In mid-late Fall 2014, my good friend Zach introduced the rap-loving faction of my friend group to Fetty Wap, who had a song that’d been getting airplay in the tristate area. Zach is from New Jersey, and told us Fetty lived 15 minutes away from him and had one serious song at the time, “Trap Queen.” We listened and were impressed – it definitely had its own vibe. “Trap Queen” was something different. It would go on to blow up a month later that winter. The sequence of one seven three and eight has never been so hype.
First off, Fetty Wap is a super easy guy to like. The Vines I’ve seen of him joking about his trademark missing eye show a friendly personal side, and he comes across as a humble and genuine dude.
Another huge positive characteristic many see in Fetty is that he has a refreshing, unique and new sound. Moving beyond the general public’s timeless love affair with “Trap Queen,” the sum of the parts that compose Fetty Wap’s vocals is unique on the whole, even if the major individual components seem recycled.
T-Pain was the first time I’d heard auto-tune seriously used for singing in hip hop. He had his day in the spotlight, and nowadays auto-tune has taken off amongst rappers who don’t seriously sing (i.e. Young Thug, Future). Fetty’s sound brings me back to seventh grade sleepaway camp where I first heard “Buy You a Drank,” by T-Pain, but Fetty has a yodeling vibrato that does set him apart from other vocalists today. On occasion, Fetty will also engage in leaned-out mumblings that a number of Atlanta rappers use today.
So, after throwing on the headphones and giving Fetty Wap several listens, I’ll summarize: meh.
If you take out the four hit songs that you and I have heard 100 times and already love, all of which were released far in advance of Fetty Wap dropping, I’d give this album a C. “Trap Queen” and “679” were on Up Next, “RGF Island” was on Zoo Style and “My Way” was on the 1738 Remy Boyz mixtape and then remixed with Drake in July.
For me, these releases killed a lot of the hype. Technically the songs are on the record, so I include them in my grading, but I’m sad to say that none of the other 16 tracks on Fetty Wap live up to the excitement or quality these songs already created for him well ahead of the album.
I give Fetty Wap a disappointed B-, but damn, Fetty can do a hook and chorus right. For this reason, I think Fetty needs to limit Monty’s (aka Montana Buckz) presence on his tracks. Yes, they gel on “679,” but not on “My Way,” or “No Days Off.” Fetty needs better rappers to match his energy – like when he teamed up with Gucci and Quavo on his “Trap Queen” remix. His music is all about energy, and Monty’s lyrical callousness and frequently awkward flow can’t keep up. Even one of Gucci Mane’s better-than-mediocre verses that got cut and pasted into “Trap Queen” while he’s locked up flows well.
I get keeping true to his Remy Boyz, a theme on a majority of his songs on Fetty Wap, and trying to put them on. But if Fetty wants to further improve his outlook as an artist, I think he needs to work on recruiting upper echelon talent for his own albums going forward, not just being a feature on other artists’ tracks.