Fat Beats Founder DJ Jab Talks Trinity, Clean Raps & Consciousness
The Fat Beats brand has been in the hip-hop mix since 1994, when Joseph “Dj Jab” Abajian opened his humble little basement shop in New York’s East Village. Nearly 20 years later, Jab is still laying it down for hip-hop via his label, music distribution company, and now his rap group, Trinity, which features the rhymes of respected ‘90s spitters Sadat X (of Brand Nubian fame) and Andre The Giant (aka A.G. of Show and A.G./D.I.T.C fame). The crew’s debut LP, 20 In, drops March 26th. What’s amazing about the project is these two gritty and raw emcees left the swear words behind in favor or positive messages. Who wouldn’t want Sadat X to read a bedtime story to their kid? Mass Appeal sat down with DJ Jab to talk about the album, Fat Beats and being in the game for two decades.
MA: You’ve been in the rap game for a long time as an entrepreneur. Talk about how long you’ve been involved with the music as a DJ and producer.
JA: I’ve been deejaying since 1984 when I slowed down as a B-Boy. I messed around with production shortly after that but didn’t get my first MPC2000 until 1996. Before that, I played around on synth-sonic drums and a Roland TR505 but always bought records that I foresaw using one day for production.
MA: Tell us about how Trinity came together and what the group represents.
JA: At the time of conception for this project I felt Fat Beats need a face to represent the company, and be out in the field doing shows and in-store appearances. I’m a fan of rap groups and like to hear multiple emcees and singers at shows and on songs. Andre The Giant and Sadat X were artists I was a fan of and thought they would sound good together. The idea I had was to do shows and a tour with them as a deejay. I felt they had enough material to entertain today’s rap audience and introduce them to the young crowd that’s not that familiar with some of the classic artists from the ’90. Recording an album was additional and was something to have to sell on the road. The name simply represents three working as one, as the original vision was for three entities coming together as one.
MA: Andre The Giant and Sadat X are prolific emcees who are no strangers to strong language and explicit content. What was the process like working with them, and the duo having to write songs that contain no expletives?
JA: I pulled out the conscious sides of them and brought them back to the days when hip-hop albums existed and naturally there was no profanity on them. Almost every song has a purpose that I did some research on. I would propose the idea for the song to them and have facts to write on. Some songs took more explaining than others on what to write on but they seem to come through on every song with the lyrics we talked about and the melodies and patterns we discussed.
MA: What’s next for Trinity?
JA: The shows and tours part of the deal didn’t quite pan out. but I still have hope. If I do another project under this moniker, it would probably be with an MC and a singer . . .