With I Will Make a Baby in this Damn Economy, Fat Tony embodies the kind of quixotic figure he would rap about; a singular entity who’s motivated, confident, and hungry; a perpetual-motion-machine locked in a staring contest with his country. It’s the latest album in his catalog produced entirely by L.A-based producer Taydex since 2020’s Wake Up. Later that same year Fat Tony released Exotica, and ever since he’s demonstrated he is in his own lane as a professional rapper with the mind of a magician, as quick to conjure an image as pull it out from under you, deftly maneuvering through so many details and references a listener feels as if they have witnessed the work of an illusionist. He paints these canvases inside of songs that rarely spill past three minutes; they’re pocket-sized diaries replete with acute observations, character studies, microdoses of storytelling, and single-minded ruminations on a topic that bud, blossom, and fade before too long. Fat Tony & Taydex’s I Will Make a Baby in this Damn Economy cements Tony’s status as someone whose albums are not so much lyrically-lyrical as they are picaresque.
As with any Fat Tony project, the bars are tight as ever, but are so fluid for the 34-year-old it’s almost easy to take for granted the details, warmth, and humanity inside his free-associative tales of day-one friends who’ve passed, edgelord grifters who want to spit game, and nights on ketamine. Taydex’s production sprints through disparate yet simpatico styles, dipping its toes into Pi’erre Bourne-esque bass (see lead single “Spectacular”), house (“Loosen Up”), and even hyperpop. Meditations on loss and grief are woven throughout, but Tony throws a few curveballs as well: Consider “Alexis,” which sweetly reflects on a long-term platonic friendship. Taydex finds a Teddy Riley-indebted New Jack Swing groove just deep enough for the feeling to land and underlines the song’s sincere candor. This is the appeal of Fat Tony writ-large: his boisterous voice and genial personality invite you to the party, then you stick around to hear what he’s saying, which is frequently more introspective and complex than one assumes.
Written and recorded in Taydex’s new studio in North Hollywood, Tony says, “We had much more freedom and flexibility in making this album and you can hear it. It felt like a family project.” If the album is comfortable and loose, it is also dense and substantial. The album’s final two tracks contextualize the immediacy of what came before it—the mezcal with ices drank, Paul Wall swangin’ through to drop knowledge, the Polaris Prize-winning rapper Cadence Weapon providing a vibe check. “Make a Baby” accounts for Tony who’s seen everything, and knows he’s met the one to be a father with, and yet chooses to take his time to get it done. Taydex’s beat recalls turn-of-the-century R&B and the millennial promise of an endless good time. Somber closer “Jasper, TX” is Tony coming to grips with the story of James Byrd, Jr., a Black man from East Texas dragged to his death by three white supremacists in 1998. These songs are not only trademarks of Tony’s fastidious rapping—they are deeply personal examples of his approach to artistry and life itself, where every decision is made in the shadow of history.
It’s here the mission statement of I Will Make a Baby in this Damn Economy comes into focus—you get the sense he means it, he’s ready for it, he’ll fight for it. He’s waiting to take the world at its word.