Jake Ewald has the Fetty if you’ve got the keg
Fetty Wap is a great friend. How else can you explain the 9 songs (out of 20 on Fetty’s self-titled debut) that feature Fetty’s mini-me, Monty? And while Fetty Wap isn’t exactly a great rapper, he is clearly better than Monty. But that’s like comparing an apple that raps to an orange that raps—neither can really “rap.” In an era where car speakers are loud enough to blast Hot 97 into your ears from blocks away, Fetty Wap is king. This is an album of hooks and filler. The hooks, though.
Fetty Wap’s sense of melody is pinpoint; every ad-lib is laid in perfect sing-along territory. And the verses are short—8 bars, 10 bars, and then back to the good stuff. Verseless remixes are available on the web for the interested.
Essays have been written on the romance at the heart of Fetty’s music. It is his major strength (and the main weakness of Monty: there is no connection to Monty’s delivery; it’s straight gangster rap without the tenderness). Fetty is inclusive—he does this for family, friends. He’s happy. In contrast to much of the Hot 100, it doesn’t sound manufactured or market-test. The joy in “Trap Queen” is inviting and shared, as if Fetty is just as hype as the listener that he is pulling these vocals off. It’s testament to Fetty’s mutability and melodies that he can turn otherwise generic instrumentals into hits. The beats are uppers, triumphant if predictable scenery. Sip a Rémy Martin or 12.
“No Days Off” is the best song that wasn’t already on Fetty’s generous SoundCloud pre-release. It’s about work ethic and dream-chasing, but told from the winner’s circle. But, goddammit Monty, wait in the car, man.
Too much Fetty Wap can be too much of a good thing. When Fetty stumbles on a lyric he likes, expect to see it twice on the album. Words will be rhymed with themselves. He works best in playlists, other music shuffled in to break the monotony. Most of the songs are about the same things—hangers-on vs. day-one loves, searching for success’s fountain of youth, the ways to spend a million dollars. None of this is uncharted territory, but it is well-executed cliché. If you’re planning the pre-game—”Trap Queen,” “How We Do Things,” “679,” “Jugg,” “D.A.M.,” “No Days Off,” “Couple Bands,” & “Let It Bang;” probably “Trap Luv,” “Again,” “My Way, and “RGF Island” as well, but the playlist is getting a little Fetty-heavy at this point.
There are some clunkers—”Boomin” is what happens when Fetty ignores his strengths, tries to sound like another rapper (here Chief Keef), and disappears into the ether of HotNewHipHop. The line between generosity and overkill is crossed. the album is 6 or 7 tracks too long. At least dump “Rewind” and this Monty chestnut—“If life was a VCR, I would rewind it.”
As an endpoint of the auto-tune aesthetic, Fetty Wap feels right. There’s little evidence that the album will outlive the year, but as a distillation of current sound — as an attempt to make ecstatic, fist-through-the-sun-roof pop — it’s a resounding success. Fetty is a believable narrator. Success sounds not only attainable, but communal, and for the moment, a foregone conclusion.
Fetty Wap attends Fashion and Beauty @BETX presented by Pantene during the 2015 BET Experience at the Los Angeles Convention Center on June 27, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
Rachel Murray/BET/Getty Images for BET
Originally used by Billboard