Atlanta artist, “Key!” creates unity and unique sounds


The forefather of underground ATL trap music, FatManKey is often unheard of and extremely underrated. Honestly, when I first saw his name mentioned on hip-hop blogs I thought it was an indication of an obese primeape-type Pokemon. FatManKey, a stocky ATL hipster often stylizes his moniker simply as “Key!” He is hailed as an innovator. Key keeps those around him on their toes with outlandish remarks.

World as his oyster: Key’s beginnings

Marquis Whitaker (Key) dropped out of high school to form the group Two-Nine with Curtis Williams and Reese LaFlare. These three talented individuals met in 2008 and dropped their debut project in 2012.  Key certainly paid his dues and gained respect by climbing the ranks of the underground. Two-Nine disbanded in 2014 when Key went his own route and the remaining two members decided to sign with Mike Will Made It and EarDrummers Records.

Staying off the grid and following his instinctual path to independent success is a common theme for Key. Another thing he is particularly good at is maintaining connections and never burning any bridges. For instance, He assisted his former group mates with their debut album on EarDrummers Records titled, “FRVR.”

Blurring Lines Between Mainstream and Underground

Key’s name began to ring out on the main stage when he featured on songs like, “U Guessed It” and “Look at Wrist.” He is majorly responsible for creating awareness of artists like 21 Savage and Post Malone via the hip-hop circles he has been involved in. He has proven the ability to sustain relationships, although riding his own seemingly loner-type wave.

Resourcefulness, connectivity and networking have proven to be beneficial for Key and made a lasting impression on those with whom he collaborates.

His latest album, “777” has been blasting serious vibrations since its highly anticipated release last summer. With production by Kenny Beats, a valuable collaborator. Specifically, the two were experiencing similar sentiments while creating and narrowed the work down from 60 songs to 15. Kenny Beats reduces redundancy on the boards, submits clean versions of tempos and crafts densely layered production to develop an ideal record.

“The point of 777 is for the world to hear adult Key. Your favorite new rapper’s favorite rapper, grown up. My job was to lay any canvas he needed at any given moment…eventually, it was like we both already knew the songs before they happened.” Kenny Beats

 The two proved their ability to fire on all cylinders by combining conflicted, celebratory and volatile styles. They were able to unite distinct mesmerizing samples with high velocity trap drum hit bangers. Their constant, aggressive energy displays a thumping intensity and electrical bounce. By cranking out quality tunes while his state of mind remained fresh, Key did not allow himself to become stagnant on this album. Together with Kenny Beats, these two masterminds collaborated smoothly to reach a new plateau in each of their respective careers. At the end of November 2018, a deluxe “777” album surfaced with features from 6LACK, Jay Critch, Rico Nasty and Skepta.

The slot machine favorite, “777” displays maturation from Key with tantalizing melodies that range from aggressive to emotional. Frankly, it is quite simply unlike any other album to date and experiments with shameless topics. Key allows negativity and adverse moments to be fuel for his fire and stretches his versatility on this project. With fearless strength and experimentation, “777” is a prideful, mosh-worthy pack of tracks. With zero guest appearances, Key maintains a central design through a developed and fluent bunch of songs. Most importantly, he exchanges hopelessness for triumph.

Key: 10 years tapping in

Key excels outside of his comfort zone by addressing topics like troubled relationships, loneliness and the highs and lows his life brings about. Without alienating his audience, Key encompasses a wide range of emotions with strong control of balance. For instance, his energy ranges from emotional to aggressive without sacrificing any bit of grittiness along the way. 

Trailblazing energy: Key

Key ensures this album spins effortlessly in heavy rotation with simple lyrics, verbose patterns, meticulous flows and a tactile stream of consciousness approach. With A$AP collaborations like “Tropical” and “Please Shut Up” Key manages to create raw expressions and interjects energy within every track. Additionally, A$AP Rocky has praised Key and reveres him as the, “battery in their back” which speaks directly to his everlasting energy and rejuvenating nature. By taking the path less followed, Key has earned boatloads of recognition from those who appreciate him.



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