Fetty Wap is the unlikely success story of a man who became a household name based off of the success of his hit single ‘Trap Queen’. Fetty is being painted as Trap’s golden boy – someone who inspired a young boy to not wear his prosthetic eye anymore, someone who gets radio play on Hip-Hop stations as well as stations such as Heart Radio in England where the presenters talk about how it’s cute that he bakes pies with his baby, literally thinking he means baking pies. Not only that but he’s inspired a young boy called George Dalton to do a horrifically whitewashed version of ‘Trap Queen’ where in the video he, once again, literally bakes pies with his girlfriends.
The demographic for Fetty Wap is a strange one because although it’s funny to laugh at the fact that ‘Trap Queen’ is about making crack cocaine with his girl and so many don’t get that – there’s a certain sincerity to his music that makes him an anomaly in Hip-Hop. The fact that he both sings melodies that appeal to people outside of the Hip-Hop audience as well as giving the people in the Hip-Hop community material to dance to gives him an unexpectedly wide audience with ‘Trap Queen’ having over 260 million views on Youtube to date. Not only that but Fetty’s subsequent hits ‘679’ and ‘My Way’ both charted on the Billboard top 10 singles chart despite being such more typically Hip-Hop than his breakout single.
So much of Fetty Wap’s charm and charisma relies on his warbling singing and brilliant knack for melody on his debut album. His songs consistently find a certain melody that he’ll sing and then he’ll let it evolve with Fetty sometimes giving some adlibs that don’t feel overly contrived. Unfortuntaely the production itself is actually pretty thin and cheap sounding on the vast majority of the album. That’s not to say that there aren’t ideas coming out here, the booming bass and strings on ‘Trap Luv’ are very infectious yet they often sound like the standard production you’d hear on many modern-day rappers’ songs. Not only that but Fetty’s rapping –which he does occasionally from song to song — isn’t exactly lyrical or pushing the boundaries of delivery like much of his singing has. On the vast majority of this album Fetty’s lyrics stay well within the boundaries of the genre of music that he’s been lumped into; he often talks of the love he has for his girl, on other tracks he’s talking about other girls, and on others he talks of the joy of making money. The lyrics themselves are often done with very clichéd lyrics or catchphrases such as saying ‘Let me hit rewind’ when seeing a girl he’s attracted to or after he’s finished making love with this girl (something he says a few times over the course of the album including the song that’s actually called ‘Rewind’).
This album is also 17 tracks long (20 on the deluxe edition) and outstays its welcome in a big way. When all of these songs have similar production values and all feature Fetty singing either ‘1738’ or ‘yeeeaaaah baby’ it can an arduous sitting when listening to the whole album at once. But all of these flaws are part of what’s made Fetty Wap such an interesting spectacle in music in the first place, he’s stayed true to his roots sticking with the producers he’s known from the beginning and there’s not a single big face to be seen on here. The guest’s are all very small artists that Fetty would have known anyway, including Monty who appears on nine songs of the album despite all the features being questionable in quality. All of this lends to the DIY ethos that this record gives off, and as individual songs nearly every single one of these could have been singles that would have made it onto the Billboard top 10 had they been released after ‘Trap Queen’.
These songs do actually sound like they were crafted with care, and had this album had its fat trimmed majorly to maybe 11 or 12 tracks, it would probably be the Trap album of the year. There’s a feeling on this album that Fetty unabashedly wanted to show the world what he was about and give us some genuine reasons as to why we should be hyping him up, because no one else is making Pop-music over Trap-instrumentals in such a genuinely heartfelt way. On his next project we may see him enhancing these talents of his to a more concise project fulfilling his potential and getting out of what many may think will be a sophomore slump. He’s already proven the critics wrong thinking he was a one-hit-wonder, so there’s no reason to suggest that he won’t take it further. Even though Fetty Wap has garnered all of this attention from his debut album, he still remains an exciting up and coming artist and an exciting prospect in terms of product, rather than a well established one whose mastered his craft. ‘Fetty Wap’ isn’t the smash we all thought it might be, but there’s enough here to give us a reason to believe in him.
Best Tracks: Trap Queen, 679, Again, How We Do Things