Knitting Factory Presents
Fat Tony, Cadence Weapon, Hua Li
Fat Tony stands at the forefront of new generation of young rappers who get it themselves—a DIY hustler who’s built his burgeoning career on a foundation equal parts smarts and swagger. The Houston MC owns the mike with a casual confidence, workmanlike in his delivery whether laidback or lyrical, embodying a new brand of enlightened Southern that’s as likely to tip back some lean on your front porch as sit down and school you on Dadaism. Through his simmering solo work and boundary-busting collaborations with Das Racist and A$AP Rocky, among others, Fat Tony has already launched a legacy.
As a first-generation Nigerian-American raised in his city’s historic Third Ward, heritage has always been important to Fat Tony. One of his earliest memories is of a parade of black cowboys riding down the local main street on MLK Day, blaring the good doctor’s speeches over zydeco tracks. His childhood home was filled with records—King Sunny Adé and Jimmy Cliff from his father’s collection, his mother’s jazz and soul, Granny’s gospel. He watched countless hours of music television as a kid, got his first drum kit at 8, and pummeled it to pieces shortly after seeing Nirvana on MTV.
Fat Tony became a key player in the Houston music scene as a young teen. Inspired by the independent spirits he looked up to—from the Ramones and the Germs to UGK and Slum Village—he began throwing
shows at local venues and friends’ houses. He booked bands of all types from all over, hand-made flyers and mailed them to addresses nabbed from the student directory. Meanwhile, he toured regionally and
earned a rep as a fierce performer, eventually racking up four consecutive annual “Best Underground Hip-Hop” awards from the Houston Press while studying communications at the University of Houston.
In 2010, Fat Tony self-released his debut album, RABDARGAB, a sharply stylish set named after a local literacy campaign from his youth: “Read a book, do a report, get a buck.” In keeping with the theme, he offered to send a dollar bill to anyone who listened to the record and wrote it up. (He wound up sending out $27.) Shortly thereafter, Das Racist reprised and rapped over the Murs-featuring “Luv it Mayne” for their Sit Down, Man mixtape, and legendary screw DJ OG RON C offered his “chopped up, not slopped up” version of the record, SCREWDARGAB, in 2011. In 2012, he released collaborative album Double Dragon with Tom Cruz. 2013 saw the release of his critically acclaimed sophomore album Smart Ass Black Boy. Tony's "No More" b/w "Love Me" (f/ Maxo Kream) limited edition 7" single was released with Volcom Entertaiment in April 2014. Subscribers to Volcom's vinyl club received a special colored record limited to only 300 copies.
A veteran in his mid 20's, Fat Tony knows the two most important principles of creativity: 1) no matter where his music takes him or what others may say, he alone is responsible for the quality of his work, and 2) in the man’s own words, “It’s good to be good.”
Roland “Rollie” Pemberton had an upbringing uniquely suited to becoming a rapper. His father Teddy, a Brooklyn native, was the DJ that introduced hip-hop to Edmonton with his pioneering radio show The Black Experience in Sound on CJSR 88.5 FM. After spending his childhood immersed in his father’s diverse archive of music, Rollie started rapping at age 13.
Soon, he was entering freestyle battles, rocking shows with his uncle’s funk band and teaching himself how to make beats. Following the online success of his Cadence Weapon Is The Black Hand mixtape, Rollie released his self-produced debut album Breaking Kayfabe in December 2005 at the age of 19. It was shortlisted for the inaugural Polaris Prize.
In 2009, Rollie Pemberton was appointed Poet Laureate of Edmonton, making him the literary ambassador of his home city for two years. He followed up this literary stint with 2012’s Hope In Dirt City, an album produced by Rollie recording live instruments and sampling them for his beats. The album was his second to be shortlisted for the Polaris Prize.
Now based in Toronto, Cadence is back with a new self-titled album that expands his stylistic range by incorporating elements of trap, funk, electro, techno and grime. This record finds Cadence refining his songwriting as he explores themes of individuality, race, technology and existentialism through his expressive lyrics
Hua Li’s hazy R&B and revolutionary rap cuts to the bone and shakes your frail ass to the ground. Following the underground success of her 2013 mixtape, The Bound Feat, Hua Li released her Za Zhong EP with producer Gloze in 2015. She is also an active DJ, having held residencies at Montreal’s Royal Phoenix Bar, Notre Dames des Quilles and Korova Thursdays. Subversive and sexy, Hua Li is Canada’s only half-Chinese, half-militant, half-rapper.