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Wednesday, Feb 21 2007 | 12:32

Back in the early ‘90s, Phat Kat helped to put Detroit on the hip-hop map as a member of First Down, pairing with legendary DJ/producer J Dilla (R.I.P.), then known as Jay Dee, years before Dilla’s involvement in Slum Village. After meeting Guru and DJ Premier of Gang Starr during a promotional stop through Detroit in 1994, Phat Kat gave them a demo tape – the first demo he had ever passed on to industry folks, he says – and First Down ended up getting signed to Payday Records on the strength of one song, the now-classic “Front Street,” which then appeared on the labels “Representing The Streets” compilation. First Down seemed poised to be one of the first Midwestern groups to blow up nationally; unfortunately, their label was folded into a much larger company and they were lost in transition. Undeterred, the MC also known as Ronnie Cash stayed on the grind in the ensuing years, appearing on albums by J Dilla and Slum Village, hitting the road frequently, and releasing his first solo album “Undeniable” in 2004, followed now in Spring 2007 by “Carte Blanche”, his first release for DJ Design’s Look Records.

The album Phat KatCarte Blanche” (Look) is going to be released April 20, 2007.

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