Get ready for Fetty Wap.
Though the Paterson, New Jersey, rapper's debut album "Fetty Wap" (300 Entertainment) is only arriving now, his single "Trap Queen" has been a full-fledged smash for months -- so big that his sound has overtaken pop radio and his mythology has already become part of pop culture.
Fetty, who lost his left eye to glaucoma as a child and who has decided to no longer wear his prosthesis, currently has three songs in the Top 20, with both the more playful "679" and the darker "My Way" looking to duplicate the success of "Trap Queen." His callout "Squad!" referring to his posse The Remy Boyz, has caught on, as have his shouts of "1738!" a reference to the line of Remy Martin Cognac.
Of course, it's his music that has caught on most of all. Everything about Wap's sound is deceptively simple. He generally sings only a handful of notes in each song, backed mainly by a spare, synth backdrop -- long the hallmark of hip-hop's trap style -- with the slightest lilt of dancehall thrown in occasionally.
The songs' simplicity makes them easy to recognize and remember, but it's the amount of lyrical detail and emotion in those lines that makes them remarkable, inviting us into a fully formed world and all its complexities. "I don't even know if I'm living this life right," he wonders in "Couple Bands," a violent tale of drug dealing. "But I gotta go and get it."
As fascinating as his life is, stretched to 17 tracks "Fetty Wap" does get a bit repetitive after a while, both sonically and lyrically -- though guessing where a "Squad!" or a "1738" will pop up does keep things moving. Nevertheless, Fetty Wap has captured the sound of the moment, one that will likely last and be repeated for months to come. Squad!
THE GRADE B+