Willie Maxwell II, most notably known as Fetty Wap, broke out onto the music scene with his breakout single “Trap Queen” in 2014 and went on to dominate the hip-hop airwaves with his unique sound and swag. Uploaded to Soundcloud in March of 2014, “Trap Queen” was originally just a collection of freestyle verses Fetty had put together. After gaining traction regionally, the single received a major push when Fetty Wap’s label RGF Productions partnered with 300 Entertainment in November 2014.Once Fetty Wap re-recorded the rough copy for radio, the track became the de facto winter anthem.“I was dealing with that person at the time. She was juggin with me,” he says of the song’s inspiration. “We were really trying to make it happen. We got tired of riding regular.” “Trap Queen” skyrocketed to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and was then followed by his singles “679”, “Again”, and “My Way” all of which broke through the top 20 and appeared on his self-titled debut album – landing the #1 spot on the Billboard charts. His eponymous album also earned him the VMA for “Best New Artist” and GRAMMY nominations for “Best Rap Song” and “Best Rap Performance” for “Trap Queen”. Fast forward to 2020, “Trap Queen” is now a RIAA certified Diamond single and Fetty Wap is prepping to release his sophomore album King Zoo — his grand return to the music scene after a brief hiatus.
Hailing from Paterson, a city in New Jersey, which is also the home state of rap phenoms like Red Man and Queen Latifiah, Fetty recognizes the influence his hometown had on his rise to fame. His rap moniker and stage name Fetty Wap stems from a nickname he received for his knack for making “fetty” (a slang term for money) in conjunction with “wap” which was inspired by Gucci Mane’s alias GuWop. Referencing the city where he grew up, the rapper explains it was difficult growing up in Paterson, specifically pointing out that “everybody is trying to make it out.” With time, after adjusting to his meteoric rise, Fetty realized his mission in hip-hop isn’t to become more famous, but to use his fortunes to help his community rise above their hardships. “This shit doesn’t happen to people where I’m from,” Fetty Wap says of his rapid ascent. “A lot of people don’t get the opportunity, so I’ma be a superstar until my star don’t burn no more.” As a result, Fetty used his influence to re-invest into his community through business ventures such as a food truck and car wash as well as an annual back-to-school drive for kids all within Paterson.
While King Zoo serves as his second studio album, Fetty has always stayed connected with his fans through the release of mixtapes and collaborations throughout the years including: the “For My Fans” mixtape series, “Bruce Wayne” mixtape and features with artists such as Ty Dolla Sign, French Montana, 6ix9ine, Fifth Harmony, Lil Dicky, Nicki Minaj, David Guetta, and many more. Fetty is ready for a new chapter, embracing growth and maturity,and acknowledging that he is a “whole new Fetty Wap” while staying true to his trademarked sound. Dubbed as one of the pioneers of the subgenre of “Trap&B”, Fetty is known for his catchy melodies laced with trap instrumentals. The first single off of the upcoming King Zoo, “Birthday” featuring frequent collaborator Monty, is the perfect blend of the sound people know and love and his new state of mind. The album also features “Fresh N Clean” an ode to OutKast’s down-south anthem “So Fresh, So Clean”. When asked about the record Fetty stated, “I love Outkast’s original version of ‘So Fresh, So Clean’ so much that it inspired me to create my own version of it. So I flipped the song by putting the signature Fetty Wap flavor to the hook with some added melodies”.
Grammy nominations, multi-platinum plaques, and awards aside Fetty Wap and his music has made an unforgettable stamp on the culture and he continues to sonically defy what it means to be a “rapper” or a “singer”. This April, Fetty kicks off “The King Zoo Tour” performing singles off the soon to be released album along with classic fan favorites.