If ever a rapper proved you could be a success entirely posthumously it was Patrick “Fat Pat” Hawkins. Others have had albums that came out after their untimely demise — Biggie, 2Pac, Big L, Pimp C, XXXTentacion, and so on — but all had been established in the industry before they passed away. Fat Pat was just starting to make his name in the game and was a month away from his album “Ghetto Dreams” being released on Wreckshop Records when he was gunned down on February 4, 1998. To this day his murder remains unsolved and to make matters worse his older brother Big Hawk was also shot dead eight years later. As much as I love H-Town it’s hard to love how readily the gun play brings down some of Houston’s finest.
Although “Ghetto Dreams” was already finished when Pat was killed, there was seemingly no way to promote the album no record a music video to promote the first single “Tops Drop.” Where there’s a will though there’s a way. By almost entirely featuring the titular vehicles that Pat raps about cruising around H-Town with, featuring cutaways to crowds admiring vehicles or fly honies shaking rhythmically to the beat, the video mostly dodges the fact that Pat really isn’t in it — until of course they acknowledge the obvious by putting a large “FAT PAT R.I.P.” logo right at the clip’s end.
The strangest thing about all of this is that the label could have milked a sudden spike in interest in Fat Pat thanks to the notoriety of his murder and the success of his first single locally, garnering a buzz that would continue for his friends in the Screwed Up Click for years to come. Inexplicably they released his sophomore album “Throwed in da Game” just two months after he was killed, giving “Ghetto Dreams” zero time to marinate before going right back to the tapes. The title track alone could have done some significant time in rotation before moving on. It’s classic West coast meets Texas hip-hop. G-Funk + trill = Fat Pat.
“We’re third coast born/that means we’re Texas raised” is the motto for Pat and fellow Screwed Up Click member C-Note on (what else) “3rd Coast,” one of many guest appearances throughout Pat’s album. Big Pokey and Double D guest on the slow riding, D produced “Do U Like What U See,” which also provided the hook for “3rd Coast.” Lil KeKe and Ronnie Spencer cameo on the crossover smooth track “Peepin’ Me.” Mike D is on “Superstar,” Pimp Tyte is on “I’m the Man” and nearly the entire Click can be found on the album’s denouement for the aptly named “Missing Our G’z.”
It hurts my heart a little to know that three of the featured artists on the song are gone — Pat, Hawk, and Mr. “Purple Stuff” himself Big Moe, who passed away of a heart attack just a year after Hawk was shot. Still for nearly 70 minutes you could feel the foundation that DJ Screw had laid down for his S.U.C. comrades in the 1990’s before his own untimely death due to a codeine overdose in 2000. Despite the animosity that seems to infect the competitive H-Town scene, there’s a mostly genteel feel to Fat Pat’s braggadocious ways. He’s not to be trifled with for certain, but to Pat it’s all about “Looking good it’s understood, flossing for my hood/Taking pride in my ride, like every player should.” He’s not showing off to make you feel bad, he’s showing off because it makes him feel good, and he’s saying “If you got it like me, you can do the same, I’m not hating on it.” It’s a damn shame whoever filled him full of lead never understood that.