Cut from a different cloth than studio thugs, there has been a recent upswing in emcees from Southern California coming from actual street ties to profit in music. YG, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock and Nipsey Hussle have followed the infamous footsteps of Snoop Dogg as shining symbols to transition from set tripping into Hip Hop success stories. Hailing from Los Angeles’ neighboring territory Long Beach, Joey Fatts is a Crip representative whose character shines on social media whether responding to everyday trolls or handling palpable beefs with the likes of SpaceghostPurrp and Odd Future’s MellowHype. Looking to prove his personality on record holds just as much weight, Chipper Jones 3 is a precursor to a forthcoming debut album and a rumored EP with 9th Wonder.

Steadily building his buzz, Joey Fatts tells the tried and true story of making illicit decisions as a means of provision. The intro sharing the project’s title sets the tone for a gritty ride, as “Chipper Jones 3” paints a savage picture of the road to glory, benefitted by Cardo’s ominous keys and Trap drums. Walking listeners through the thoughts of a complex soul, “Karma” displays Joey’s corrupt rationale for living wrong. Here he reasons, “Rob a nigga for his cash and pay my tithes on Sunday / Lord should I be worried about karma, if I’m robbing shit but giving you my dollars?” Continuing his crime spree on “Do Or Die” (an homage to Chicago classic “Po Pimp”), he channels the spirit of violent, testosterone-driven Battle Rap with the clever quote, “Niggas snitch, I don’t fuck with that / So I’ma let these shells hit his head, turn his Wizards hat back to a Bullets cap.” Going the extra mile with this witty NBA reference shows his writing runs deeper than what’s commonly offered by way of street linguistics.

Refraining from glorifying grim conditions, Joey Fatts details the truth of his surroundings from a number of angles. He takes an almost guiltless pleasure relying on his survival instincts to take care of loved ones via major infractions of the law, an idea explored on “Million $ Dreams.” Accompanied by his cousin (and rising star in his own right) Vince Staples, Fatts fleshes out the mindset of one without the luxury of an option to live righteously. Speaking for a generation of hustlers, the anthem-like “Tryna’ Get It” celebrates the grind’s monetary and sexual spoils, while “Gudda Bitch” finds him courting the loyalty of a woman sharing his questionable morals. Earning points for technique, the well-sequenced “Ended Up” is a worthwhile tale of redemptive victory appearing early in the album’s second half, setting the tone for him to explain the effects of prosperity on his life.

Slowly gaining recognition within the ranks of the up and coming, Joey Fatts has arrived with the help of established winners. Extended family to A$AP Mob (having received a production credit on Rocky’s Long.Live.ASAP and toured with the crew), their leader’s appearance on “Keep It G Pt. II” leaves a bit to be desired. As well, Joey’s newfound alliance with 36BrickHouse scores a Waka Flocka cameo on “Paradise,” but these high profile guests ultimately do little to benefit him. It is the family portraits on “What Mean The World 2 U?” and his prideful gangbanging on “Tookie” that capture his strength: genuine moments of honesty that can’t be called into question. Since telling his existence on Chipper Jones 3 is such an effortless feat, Joey Fatts should ascend to greater heights down the line should he challenge himself to come up with more diverse subject matter.