By Kandis Knight
Minnesota Fats is a modern day music mogul, ultra smooth, college-educated, urban savvy. He is a business man yet a true hip-hop impresario and he has been steadily building a Midwest fan base for over ten years. In 2007 he inked a lucrative national distribution deal through Koch Records.
Since the days of selling cds out of his trunk across the Midwest to opening for major artists on tour, Minnesota Fats’ music has always been dense, heavy hitting, lyrically ahead of its time and true to the streets. His stage performance is captivating, he magically transforms in front of a crowd. It is no wonder, Fats is well known and respected by people from all walks of life.
Minnesota Fats, born Jason Brown grew up in North Minneapolis. He struggled as many young African-American men struggle. “I didn’t go to high school, I went to jail,” Fats explains. To turn the tides, Fats has kept his profile up as a respected community activist by taking part in Community Action Against Police Brutality, Madd Dads and he also founded the WEON Street Foundation six years ago, which gives away toys on Christmas and buys school supplies.
Today, Fats controls his life. “I have a one album retail deal with Koch Records, I will be in Best Buy, FYE, you know? I got my own bins. I retained all my publishing, once they recoup I make 4.35 cents per album,” he laughs.
Fats new single, Rock Star Sh*t featuring Dipset’s Jim Jones is already getting spins and mark’s his official entrance into the hip-hop game. “Everybody claims to be a rock star now days, but they don’t even hang out with any rock stars. I am from Minneapolis. I am surrounded by them and we make music together, I will show everyone how to be a real rock star.”
Fat’s solo debut album, The Perfect Candidate” Bricks & Politiks, will distributed on Copycat/Koch Records on October 9th, 2007 and does feature some rock songs, some inspirational songs, some love songs and a lot of heavy hitting rap. “He was not afraid to push the envelop and fuse music genres together and attempt things that have not been done before,” explains producer Shawn J.
Although Fats has so much to look forward to, this is one artist who has so much to be thankful for already. Fat’s stage partner, Famis Franklin was murdered in early 2007 on a blustery cold night. “At first I was driven by the entrepreneurial side of the rap industry. Since Famis got killed the goal is to make our life long goal a reality, we are all Famis now,” whispers the passionate twenty-seven year, with a determined glare. “It is no coincidence his name was Famis.”
With his best friend Famis at his side, Fats and the Weon Records Crew has been busy in their studio since 2002, making over four albums (Nation Business, Radio Mix Vol. 1-1, The Baller Street Journal, Citiology, State Rehab and MN Fats) and being featured on fifty albums and sold an estimated ten thousand albums in the upper Midwest.
“People might listen to my music and not understand it, but I am constantly sending messages, sometimes I am just making party tracks, or shit for the hood, but I especially like to make songs that make people think.”
Over the years, the crew has struggled yet managed to keep the vision alive. “Cats was jealous of Famis, he was a dapper young man. We are on the verge of big things still,” he sighs, then moans. “His murder was a call to action for me. It caused me to step up my game and use this talent for something that will change the way things are.”
Since Famis’ murder, MN Fats has gotten a lot more reflective and has a lot more to say. Tragedy has propelled him to a higher level.
“I have evolved as an artist, I can’t fabricate shit. If I can’t get fans when I am coming from the heart, then I mid as well be a lawyer and extort drug dealers because this is real music from yours truly. I can’t do anything else but keep it real at this point.”