Fetty Wap Performs ‘Trap Queen,’ Talks New Mixtape, Perseverance & More for ‘Next Up’ [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW + VIDEO]
Fetty Wap is the perfect example of the heteroclite rapper. After listening to the sing-song approach he takes on his breakthrough song, ‘Trap Queen,’ it’s apparent he’s deviating from the norm. Like 2 Chainz, he’s different, from the way he delivers his music to his unique physical appearance.
Last year, the 24-year-old was an unknown rhymer from Paterson, N.J. crafting material with RGF Productions. Chances are, when you first heard the striking chords of ‘Trap Queen’ and the lyrics, “I’m like, ‘Hey, what’s up hello,’” you were hooked on the addictive ode celebrating his ride-or-die chick but had little clue about the guy behind the record.
Now his song has catapulted him into the spotlight. After uploading the track to SoundCloud in March of 2014, Fetty, who goes by the nickname “Zoo,” never expected he would be here 11 months later with over 11.3 million plays on the music streaming site. His video for the song is equally impressive, earning over 6.3 million views on YouTube since it was uploaded six months ago.
“When you really work hard for something that you genuinely and truly love, and you don't want it to fail, it's a good feeling to see it do good,” he tells The Boombox. “Nothing but greatness is coming from this for me. I tell everybody, this isn’t even my best song. This is just the breakout for Fetty Wap. There's going to be a lot more coming, but I'm so proud of that song. I'm proud of my engineer, proud for RGF. Without the energy and the people that's around me, that song wouldn't be what it was. If the song was a lie, you'd be able to tell.”
The immediate success he's experienced off a single song is surprising considering Fetty never even dreamed of a rap career as a kid. Since his dad was a keyboard player, he opted to start playing the drums at 6 years old and then tried to emulate his older brother's singing skills as a teen. Fetty, the father of a 4-year-old son, admits he only began taking his artistry seriously when fans responded positively to the Tony Fadd-produced ‘Trap Queen' last year.
This month, the song debuted at No. 19 on Billboard's Rap Airplay chart and climbed to No. 48 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart. A feat such as that is strengthening his character and his work ethic. For a man who just wants to "take care of everybody," there are no days off. “It really made me realize, alright, if I can do this right here I just gotta get [the fans] to know who I am,” shares Fetty, who cites rappers Gucci Mane, Young Thug, Rich Homie Quan and singer Joe as influences. “I just consider myself an artist. I don't really rap. I don’t really sing. I just do what I feel is good and people like it.”
Record label executive Lyor Cohen is one of those people. In November of 2014, the music industry veteran welcomed Fetty to the 300 Entertainment imprint, which he co-founded alongside Kevin Liles, Roger Gold and Todd Moscowitz. The rhymer thanks the head of his RGF label, Nitt Da Gritt, and his manager, OG Dannny Su, for sealing that deal, which finds Fetty on a roster with artists like Young Thug and Migos.
“Honestly, the one thing that stuck out to me when Lyor Cohen looked at me, he told me I was different at the meeting. ‘You're going to be different.’ From the first song and from every other song I played for that meeting, I was like yo, we made a good decision. I felt good going with them. When I signed that paper, I knew what I was doing. It was the best decision I ever made,” he states.
The self-described "soldier" is on a mission for the next few months: to have the public get a better understanding of the guy beyond 'Trap Queen.' He's already delivered the hypnotizing melody heard on his new track 'RGF Island' -- proving he's no one-hit wonder -- and will release a self-titled mixtape featuring his artists Montana Bucks and P. Dice along with producers Garcia Peoples, K. Frenzy and Yung Lan. "Nobody else's mixtape is going to be better than mine in 2015," Fetty assures. "You have my word."
That's a bold statement coming from a newcomer featured in The Boombox's #NextUp series. But it's a declaration with some merit considering the path 'Trap Queen' has paved for him so far. Fetty Wap has a certainty about himself that most twenty-somethings haven't realized yet.
"I don't feel like I'm normal. That's why I feel like I'm great. Fetty Wap is a soldier, father, a mentor, a leader for people that I never thought I'd be a leader for. A role model. A son. When you think of Fetty Wap, think of the soldier that ain't never quit and never listened to what they said about me or what the critics said about me or what I looked like or how people take me. I still will never quit. I'm still gonna smile and that's how you gonna remember me."
Watch Fetty Wap Perform 'Trap Queen' for #NextUp
Aside from his knack for creating infectious tracks, another memorable aspect of the man who loves Lamborghinis is his face. Since he entered the music industry, the talk has been centered on his left eye, which he casually laughs off in interviews. He's aware of the chatter -- some people think he got shot in the face while others have created more elaborate stories.
"If you can't accept this look then you're not really my friend," Fetty discloses. "It's nothing drastic. Some people think I got shot. Some people think I got hit in the head with a bottle. I don't really think I could function if I got shot in my face.”
He finally let the big secret loose earlier this month. Fetty has congenital glaucoma due to an accident he experienced as a kid. The story of his injured eye may not be as grandiose as fans would expect considering he held out on revealing it to the public for so long. However, that wasn't a calculated move. He'd rather go with the flow when it comes to his lifestyle. "Plans never go well for me," he admits. "I just live every day like I ain't gonna live the next one."
Watch above as Fetty Wap opens up about his career beginnings, his greatness and performs his hit song 'Trap Queen' for The Boombox's #NextUp series presented by McDonald's Our Food, Your Questions.
See Fetty Wap's #NextUp Performance Photos