The best thing about this remix is that it didn't really need to happen. When Fatlip, the L.A. rapper born Derrick Stewart, released "What's Up Fatlip" in 2000, it was already a near-perfect song--funny, catchy, and surprisingly affecting. "What's Up Fatlip" must be one of the most self-deprecating tracks in the history of hip-hop; the rapper lobs darts at himself from every direction, questioning his own manliness, his solvency, his street cred, his blackness.
"Go out like a sucka almost every day / In the back of your mind, you're probably thinking I was gay," Fatlip raps. "But naw, I'm just a bitch-ass nigga / The type to get jacked if I was a rich-ass nigga." It may read like a pity party, but the bouncy beat and Fatlip's affable delivery make it into something else, something frank and memorable. Anyone who's ever felt insecure can nod along.
The French producer Thibaut Berland, who records as Breakbot, remixed the song in 2008, making it into something else again. Breakbot's version adds crisp keys, popped bass notes, and a distracted, morphing drum track, and these elements give the song spine without burying its vulnerability. The beat seems to change direction every few seconds, fittingly for a song about self-doubt. You can still hear every quaver of Fatlip's ego, and you can still nod along, but now you've got the option of dancing too.
On iTunes: Fatlip / "What's Up Fatlip"
This article available online at: