Release Date: Sep 25, 2015
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Rap, East Coast Rap, Hardcore Rap
This summer, Fetty Wap became the first artist to have four songs in Billboard’s hip-hop top 10 at the same time. The biggest hit was Trap Queen, the ubiquitous love song that preaches equality at home and in business (if that business is making and selling crack). In rap terms, Wap is a romantic. On one song, My Way, he even pledges to shoot in the head any man who tries to steal his girl.
It's hard not to root for Fetty Wap, the rapper whose irrepressible 2014 single "Trap Queen" went from Tri-State SoundCloud sensation to this year's late-pass song of the summer. The 24-year-old, born Willie Maxwell, is unshakably positive, turning a prominent disability (he lost his eye to glaucoma as a child) into a proud calling card that's already inspired a 10-year old to venture out into the world without his own prosthetic eye. He's from Paterson, N.J., a place we would almost certainly not be talking about were it not for Fetty Wap; he's fiercely loyal to his longtime Remy Boyz 1738 crew, including perennial sidekick Monty, a rapper we would assuredly not be talking about were it not for Fetty Wap.
Fetty Wap, the karaoke yodeler, must be wondering whether he'll be around next year. His shotgun blast of debut singles has splattered the Hot 100, but so did "Fancy"; so did "Nasty Freestyle"; so did "Hannah Montana," "Versace," and "Fight Night," yet we see what's become of the Migos. The world is dark. The future is bleak.
If the commercial crossover of freaky, druggy rappers like Gucci Mane and Future was a surprise, the supernova phenomena of Fetty Wap took it to another level. His catchy, slang-filled, and strange single "Trap Queen" dominated radio, social media, and shopping malls to the point where Taylor Swift brought the man on-stage for a cover version, and when the follow-up cut, "My Way," topped the charts, he had a Lil Wayne-sized track record, and every reason to go for the feature-filled, much-anticipated, and long-delayed debut album. This self-titled LP is anything but, as it feels instant, alive, and straight off the streets, thanks in part to a guest list that relies almost exclusively on Fetty's New Jersey crew, the Remy Boyz.
Save for deepening the entrenchment of kaleidoscopic, Atlanta-schooled synth work as rap production’s de rigueur modality, Fetty Wap’s hospitable takeover of the charts over the last 12 months has mostly proven what the rap Internet has known for some time: that radio’s ready to get a little weird. There was a bit of a teaser last year when a rapper with a Morrissey-ian haircut and outlook on life wrote a song about working the weekend shift and rode a cresting OVO wave to unavoidable omnipresence. But outside of “Tuesday,” Makonnen and Fetty’s other surreal antecedent, Young Thug, remain critical darlings — beloved weirdos unable translate their twitchy vocal idiosyncrasies (babbles, whinnies, out-of-sync croons) into top-ten hits.
Despite all of his massive success, there are still people writing off Fetty Wap as a one-eyed, one-hit wonder. But while “Trap Queen” is a huge song for the infinitely melodic New Jersey sing-rapper — 255 million YouTube views, 250 million Spotify plays, formerly No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 — Fetty is not a one-hit wonder. Besides “Trap Queen”, he’s hit the charts with the West Coast thump of “679”, the skeletally springy “My Way”, and the smoother, romantic “Again”, to say nothing of the verse that Drake tagged on “My Way”.
Fetty Wap :: Fetty WapRGF/300/Atlantic RecordsAuthor: Steve 'Flash' JuonMany things attracted me to the hip-hop arts growing up as a shorty, but one of the things I gravitated to instantly was the idea of making music WITHOUT singing. I was a terrible singer, and even more insulting, participation in my district's music program was NOT optional until high school. I had to fake my way through each and every choir performance, quietly imitating whoever was next to me, praying hard as hell that I would neither be seen nor heard.
Fetty Wap is a heartening hip-hop success story. He's a one-eyed kid from Paterson, New Jersey, whose voice sounds like someone Auto-Tuned a wounded Tauntaun, but the underdog charisma of hits like "My Way" and "Trap Queen" has turned him into one of this year's most endearing breakout stars. That same likability is all over his debut album. With a set list running up to 20 songs, it borders on Fetty overkill, but there are plenty of fine moments you haven't heard yet.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Charm, trends and pop appeal can only take an artist so far. That's precisely why the year's biggest breakout star managed to reprehensibly deliver the most disappointing R&B/rap release of the year during the most exceptional nine months in rap music this decade. We were rooting for you, Fetty Wap.
Having one’s first four singles make The Billboard chart must be an undeniable confidence builder. Then again, this is Fetty Wap, a man whose visual aesthetic is as unique as his music. For the artist representing Paterson, New Jersey, “Trap Queen” became a cultural phenomenal for several reasons. It took heavy inspiration from Atlanta’s insanely popular trap scene, had a slick R&B twist and served as a romantic ode to all women across America willing to help their men distribute illegal pharmaceuticals.
It’s pretty hard to imagine 2015 without Fetty Wap. The 24-year-old New Jersey native has absolutely dominated the urban radio airwaves for the past 12 months—and for good reason. For most hip-hop fans, Fetty falls into the “overnight celebrity” category based on how quickly his smash hit “Trap Queen” rose to the top of the charts. But just like many perceived “one-hit wonders” before him, the 2015 XXL Freshman‘s success took more than a night.