“If I had the powers to give Fatso Mpyatona a shot, I would give him with[in] a heart beat” ~ Chronical Deep.
Prince, P Diddy, Euphonik, and now Tshegofatso Mpyatona. Just but a brief list of artists who have performed under different names, for differing reasons of cause. While for Puffy it has been for vibes nje, for Prince disputes with his record label led him to famously release some of his hits under the name T.A.F.K.A.P. (the Artist formerly known as Prince). In the case of Themba and similarly Tshegofatso, it is more for distinct as they uniquely perform under different names concurrently. Musical alter egos if you please.
Fatso 98 is a Deep House producer not confined to borders or eras in his sound, a purist. Mpyatona, on the other hand, is a Dance and Electro musician who caters for the more South African sound, he does not shy away from a good remix or even lunging into the Amapiano pool. Together they are one person catering for different crowds.
The man behind it all hails from Vaalbank, Mpumalanga, in the former KwaNdebele. Now, if you are not familiar with the Vaalbank and decided to look it up you are likely to learn the following, firstly Clement Manyathela hails from there, secondly the people of Vaalbank have amazing camaraderie and lastly they LOVE their house music. When the people of Vaalbank are not promoting their local events, that are headlined by local acts bar the occasional few, they are making sure that the waves of music made by producers and artists they call their own are felt countrywide and right now, Fatso is their guy.
“…The music scene back home is very close minded, open to very few genres and has led me to create the Mpyatona alias, we have a few Deep House producers I drew inspiration from, one being Gabbana.”
Artistry goes beyond just what we hear or see at face value, a lot goes into building and making both the music and the brand. As an independent artist there is no doubt that Fatso has reached a good level of relative success in branding not only himself but his alias as well. But beyond that, what has been more commendable is the grounds which the music has managed to cover.
“My music is influenced by a lot of musicians, from Timbaland to Atjazz, from J. Dilla , Terrence Martin to Kabza De Small. When you’re a producer there’s really no margin to the people whose footsteps you can follow, music is music.”
True to his influences, Fatso does not shy away from experimenting and branching out with his sound. He very often uses remixes as a channel where he can explore and pay homage to some of his favorite songs and artists. As seen amongst others when he got his hands on Elaine’s You Are The One, De Mthuda’s John Wick or similarly Aubrey Qwana’s Molo.
From his own catalogue however, on any given day Fatso’s work is either bringing Dj Fresh to complete awe, getting continuous applause and mention from Chymamusique, or being drafted into playlists by both fellow artists and music streaming servers alike, talk about prominence. Under the Mpyatona alias among others he has released the Florescence EP, a very polished sounding project in the form of Masuku Late released in 2020 as well as the single Be With You ft Katso Motaung. Under license from the Kid Fonque run label, Stay True Sounds – which boasts some of the country’s biggest house talents – Jazzuelle, Chronical Deep and Mpyatona himself re-released Be With You in the form of remixes where they each had a go at it.
On the other hand Aura is a 3 track EP released under Fatso98, it features the track Higher which follows an exciting 8-bar pattern from start to finish and roughly changes or adds something to the mix in 30 second intervals. Overall, Higher is a good Disco house track with nice vocal chants that get reversed towards the final stretch. Other tracks on the EP are 80s Love which is in the mold of a club banger or even a great way to start a set, and finally Dilemma which has vibe similar to that of Pierre Johnson’s music.
Based mainly in Pretoria and in his hometown, Vaalbank where he since October 2020 hosts the 0Four4Nine Sessions, Fatso as a performer has graced some of the country’s most exciting scenes. His sets not only showcase his music and that which he listens to but also showcases his amazing charisma that many are fond to from his social media presence, the biggest indicator of such charisma is the broad smile he has on his face throughout his sets.
Black Boy Fly
Now finally, Mpyatona’s latest project release is in the form of his EP Black Boy Fly.
“… The project is really a laid back Amapiano project and the whole idea was to make music that even I as a 50 year old timer would listen to.”
Released in mid-August, the EP has seen good reception and success. The single Need Your Love ft Menzi Soul has been featured on 5FM’s top 10 Dance playlist for 5 consecutive weeks. The project has received good applause from industry leaders alike while also amassing around 30 thousand streams on Spotify alone.
Fatso’s star is far from dimming, keep rising king!