A certain amount of controversy surrounds Fat Tony‘s sole album Be Surmounted By Scorn. It’s actually a vinyl bootleg of an early demo-tape recorded by Atlanta punk-pop band Goo 69 when they were trying to break into the suburban white hip-hop market.
The band name here is more than a Simpsons reference, it is an in-joke playing off Goo 69 singer Tony Mulroney‘s infamous tabloid-fueled battles with weight gain. This has lead to speculation the album’s release is the work of industrious fans.
Recording industry experts have suggested it is more likely a marketing ploy devised by their management company, Hot Dogone Artists, known for their elaborate, often ill-fated, viral marketing strategies. They were behind the R&B singer K’ellee‘s disastrous PR stunt at the American Music Awards.
Goo 69 deny the album is their work at all blasting it as “the worst kind of audio-blackface.” Despite these assertions, studio engineer Rocky “Pop” Littlejohn has come forward claiming to have recorded the sessions in late 1997 and that Tony and the boys actually wore literal blackface during the sessions. He bolstered this claim with photographic proof though Littlejohn has been accused of “Photoshopping” them into a picture of his studio which also throws doubt on the legitimacy of the “blackface” in question.
Rocky “Pop” Littlejohn in his atlanta, GA studio with “Fat Tony”
controversies aside, the album itself is a passably mediocre attempt at party-jams laced with cheeky, not-quite-naughty lyrics. One generous critic suggested it was what you might get if “Vanilla Ice had been the fourth Beastie Boy but all they had to work with was a cheap Casio keyboard and a Partridge Family sample.”
It’s estimated only 500 copies of the bootleg were ever pressed. Most have appeared on eBay and gathering few bids. In 2003 New York graffiti artist Beekr went on a public mission to buy up all every single copy intending to “burn them to hell” in Times Square on Martin Luther King’s birthday but whether this was an artistic endeavour, a public service or merely a boast resulting from two decades of inhaling spray paint propellant was never revealed as he appears to have abandoned the project.
Goo 69 have a new album due out later this year.