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Food in Pop Culture

More Fun with Food & Rap: Fat Tony's "You Ain't Fat"

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Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 11:30 AM

He calls himself Fat Tony, and he's not fat. But just to let everyone know that, the Houston-based rapper wrote a song and made a video. As the protagonist of "You Ain't Fat" exercises and struggles with temptation, hallucinating that the grocery store clerk has spaghetti for hair, that his waiter's face is made of cheese-dripping pizza, that, over on the next treadmill, a sprightly runner's legs are fried chicken drumsticks, Fat Tony reminisces about his childhood:

"I was a chubby brat/chilling with my mom and buying jeans off the husky rack/skipping collard greens and beans for a Kit Kat."

While the history of the rap game is studded with commanding voices, big characters, and large bodies -- think Big Pun and Fat Joe -- few have worked out their food issues in rhyme so wittily and weirdly. We think of Biggie as an exception to the rule, a plus-sized story-teller who rapped as though he were chewing, unloading gems like "honies play me close like butter play toast" with the sort of lip-smacking gusto only a man who really loves buttered toast can muster.

Of course, as Fat Tony suggests, this song may not be so much about eating too much as it is about the rapper's past and its relationship with his present. People tell him that he's not fat and say he should change his handle, but Fat Tony's not "phony." He keeps the name because he's real. To paraphrase, now his house, mouth, and weed sack (and so forth) are fat, and people should start focusing on his rapping anyway.

None of this explains why the video ends abruptly with a vorarephilia-tinged episode in which the protagonist, red-eyed and snouted, makes a gory, whipped cream-caked mess of his paramour. Maybe, we imagine, it represents the symbolic consumption of his demons -- personified by the strumpet who demands, via text, that he "better look good tonight."

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