It’s hard to remember a time when Fetty Wap wasn’t killing the rap game.
Trap Queen dropped, every girl got gassed world wide, and a hundred million YouTube views later, our one-eyed, singing trap king is partying with Taylor Swift.
After peaking at number two on the Billboard chart with Trap Queen, 25-year-old Willie Maxwell made the cover of XXL Magazine for the 2015 Freshman Class. Clearly becoming a big deal. What followed was a huge string of collaborations, with pretty much every current rapper going. Just as Samuel L Jackson was once mocked for being in ‘every film ever made’, FW is guest-featuring on almost every rap song released this summer.
Arguably his biggest collaboration, FW linked up with the homeboy Drizzy on My Way remix, providing more material for hilarious Vine’s to spread throughout the internet like wildfire, without FW having to lift a finger for a marketing campaign.
Other note-worthy collaborations include the 679 Remix with Meek Mill and Rick Ross and Promises with trap artist Baauer. Fetty also featured on associate Gucci Mane’s King Gucci, and plans a featured artist list including Ty Dolla $ign and Migos’ Quavo on his upcoming album, which is so eagerly anticipated, his 15second snippet for the track Jug, reached 160,000 views.
The sheer volume of content is one of the reasons for his immediate success. Just by taking a look at FW’s soundcloud, it’s easy to see how much music he’s making, with endless catchy hooks and addictive rhymes pushing back the release of an elusive mixtape. This point of releasing a vast amount of free tracks in such little time keeps the fans happy, interested, and it keeps the artist current because it’s 2015 and people want fast, accessible free music. This contrasts with Kanye West’s narcisstic decline of late; less music and more self-centred, egotistical rants on classism and racism, which have eclipsed any musical content. But back to the list of reasons for FW’s unrivalled success, a somewhat unmentioned point is that Fetty Wap can actually sing. Unlike his half-rap-half-singing peers like Chief Keef, even Kanye himself, when FW sings ‘I want you to be my lady again baby’, it’s heart-warming for both my Yaris-driving-art-student-girlfriend and the young trapstar whipping in the bando.
The stigma of having a single eye is rich in mythology and fiction, where the Cyclopes found in the poetry of Homer and Hesiod were monsters of men, giant man-killing creatures. Our one-eyed hero however has dismissed any stigmatic rumours, relating his loss of an eye to his gang-related, somewhat violent past and addressing his eye condition as a result of his glaucoma, which caused him to have reconstructive eye surgery at a young age.
‘It’s not all bad; it (glaucoma) means I can hold a medical marijuana card in California’ – FW.
Good news, because Fetty Wap loves him some marijuana.
His latest online release, D.A.M That’s all Me dropped July 1st, and again it’s the catchy hook and the track’s abstract form that makes it a success. As the hook changes, sung captivatingly and addictive,
‘You are so damn fine
I’m so damn glad you’re mine
And you stay on my mind
I think about you all the damn time’
The track slides in to verse that is neither rapped nor sung, but it’s harmonic, and it works in a way that is reminiscent of JA Rule circa 2001.
In a recent interview with Pitchfork, Fetty explained his style nonchalantly, casually describing the evolution of his rap-singing from initially spitting freestyles, to closing his eye(s) and intuitively spitting in such a free-form way that it sometimes became choral. Suggesting most of Trap Queen was unwritten and off-the-cuff, Fetty noted
‘Whatever I feel in that moment I just go for without thinking about it. We pushed the song like crazy on Insta and Twitter. We did it all ourselves…
It was either music or nothing…’
We’re all bloody glad it was music Fetty.