FATLIP - WHAT'S UP?: In an industry and art form that thrives and sustains itself on posturing, bravado and machismo of the highest order, for an emcee to be raw, introspective and vulnerable is practically unheard of. Sure, there are plenty of little-known underground emcees who lay their souls bare in their lyrics, but none of them ever stood on the precipice of hiphop stardom as did Fatlip with the Pharcyde. I know, I know Eminem brings quite a bit of grim personal reality, but Slim is sure to do it in a manner that leaves him still standing tall and tough ... like Steelers’ coach Bill Cowher wiping his tears with his fist.

Think LL’s “Cheesy Rat Blues,” if it were true, and you’re on your way to getting the point of former Pharcyde frontman Fatlip’s outstanding 2003 release “What’s Up Fatlip?”

In the song, Fatlip comes off as a smaller than life figure, one that has plummeted from the heights of the Bizarre Ride roller coaster and landed squarely in a place so completely dissimilar to the hiphop heights to which he potentially could have ascended that the only thing left is to be depressingly real …because, after all, bragging doesn't work when you're "washed up like a riptide."

What makes the song work is that the self-deprecating bits of humor sprinkled throughout are only enhanced by the visuals in the Spike Jonez video/documentary. Combined, the entire piece is a metaphorical shoulder shrug … “hey, this is what happened and it sucks, but f—k it, gotta move on.”

Aside from eliciting sympathy for the emcee and filling in some of the "Where is he now?" questions, “What’s Up Fatlip” is a superbly crafted song from the sparse beat to the flow and lyrics which are at the same time melancholy and flat out hilarious.

As for the piece I took the cues straight from the video/documentary with Fatlip as the sad clown and the setting made to look like the sunset of a career ... or is it the dawn of a new chapter?