Motor City emcee Phat Kat splits his time between Detroit, San Francisco and — of course — the road. Kat moved out of his old digs on St. Antoine a year ago and accompanied J Dilla on his final European tour. Kat and Dilla’s long-running collaborations date back to a 1992 open-mike night at the storied Rhythm Kitchen. In fact, Dilla (RIP) produced Kat’s forthcoming 12-inch ("Cold Steel/Nasty Ain’t It") and a number of tracks on his upcoming full-length Carte Blanche, which drops the spring on Look Records.
When in San Francisco, Kat lodges at his label’s Pacific Heights studio/condo. For Detroit living, Kat moved into the historic Leland Hotel just last week, hence the lack of furniture in these photos. The Leland — which is quickly becoming the Chelsea Hotel of Detroit — was erected in 1927 and served as a hangout the mob and the notorious bootlegging Purple Gang. Today the handsome, 21-floor residential hotel in downtown Detroit is also goth home to City Club and the Labyrinth.
Why the Leland? Kat says it was the great view from high up that sold him. "I was also tired of being that guy on the couch when I came back in town."