Kitchen Confidential: How Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen” is the new “Ryde or Die, Chick”

Definition of a trap queen: moving drugs across state lines and taking kitchen tips from Pusha T over Martha Stewart.
By    April 3, 2015

Evan Nabavian’s favorite type of pie filling is powder.

The eyepatch is a warrior’s mask. It implies power and a brush with mortal peril. See Moshe Dayan, Nick Fury, Solid Snake, and Dr. Evil’s Number 2. Slick Rick notwithstanding, most one-eyed rappers would seemingly be happy to assume the eye patch’s stigmata and collect all that mystique before paying for a single Young Chop beat. That being said, Fetty Wap sings his bando ballad “Trap Queen” nonplussed and unmasked.

“Trap Queen” came out a year ago, but its buzz picked up in the last few months, culminating in chart success and a Kanye cosign. Its appeal is immediate. The Paterson, New Jersey rapper sings an ode to a Wonder Woman of the trap, replete with the genre’s accoutrements: the stove, the bando, the strip club. The indelible hook sets the standard for singing rappers in 2015. Faux falsettos and clumsy auto-tune ditties now have to compete with Fetty Wap’s full-throated euphoria. Few rappers are so confident in their voice and singing.

A trap queen is what we used to call a ride or die chick. She’ll move drugs across state lines and take kitchen tips from Pusha T over Martha Stewart. Hi-hat laden ballads like “Trap Queen” and Peewee Longway’s recent mixtape cut “Jug For Me”—sincere, saccharine love songs that use the parlance and sound of the gangster rap du jour—are the distant descendants of Meth and Mary. “Trap Queen” trades Shaolin soul for synth stabs and 808s; five percent patois for Migo lingo; handsome actor-to-be Method Man for Fetty Wap’s empty eye socket.

You play a video for a colorful, fun rap song and there’s a guy missing an eye. Fetty dodged questions as attention mounted, finally telling Shade 45 that he lost his left eye to congenital glaucoma as a child. Maybe he doesn’t wear the eye patch because the story is anticlimactic compared to the standard rapper origin myth. Or maybe he’s more powerful without it. Fetty Wap uses his disfigurement to disarm people and then charm them with his catchy radio hit. Whether counting money or surrounded by his neighborhood, Fetty can only smile. If he can be this happy with one eye, so can you with two.

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