Is it weird for Black Chicagoans to indulge in rock music? Particularly, punk rock and heavy metal are seen in most traditional Black households as being crazy, demonic and white-dominated music.

The reality is, in most Black social settings, listening to rock music, in most cases, will set you apart as an outcast. 

Fortunately, this didn’t deter West Side native FatBoyGoth from creating a path for himself. By being himself and capturing a sound and style that he feels speaks to his creativity, FatBoyGoth is on a unique path, finding ways to combine elements of alternative rock, punk rock and drill. In the process, he’s also found a community of listeners who have welcomed him — and a growing wave of drill-infused rock – with open arms.

As a young artist, FatBoyGoth showed potential, and as a teenager he caught the attention of local influencers, musicians and music executives in the Chicago music scene such as Lupe Fiasco, John Monopoly and Shorty Capone, a known Chicago talent agent who FatBoyGoth was signed to early in his career.

“I was the kid around all the celebrities,” FatBoyGoth told The TRiiBE during a recent one-on-one interview.  

Unfortunately, as a young rockstar, FatBoyGoth, whose previous artist name was Jo Jizzle, wasn’t allowed the freedom to just make music. 

“During those times, having investors and having somebody put $50,000 behind your career, and having Shorty Capone around me, you can’t really do the things that you want to do [musically],” FatBoyGoth said.

Eventually, under his Jo Jizzle moniker, he started to gain popularity, and this led to collaborations with fellow up-and-coming artists at the time, such as the infamous RondoNumbaNine and Cdai. In 2015, he experienced consistent radio play with his song “Going Through It,” as fans found the wavy break-up song catchy and relatable. 

On a path of self discovery, FatBoyGoth knew early on his journey would be different from his fellow West Side peers. 

“I was always the outcast,” he said. “Everybody’s wearing Girbauds, I’ll pull up in a Ralph Lauren shirt with tight pants and fat shoes, but I was still part of the guys out West.”

FatBoyGoth’s aspiration for self-awareness became realized when he “tapped in” to a basic reality about himself – “I’m just a weird motherf*cker,” he figured. 

Unbeknownst to his team at the time, FatBoyGoth assembled a band, and began dropping what could be considered alternative music, receiving positive reviews and gaining momentum within the alternative community. 

This same community came out in full support for FatBoyGoth’s Third Annual Rockstar Lifestyle Fashion Show, a sold out affair held earlier this month on March 2. The event featured performances from FatBoyGoth as well as Chicago artist Nae Stackz and Miami-bred Skodi. Hosted by Guru Goldie, the fashion show featured looks from designers Geez and Squeek Starzula on a red carpet runway. Portions of the night’s proceeds went to local charity Girls Rock Chicago. 

One of the most intriguing elements of this year’s Rockstar Lifestyle Fashion Show wound up being the venue, which was Chicago’s First Unitarian Church at 5650 S. Woodlawn Ave.

According to the event’s brainchild, the church was the perfect setting for this unique community of moshpit-loving ragers. The 2024 event marked the second consecutive year that the Rockstar Lifestyle Fashion Show took place at a church. Previously, it was held at the Greater Chicago Church at 705 Jackson Blvd in west suburban Oak Park. 

Within the walls of these beautifully-designed places of worship, FatBoyGoth has been able to create some of the most memorable experiences for his fans. He told The TRiiBE that the thought process behind picking churches to be the backdrop for his fashion shows started with it being a budgetary plus.

“Why don’t I see if I can rent out a church,” FatBoyGoth said. “Because then it’d be less money I’m spending trying to set up something because the inside of the church already looks amazing.” 

FatBoyGoth continues to discover himself while championing a community that Black Chicago has yet to fully embrace. FatBoyGoth works in the tradition of Chicago artists like Juice WRLD, and finds continued inspiration from rappers like Famous Dex, Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco. 

In February 2023, FatBoyGoth was given the opportunity to open up for Famous Dex at the Chicago stop of his Revival Tour, which took place at The Promontory in Hyde Park.

“They reached out to me because Famous Dex has that mosh pit crowd,” he said. “I came out and I did my thing. It was amazing. Not only that, but [Dex] showed me love.”

FatBoyGoth’s recently-dropped single, “Lost in Cali,” sees him deliver impressive drill-like lyrics in a raspy punk rock voice and attitude while floating over a melodic piano drill beat. With over 95,000 views on YouTube already, this new single is proof for FatBoyGoth that combining his drill past with the creative energy powering his current music could be lightning in a bottle. 

So, will Black Chicagoans really embrace somebody like FatBoyGoth? It’s hard still to imagine somebody stepping foot in a mosh pit with a fresh pair of Air Force 1’s, but one thing is for sure for this artist –  he has definitely managed to find his target audience and he has continued plans to cater to his fan base.

FatBoyGoth celebrate the finale of his show, RockStar Lifestyle Fashion Show at Chicago’s First Unitarian Church.
FatBoyGoth celebrate the finale of his show, RockStar Lifestyle Fashion Show at Chicago’s First Unitarian Church. Photo by Ash Lane for The TRiiBE®

“I’m trying to get back into the studio to work on an EP,” FatBoyGoth said. “I wouldn’t say an album, like a body of work that I can put out so I can put out a great show like a great live show with live instruments.”

FatBoyGoth also plans on continuing the tradition of his RockStar Lifestyle Fashion Show, claiming the next venue and theme will be sure to leave his fans in awe. 

Check out FatBoyGoth’s latest single “Lost in Cali.”

is a culture correspondent with The TRiiBE.