hip-hop.
“The best way I can describe it is like a basketball team,” FatRat began. “You got these really talented athletes. And yet they hold on to the 15-year veteran. He’s the core of the team. He might not start and he might not play as much. But they recognize his value at the end of the game and in the playoffs.”
One of many rappers who sought out FatRat’s guidance was Ben G, the catalyst of the B-FAM movement.
“He actually ran up on me at Jillian’s and said, ‘I got a show next week. I want you to come,’” FatRat recalled. “What I saw was myself, from the aspect of a hungry MC that was taking time with his craft. When I saw him, I saw that hunger I had 10 years ago.
“I appreciate his spirit because that’s what’s going to take his crew a little bit further.”