The Long, Drawn-Out Death of Fat Beats…

Dallas Penn contributes this drop in the first of a series of guest spots while his site is on hiatus:

Fat Beats was like your older uncle who you didn’t visit as often so that when you got the news of his death it was from the other folks who still brought him his wine and shit.

You had great times at Fat Beats tho’ and those memories will last forever. Hip-Hop, like the rest of America which it represents has gone Best Buy big box pop. Fat Beats, Bondy‘s and Beat Street are only to be references in your favorite rapper’s verse of nostalgia.

“The good ol’ days, everybody talkin’ ’bout the good ol’ days…”

The West 8th Street corridor that Fat Beats was considered part of has long since died. No more smoking blunts and drinking 40s in the circle in Washington Square. No more movie theater on 8th and University. No more record companies on 4th and Broadway. The only spot still in business is Grey’s Papaya, but the franks haven’t costed a buck in years.

Everyone else was dead so what made you think your uncle should have kept living. Celebrate the idea that you even knew him, that you were even allowed to visit his house and look thru his cool stuff. Consider yourself lucky as opposed to being deprived.

“It’s so haaaaaard, to say goodbye, to yesterdaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeee”…

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23 Comments so far
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Well said Dallas!

Comment by Neil Nice 08.19.10 @

That news makes me really sad. I was just there a few weeks ago, copped the new El-P on vinyl as well as Fat Joe and CNN. Where the fuck am I going to buy my records now? It’s not the same buying them on the internet. This news sucks.

Comment by AZR 08.19.10 @

El-P has a new record out?!? Jesus I’m out of touch….

Comment by vollsticks 08.19.10 @

Sad sign of the times.

Comment by Catchnwrek 08.19.10 @

Did you say BONDY’S?! I’m proud to have copped some vintage classic music from Fat Beats, Bondy’s and Beat Street. Let’s not forget Music Factory on the deuce back in the day, my old source for tapes. Even though it was a larger store, I have to throw Tower Records in there as well. These are not only monuments of hip hop, but classic NYC culture, where you could literally bump into your favorite mc’s just chillin. Peace Fat Beats. The Village is officially dead to me.

Comment by DOC SAMSON 08.19.10 @

People don’t understand how LAME it is having to buy records and cd’s online. Nothing beats going into a record store, ESPECIALLY a record store like Fat Beats. Sad sad news about it’s closing. Thankfully I’ll be in LA over Labor Day weekend so I’ll get to go to that store one last time.

Comment by Shaun D. aka Wicked 08.19.10 @

Dallas summed this up all too well. The only people who even care about this are the people who came up buying records. This new generation is sittin on the side like, “Good! I’m tired of you old niggas tlakin bout shit I never did.” It’s another nail in the coffin of a passing era. The next nail may come from that same new generation… younger cats on the bloggershpere tryna erase what’s already been written. At least Fat Beats is still operational.

Comment by Kid Captain Coolout 08.19.10 @

AZR wrote:
“Where the fuck am I going to buy my records now? It’s not the same buying them on the internet”


Comment by dj blendz 08.19.10 @

As a dude from the middle of nowhere who couldn’t go to Fat Beats without a plane ticket and a Google map and was geeked when he found out he could find all the music he wanted on the internet, I’m bummed for you guys. And even more bummed for me because I never got to experience what you’re talking about. Shitballs.

Comment by A'Peks 08.19.10 @

Fat Beats never figured too prominently in my life but W. 8th St did (back when lower Manhattan was worth a shit) and Beat Street was a pan-ethnic not-just-hip-hop blast at its peak.

Weird and true: a lot of great (not hip-hop) stuff that must have fell off the proverbial truck was in the bargain rack at Beat Street the last six months, sometimes for pennies on the dollar.

Beat Street also had a decent, if not comprehensive, kung fu dvd selection, which I consider essential to the culture, or what little remains of it.

Comment by Willis Still Sunsweet, WWIB 08.19.10 @

yea beat street had the dope kung fu selection and some cute females working there.. RIP Fat Beats..

Comment by dolo 08.20.10 @

I remember going up to fat Beats in ’96 with my man and seeing Eclipse and thinking he was Stretch Armstrong. I ran up on him on some doofus-type shit, tellin’ him how ill his radio show was. Eclipse was mad cool about it. He was like that shit happens all the time. Fat Beats had the ill vinyl selection. Me being from Jersey, I should have went there more often. Guess I’m just stuck with the website. RIP Fat Beats.

Comment by oskamadison 08.20.10 @

Fat Beats has been a staple in NYC history for some time. It hurts to see it go but I will always have my memories at that spot. I’m glad It was around as long as it was. I’ll be there on the 4th when they close their doors.

Comment by LEX 08.20.10 @

dallas! i am lost without your blog! i needs that shit it my life
please bring it back in time for the new kanye album
who am i to turn for clarity when it drops?
who will update me on the life of sean P!?
what do you think about the scott pilgram movie?
who will provide the balance of emotionXgullynessxknowledge in the blog world?

Comment by smog 08.20.10 @

Feels like the end of an era to me. From meeting Percee P outside of the store and buying a cd from him to meeting Roc Marci and Dallas at an in-store. New York just doesn’t feel the same anymore. I blame skinny jeans.

Comment by Brooklyn 'Lo 08.21.10 @

Thanx for letting me crash on your proverbial couch UnKut.

Comment by Dallas 08.22.10 @

Sums shit up perfectly. Music Factory in Times Square was the hall of fame in the late 80s.
Rock N Soul gets no love?

Comment by keatso 08.22.10 @

Music Factory, Rock & Soul, the spot on 164th across from the Colosseum(sp).

What is being lost in the age of so-called ‘social networking’ is the social aspect of being outside of your mom’s basement.

Going to that record spot and meeting other people who were copping that same joint. Grabbing a slice of pizza before getting on the bus or subway to go home. Peeling off the plastic to examine the liner notes, thank yous and the cover art. Getting back to the basement to blast that shit out of your speakers.

Don’t be sad for Fat Beats. Be sad for anyone who doesn’t have this experience.

Comment by Dallas 08.24.10 @

My word! Fat Beats = The king of funny-vibe record stores! At least in LA … I only went to the NY store a couple times, but I can personally hold the LA FB responsible and accountable for uncountable crimes against the art and culture … The first year might be the only year the LA store might have been respectable, but every year since it got worse … MY WORD! PEACE! Goodbye! The only person who worked there that NEVER gave me a funny vibe was Babu … EVERYBODY else who ever worked there was guilty of playing HipHop like a game … on some level or another …From the newjack hustler wannabes to the most well-known names who worked there … They all played themselves THERE!

Comment by ACthePD 08.24.10 @

Yo Dallas, I like what you said. Although I’m from the Bay Area, I’ve had very similar experiences out here and especially in SF. For like an 8 year period I’d hit ALL the record stores EVERY Friday evening/night and grab a slice or two at the pizza spot. I’d hit up the record stores on the Oakland/Berkely side across the Bay Bridge every Friday evening/night as well! It was always about grabbin the latest 12″ singles, promo’s and LP’s n shit… And of course hittin up the used section and dollar bins and all. I don’t go every Friday these days, but I still do go to all the different record stores a few times a month here in the Bay.

Yo whattup AC!

Comment by Shaun D. aka Wicked 08.25.10 @

That spot on 164th was another Music Factory outlet I think…I remember trekking out to the one in Jamaica

Comment by keatso 08.25.10 @

Wow that is really sad. As dallas said haven’t been there in a minute but used to go all the time. Always looking for thye latest sigles and seeing instores. Hilights including seeing pack Fm do crazy freestyles at an instore and countless others. Asking Prodigy what a wankster was at an instore was mad funny. Also not buying Jin’s mixtape and then buying Percee P’s instead. Used to come there all the way from long island almost every week. That makes me feel old as hell. Damn you time!!!

Comment by OWM 08.25.10 @

“Mad memories of dem..i wear them in my heart like an emblem.”
RIP Fat Beats- RIP Guru – That eras never coming back…hold ya heads

Comment by vital24 08.29.10 @

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