The murder of Anthony Watkins, aka Fat Tone, made perfect sense, at least to his fans.

Tone Death, first of two parts 

The murder of Anthony Watkins, aka Fat Tone, made perfect sense, at least to his fans.

Page 8 of 9

Tone went so far as to deny the slaying in a song. But in the retelling, the song became a confession.

Fat Tone killed Mac Dre/Fat Tone killed Mac Dre, Tone whined, impersonating a grade school tattletale on "My Hood Betrayed Me." You stupid ass bitch/Nigga, that's my nigga/I really knew the nigga/You niggas just groupies.

"Every boss in town knew Tone didn't kill Mac Dre," Priceless says. But she says few doubted that would count for much out west.

"Someone would die for Dre. We knew it was going to be Rich or Tone," Priceless says.

Andre "Mac Minister" Dow started cozying up to Tone several months after Mac Dre's fateful trip.

Dow's claim to fame was twofold. He'd recorded a verse for Bay Area rapper E-40 that laid out the ten commandments of hip-hop. And he'd gotten into a fight with E-40 during the nationally televised Source Awards in 2000. E-40 said he'd lost a $30,000 gold chain in the melée.

Tone met Dow in March during a trip to Las Vegas. Dow seemed to have good connections. He made enough of an impression on Tone that the two of them traveled to New York together.

"He [Tone] was supposed to give a demo to a guy named HOV that was hooked up with G Unit and 50 Cent to let him listen to it," says Tone's girlfriend, Spencer. "They said that a lot of people down in New York were feeling his music. ... He met T.I.. He met Lil Scrappy and Young Buck. He really had fun."

Tone rewarded Dow by letting him record a skit on the album he was putting together.

The only downside to the new friendship was that Dow was constantly asking Tone for money. "I would always say that I don't actually think he needs to give you no money," Spencer recalls.

The Las Vegas trip in May to meet Dow seemed no different from the others, Spencer says. This time, Dow was promising an audience with Snoop Dogg.

But the two were not getting along as well as they had before, Spencer says. "He felt like Mac Minister was hating on him. Mac Minister kept asking him for some money, and he wouldn't give Mac Minister money."

Dow also had asked Tone if he could wear Tone's $20,000 gold chain, Spencer says.

By the weekend, Tone was fed up and wanted to come back to Kansas City, Spencer says.

"Mac Minister told him Snoop Dog was having a concert that Tuesday," she says. "There wasn't no need of flying here for a day and then flying back down there."

Spencer says she started getting calls from the Las Vegas police the next day.

Every time they called, she hung up before they could tell her more than that her number was the last one called in Fat Tone's cell phone.

"I thought maybe he had did something," Spencer says.

Not knowing Tone had been killed, Priceless flew out to visit him the next morning as planned. She says he had invited her and had promised to introduce her around.

Instead, she collected Tone's escort and came back home.

Two weeks later, Tone was buried on a clear Kansas City Saturday. A small, green tent had been erected to shade his white casket. The 150 people who had followed from the funeral chapel prayed and hung on to one another for support. Police officers watched quietly from a nearby hill. As the procession pulled away, hip-hop boomed from several of the cars.

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