Fetty Wap Keeps It Simple on His Debut Album
It’s pretty hard to imagine 2015 without Fetty Wap. The 24-year-old New Jersey native has absolutely dominated the urban radio airwaves for the past 12 months—and for good reason. For most hip-hop fans, Fetty falls into the “overnight celebrity” category based on how quickly his smash hit "Trap Queen" rose to the top of the charts. But just like many perceived “one-hit wonders” before him, the 2015 XXL Freshman's success took more than a night.
"Trap Queen" was originally released in April 2014, but the music world didn’t catch on until well into 2015. However, it's now the final quarter of 2015 and Fetty has basically become a household name. Follow up hits like "Again," "679" and "My Way" have hit the upper echelon of the Hot 100, which further removes Fetty from that dreaded “one-hit wonder” group. Now, with Lyor Cohen’s 300 pushing things forward, Fetty Wap’s debut album is here.
For starters, the album is self-titled and naming the album Fetty Wap might just be the best thing about this project; it comes off as a fairly honest and strategic move. There is no conceived concept he is trying to execute and the storyline focuses simply on him at this very moment. In other words, Fetty Wap doesn't make things complicated.
The album opens up with "Trap Queen," which allows fans to get familiar right off the bat. In fact, all of his previous hits are included on the album, but with a little bit of a facelift; they've been remastered with cleaner snares, added drums and enhanced vocals. Usually putting year-old singles on a new project can be redundant; in this case, it helps get the casual fans to actually pick up album in order to get the superior version of their favorites.
At some points while listening to Fetty Wap you can really see why the MC is this year’s breakout hip-hop artist. He has already mastered the trap/R&B fusion that seems to be getting more popular every single day. His vocals are incredibly distinct and the production is somehow able to match his delivery to the point where it becomes tough to tell what sound is vocal and what sound is beat. Songs like "Couple Bands" and "Rewind" don’t exactly have “hit” potential but still highlight just how good Fetty Wap’s songwriting can be.
At the same time, however, some songs get lost in the shuffle. The 17-track album blurs together at some points, making the “Fetty Wap” sound come off a bit dry. There are a lot of the same tempos and drum kits used throughout the project, which makes for cohesiveness but eventually hinders any tracks from truly standing out. Seventeen songs, while on brand with his 1738 tag line, may have been a little too much. There are also certain tracks that might have been better if completed solo. Of the 20 songs that make up the deluxe edition, nine of them feature Remy Boyz collaborator Monty. It's not that Monty takes anything away from the cuts, but at times it feels a little unnecessary.
So how does Fetty’s debut stack up to his previous work? Well, it’s safe to say that the project is more than 20 different versions of "Trap Queen," which speaks to his versatility. But it also hinders the album. Fetty’s attempt at putting together a full, formal project takes away from the overall prestige of his hits that have been so cherished over the past 12 months. This isn’t to say that the next album will won’t be able to more effectively balance hits and album cuts. But this one feels like the first attempt that it is. —Scott Glaysher