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Fetty Wap’s debut album crafts sincere, sentimental narrative

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SEPTEMBER 28, 2015

Fetty Wap is no stranger to romance. If “Trap Queen” doesn’t already contain the love story of the century, then say, “Hey, what’s up, hello” to Fetty Wap’s self-titled debut album, a 20-track-long confessional tale of indulgence, desire and the pursuit of love. The rapper’s new release has given fans a familiar taste of the Fetty Wap they were originally hypnotized by: his unadorned lyricism, his eclectic vocals and, of course, his trademark, drawn-out “yaa-aaah, baby!” But more preeminent than his consistency is Wap’s deepening vulnerability, as reflected by the album’s cover, in which he covers all but his vacant left eye with one hand.

The album opens with Fetty Wap’s most well-known song, “Trap Queen,” which marks the thesis of his narrative of romantic pursuit. The progression of the album parallels the state of his developing feelings. In “Again,” he tenderly pleads, “I hope you know I need you / I get up on my knees, too / Do anything to please you.” Fetty Wap is sprung for his trap queen, and he wants you to know it. Unapologetically sentimental, Wap divulges his heart — and heartbreaks.

Beyond themes of unrequited love, Wap just as frequently boasts his trap origins and his 1738 ride or dies. He spits about juggin’ and wildin’, and he even gets a little philosophical when he touches on the impermanence of wealth and existence. “My niggas stack their money just to spend it / ’Cause when you die, you cannot take it with you,” he declares in “RGF Island.” The album is not purely about his devotion to his trap queen. His squad and money matter just as much, and there isn’t a track that fails to mention it.

Wap isn’t the only rapper in the game who talks love and emotion. But unlike the melancholic, simp songwriting of Drake, Wap’s heartfelt lyricism doesn’t at all come off as sappy or feigned. Wap even makes a prominent point of reciprocation in many of his songs. “Baby let me take you out. Would you like it if I kissed you now? / Ain’t tryna force you, so let me know if it’s working,” Wap sings reassuringly about consent in “D.A.M.” It’s clear Wap doesn’t care for being an aureate literary poet, but his rhymes resonate nonetheless. Particularly in the album’s final song, “Whateva,” his R&B melodies invoke an unexpected poignancy when he intimately sings and reminisces on a past relationship as if she’s still an old friend.

When Fetty Wap’s debut single, “Trap Queen,” made unparalleled waves in the hip-hop mainstream, the record’s success seemed a passing fluke. But with subsequent bangers such as “679” and “My Way” — and now with a solid debut album — Wap’s steadfast artistry has proved that he is more than a one-hit wonder. Despite not deviating from his recognizable style of modified trap with pop undertones, Wap successfully resists boring listeners with a repetitive sound. Instead, he endears with familiarity and catchy hooks. Fetty Wap is inarguably hip-hop’s rookie of the year, but it’s clear that he’s maneuvering the industry more like a seasoned veteran.

Contact Valerie Khau at [email protected].

SEPTEMBER 27, 2015