Chipper Jones Vol. 3 is the latest in the series of Joey Fatts’ tales from streets. Joey has a penchant for talking unapologetically about his life as a gang member, banging in the name of freeing his family and friends from the struggle. In interviews he’s stated how he’s been banging and shot his first gun at 8 years old. A lot of rappers will stunt on you and glamorize this life, but Joey’s music is an honest account of life in the streets.
My personal favorite from this mixtape was “Karma,” Joey’s ode to the bitch that puts us all in order. The first verse features him questioning how he can justify all of the wrong he’s been doing with God. Long Beach isn’t the easiest place to live with constant pressure from peers to either get down or lay down. In Joey’s quest to make it out he’s done some of the worst things imaginable. For this he seeks repentance and asks God,
I just fuck ‘em then, fuck ‘em, I gotta get this money
Rob a nigga for his cash, pay my tithes on Sunday
Lord should I be worried about Karma
If I’m robbin’ shit and giving you my dollars?
– Joey Fatts, Karma
Joey then goes on to detail how life was when he lived honestly and worked in a stockroom. Justification for his actions is one of his main themes throughout the entire mixtape. His second verse watches the normally straight forward rapper switch his flow up and implement literary devices into his writing when he personifies Karma as the bitch she is, choosing to face her head on and continuously attack his enemies before they got a chance to catch him.
Karma how you doin’? My name is Joey I like to smoke trees
From the Eastside of Long Beach, I like to hang out in with my OG’s…
…Karma I heard about you, you tryna fuck? I’m tryna fuck you too
– Joey Fatts, Karma
Another standout was the Vince Staples assisted “Million $ Dreams.” Joey nailed this track from top to bottom. I say top to bottom because not only did he write the rhymes, but produced the track as well. His standout verse caught the ears of all of our panel, but what set this track off was yet again another star-making verse from fellow Cutthroat Boy and blood cousin Vince Staples. Vince’s voice pierces through the haunting instrumental, conjuring souls as he spits highlights like these.
Gotta make it big or I’ll be here if I don’t make it happen
Plus my mama sick and medication cost a Cadillac
Likely that she’ll die before we straight and I ain’t havin’ that
Niggas never had it all so don’t show it off, I’m grabbin’ that
– Vince Staples, Million $ Dreams
Deaf ears can hear that Vince is in the zone when he delivers this sequence. Joey’s verse is more of the same. In a verse where he justifies his means to those ends, he reveals that Momma Fatts does not plan on bailing him out if and when he gets caught.
Told my momma I’m crippin’, she said don’t call for a visit
If you’ll ass do a sentence go right in somebody’s prison
– Joey Fatts, Million $ Dreams
This was right after Joey told us about how his older brother’s incarceration didn’t stop him from joining in on the lifestyle. Family plays a big part in Chipper Jones 3. In “Do or Die” Joey reiterates his mother’s warnings about fake friends. Vince Staples is Joey’s younger cousin who he’s assisting in getting into the rap game. The only other features are A$AP Rocky, who discovered him; fellow Cutthroat Boy A$ton Matthews; and Waka Flocka Flame, the man who gave Joey his co-sign by signing him to Bricksquad Records.
While we commemorate Joey for his honest depiction of being a gangster in Long Beach, I had to take some points away for repetitive subject matter. In every song he was either shooting or robbing and rationalizing why he’s doing so. You can listen to one or two tracks and determine if you like the mixtape because he’s talking about the same thing on similar sounding production throughout the entire tape. Joey’s also not the most intricate or animated man so his low key delivery can leave you completely unaffected if you slip when listening. While it provides for a smooth listen, some may view this as vapid and boring. Aside from the tracks mentioned, the others serve as fillers and are a bit forgettable. The Waka and A$ton assisted “Paradise” is a huge disappointment. What looked like a would-be favorite on paper might as well have not made the album as it offers nothing. Then there were songs like “Gudda Bitch” that fit the lifestyle, but are a distraction musically.
Overall, Joey Fatts’ Chipper Jones 3 is a good listen. It tells an age old story, but gives it from a perspective much more authentic than most. Joey’s lifestyle isn’t rosey so he takes the time to give it to us straight and asks us for forgiveness as he does so. The album is very traditional, and inspiring if you take pointers from the young man telling his story as a method to gets out the streets. The standouts stand tall, while the others fall by the wayside.
*Ether Report Card Rating 6.8 (out of 10)