Fatz Da Big Fella calls himself a “new generation Biggie.” Like the late Notorious B.I.G., the D.C. rapper can be gritty, but he loves making music for women, too. Take his last tape, February’s Only For the Ladies.
“I got a love jones for your body and your skin tone,” Fatz rhymes on the tape’s title track, channeling Method Man. “Couple shots of Patrón will put you in the zone.”
But Fatz hasn’t been sipping any Patrón lately. Like Biggie, he’s been overweight for much of his adult life. Last year he decided to change that. In September, the rapper named Antoine Williams cut out liquor — plus soda, fried food and other indulgences. It seems that Fatz Da Big Fella doesn’t want to be so big anymore.
The rapper says losing weight is part of his plan to improve his live show. The Northeast D.C. native — nicknamed “The Mayor” in his Deanwood neighborhood — projected that the longer his sets got, the harder it would be for him to maintain his energy onstage.
“I love to perform, and I didn’t want my health and my weight to slow my performance down,” Fatz says. “My show from start to finish is electrifying. It’s just nonstop energy. So one way or another, I had to drop.”
The day after Fatz turned 29, he resolved to start eating differently and working out. He switched to mostly grilled and baked food, particularly vegetables. He got a personal trainer who put him on an intense workout regimen three days a week.
The artist estimates that since he began working with his trainer, he’s dropped about 100 pounds. But he’s not sure where he started — or what his peak weight was — because he was scared to find out.
“I didn’t even want to look at the scale,” Fatz says. “I just know I was getting too big.”
Fatz Da Big Fella didn’t expect to become a big fella. Growing up, he says he was stocky, but active.
“I was into sports…. I played basketball, football,” he says. “As I got older, you know, and loved the music, I was going out to eat too much.”
In particular, the rapper liked carbs. “I love pasta. I was a pasta guy. I thought I was in the mob the way I ate pasta. Pasta and liquor.”
It might have been the liquor that posed the biggest problem for Fatz. “I was doing too much spillin’, as we say. I was spillin’ a lot.”
Spillin’ — partying, drinking, living the good life — is a big part of Fatz’s image. He says his brother Ty Stunna and their associates at the Board Administration, the label co-founded by UCB’s “Tre” Johnson and big-name rapper Wale, have made spillin’ a brand. In June, Fatz will appear on a compilation hosted by DJ Quick Silva called Welcome to Spill Gang.
Warning: There’s a lot of adult content (and spillin’) in this video.
But when Fatz was a kid, there wasn’t much spillin’ going on. His 2014 track “Grew Up” talks about his upbringing in an overcrowded home near 49th and Quarles streets in Northeast D.C.
“Like 20 people, one house, four sleeping in one room, two folks on the couch — you gotta step over people to get to the bathroom if it ain’t already somebody in the bathroom,” he says.
Young Fatz consumed what was affordable and easy. “I grew up on soda. Like, 99 cent Rock Creek [soda] and Oodles of Noodles,” he says. “I grew up on a lot of sugar and sodium. Something that you cook and it takes three minutes, and you get full off [it].”
The stocky kid became a father at a young age. He had his first child as a teenager — a girl who’s now 11 — and later he had a boy, who’s now 6. As he put on weight, Fatz became worried that he wouldn’t be able to keep up with his kids, especially his little boy, who he says is already a promising football player.“I can’t let them outdo me,” Fatz says, chuckling.
But Fatz still feels guilty about the few times he strays from his diet, like on his recent trip to Philadelphia, where he treated himself to a cheesesteak, a slice of pizza and a water ice. Then there was last week’s adventure in Atlanta, where he worked with one of his favorite producers of all time: Jazze Pha.
Hanging out with the Southern bon vivant — best known for his successes with T.I., David Banner and Ciara — led Fatz to drink alcohol for the first time since September.
“He has a new liquor out, and he wanted me to taste the liquor,” Fatz says. “I was like, I haven’t had a drink in like, seven months. But I would take a sip. Because I can’t sit here and just say something is good off of your word. I’ve gotta try it… I don’t wanna be a liar. ‘Fatz, you said Jazze Pha’s liquor was good! And it’s horrible!’ You know? I don’t want that.”
So he tasted the stuff — called Quiet Storm Vodka — and he seems to think it was worth the transgression. “It was pretty good,” Fatz says. “It was pretty smooth.”
With the cheesesteak and Jazze Pha booze behind him, Fatz is snapping back to his routine. That means grilled veggies, bleachers and running around a basketball court. It’s never easy — it sounds like his trainer runs a tight ship — but Fatz says it’s getting easier.
Pretty soon, he’s going to have to change his alias to suit his new shape. Instead of Fatz Da Big Fella, he might switch to the nickname he earned in Deanwood.
“I’m going back to the Mayor,” Fatz says.