Unorthodox producer/rapper Fat Jon is not only the beat-maker for the underground hip-hop collective Five Deez but a member of the 3582 crew and a solo artist with a string of albums that flirt with electronica, downtempo, and dub sounds. Sometimes credited as Fat Jon the Ample Soul Physician, Jon started out as a rapper in his native Cincinnati. There weren't many beat-makers on the local scene, so Jon learned how to make his own, working with a set of analog equipment that fit perfectly with his old school-loving, throwback style. As time went on, he became more forward-looking, but the analog equipment stuck around, creating a unique style that was both familiar and strange. Around 2000 his two crews began making waves in the underground rap community, and soon artists like Rakim, Talib Kweli, and Black Star were hiring Fat Jon for his dynamic production style.
A year later he struck out on his own with Humanoid Erotica, a laid-back, lounge-ish full-length credited to "Fat Jon as Maurice Galactica." The moody, mellow collection Wave Motion appeared in 2003, and a year later he began working with Stefan Betke, better known as Pole. Now based in Berlin, Fat Jon added his rhymes to Pole's 2003 self-titled release, a hip-hop-flavored album from a project that had been strictly icy cold and dub previously. Even if Pole's loyal fan base saw the jump in genres as heresy, the album introduced Fat Jon to a whole new audience. Now armed with computers and plenty of digital gear to go with his analog, Jon put his production hat back on for 2004's Lightweight Heavy, a breakthrough release that benefited from the attention he received with Pole. The year 2006 was extremely busy, with a new Five Deez album (Kommunicator), an instrumental album (Afterthought), and a collaboration with the indie electronic outfit Styrofoam (The Same Channel) all being released. ~ David Jeffries