When I first heard “Trap Queen,” I didn’t like it. Sometimes I get stubborn about a song, sometimes I’m in the wrong mood, sometimes I’m just plain wrong. Whichever one it was this time, I have no qualms saying my initial reaction has completely changed. Oddly enough, what caused it to change so quickly was hearing his next two singles, “679” and “My Way.” Maybe it’s because so many artists, and rappers in particular, put out one incredible song and get a deal off the strength of that, then fade out into mediocrity. I loved Trinidad James; look where that got me.
Anyway, hearing these next two singles revealed my skepticism was moot — Fetty Wap was much more than a one-hit wonder. Even if he was a three-hit wonder, that was still something to be interested in. Last night, NPR debuted the stream of his self-titled debut, and a few cursory listens reveal an album of jubilant and confident songs. Each one of them is worth as much as “Trap Queen.” It’s impossible to discuss Fetty Wap without nodding to Drake’s sing-rap earnestness, or Kanye’s maximalist, emotional use of AutoTune, or even Makonnen’s unlikely pop sadness.
Yet despite these clear touchstones, Fetty is rapping about his own world. His trap isn’t the same as Future’s bleak empire or the shifting underworld of Atlanta, and it sounds different too. Fetty Wap is 20 songs long but was almost exclusively produced by just two guys, his long time associates Peoples and Monty. They present a gloomy New Jersey locale lit up by Fetty’s unwavering confidence, infectious desire, and above all, his immediately recognizable, rubbery pop-rap yelp.
There’s a reason beyond that voice or those beats that “Trap Queen” crossed over to a #2 slot on the Billboard charts. It’s first and foremost a love song, and nearly every song on Fetty Wap pulses with some iteration of that same tender-hearted desire. “Again” does, and the muted organ thump of “Rock My Chain” — the only song to feature anyone aside from Monty or Remy Boyz, with an appearance from M80 — might challenge the precedence of “Trap Queen” at some point. Fetty Wap is everything you’d hope from a rapper’s debut; it fleshes out his world without being repetitive, and confirms that “Trap Queen” was not a fluke at all, but a warning shot from a rapper with an arsenal full of hits. Listen below.
Fetty Wap is out 9/25 via 300 Entertainment/RGF Productions. Pre-order it here.