Cutthroat Boyz (Joey Fatts, Aston Matthews, Vince Staples) - The Roxy - January 16, 2013

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Cutthroat Boyz
The Roxy
January 16, 2013

Since the drop of his EP Chipper Jones Vol. 1 this past summer, Long Beach rapper Joey Fatts has been quickly spreading his strain of hybridized street-hop across the Internet and from his roots on our YG & TDE loving West Coast to the Action Bronson and ASAP obsessed East Coast. He's also a part of a local hip-hop crew known as the Cutthroat Boyz, which places him alongside Los Angeles spitter Vince Staples and Lakewood representative Aston Matthews as a trio of rising rappers who are as talented as they are diverse. They make good music to listen to at any time of the day, whether you're frustrated in traffic or at home with headphones, and they have an undeniable ability to mix and match trends and techniques from different corners of hip-hop, whether it's some sound from the back of a Cadillac trunk stationed in mid 90's Texas or humid, murky drug-rap pouring out of someone's Pandora.

Joey Fatts and company were set to perform at The Roxy last night, and as far as we know this was going to be the first time the three took the stage together. We were excited at the thought of seeing an emcee crew that's two-thirds local to OC (Lakewood counts) take the stage at a venerable venue such as the Roxy, and the lineup ran the possibility of being one of those "coming out" or "breakthrough" shows that gets all that Pitchfork, FADER, and Complex attention some rappers can make meal tickets out of. There hasn't been a young rapper this interesting coming out of Long Beach since Snoop Lion was a Dogg, and the lineup had some very solid choices in support as well such as the bay area's current reigning supreme being of pimp-rap 100's and ASAP clan elder ASAP Yams as host.

100's took the stage to some mild fanfare and an incredibly-packed, tightly-coiled crowd. Most importantly, he came on stage dressed flamboyantly in a leather jacket and cheetah print, with a mantle of well-straightened and glistening jet black hair to match. Honestly, he has some follicle-defying, World Record-worthy hair. That is the hair DJ Quik and Suga Free dream of.

Unfortunately, 100's set only spanned about ten minutes and only included performances of "My Activator" and "1999." He came and left as quickly as he played, but he did showcase an onstage demeanor and charisma that probably could have carried a front-to-back performance of his debut record Ice Cold Perm. Plus, his hypeman/associate was probably the only hypeman we can think of who has a heavy, thick septum ring. It's a rare sight to see in hip-hop, and we're sure that counts for something.

Right after 100's left is when the scene got rather interesting. Party-rappers CBG came on next, and performed like they were being called in to do catering to a free-for-all party. They even stated they were here to party, and, well, their set was one massive drug-friendly party. People bounced around, jumped up and down, and swayed every which way.  Things were going smoothly. Then they stopped performing, and some Waka Flocka started playing through the speakers. That's when everything sort of went south, and not the Pimp C & Bun B type of South. 

One full song could not be played after CBG's set before people on one side of the venue started reenacting a scene from an old Three 6 Mafia fight-starter. We didn't really catch exactly what happened, but from the look of things one fight turned into a mixed grab-bag of several. For several minutes fists and limbs seemed to be flying all around one chunk of the audience, and by the time everything ended the lights in the venue were on, the music was long gone, and everyone seemed to be pretty perplexed at what had just happened.

For a long time to come, not much seemed to go on musically speaking. ASAP Yams, Joey Fatts and various associates and entourages wandered around,  and Fatts seemed to engage virtually every fan in the audience. With no beats and no verses, Fatts still managed to get some of the spotlight by being extremely personable. The crowd seemed to filter to other parts in and around the venue, and the performers looked just as confused and upset as some of their fans did.

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Finally, it was announced that the Cutthroat crew would be getting at least twenty minutes to perform. After a while of nothing but the noises of people chirping among themselves, Vince Staples, Joey Fatts, and Aston Matthews were finally allowed to perform. They started out with Joey Fatts' "Bricks" off his EP, and ran through an entire set of songs in that same exact style of fist-firing, barrel-emptying aural adrenaline. Tracks like "Bricks" are what make up the DNA of the modern day mosh-song, and in a live setting they definitely work in the favor of artists who just had their sets drastically chopped up. 

They had less time than an opening act to perform, but they made the most of it. The flow and strength of energy and interaction between them and the crowd was as if they had all been veterans of the genre who hadn't performed in LA in years. Most people in the crowd could follow their songs word-for-word, and moved and moshed to the point where you knew they had every beat pattern memorized. Joey Fatts and Aston Matthews may be relatively new to the scene, and they do not have the sort of crossover buzz that comes with a smash hit like Trinidad James' "All Gold Everything," but they are way beyond the average of their craft, and within time they may very well become some of the very best rappers to come from around the Orange County and Long Beach areas.

Random Notebook Dump: Rapper SPEAK! and the real Rick Ross were in attendance, and we assume NYC psych-rappers Flatbush Zombies might have been part of the special guest lineup considering they were around the stage.

Critic's Bias: I firmly believe Joey Fatts is the most promising rapper coming out of his region right now. His follow-up release Chipper Jones Vol 2 comes out next month and I'm extremely excited to hear it.

The Crowd: What you would normally see at a hip-hop show in Hollywood. And, apparently, a lot of amateur boxers and street fighters showed up as well.

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