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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, May 24, 2024

Fetty and all his friends

This was unquestionably the summer of Fetty Wap. The previously unheralded rapper from Patterson, N.J. burst onto the scene with the ubiquitous single “Trap Queen” and then followed that catchy tune up with three other top 40 hits: “679,” “My Way” and “Again." In the process, he became the first hip-hop artist to have his first four singles simultaneously chart in the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs list.Fetty has, additionally, been rubbing elbows with Kanye West, Chris Brown and Taylor Swift and has played at venues across the nation. Drake even took time out of a surely busy schedule to remix one of Fetty’s tracks. In a short period, the 24-year-old crooner became the hottest name in hip-hop.

It would have not been altogether surprising if Fetty's long-awaited debut album had seen the biggest rap stars providing guest verses or featured beats from the most popular producers. That wouldn't have been unexpected, especially in a genre where it pays to have famous friends. When “Fetty Wap,” his self-titled album, was released on Sept. 25, however, it was devoid of any guest verses besides those of Monty and M80. Perhaps most telling, all the production was done in-house. Drake’s remixed version of “My Way” was rejected from the album; instead, Monty, Fetty’s right-hand man, is featured on that song as well as on nine of the 20 tracks. When Monty raps, “I come from the hood, baby / Loyalty's in my blood,” he isn’t lying. Fetty has brought his crew -- nicknamed the Remy Boyz because of their affection for the cognac Remy Martin 1738 -- from the streets of Patterson to the top of hip-hop. Unlike a lot of rappers who come from the bottom, he has not forgot about his friends or sold out during his meteoric rise.

The album feels less like a Fetty Wap record and more like a statement from the entire Remy Boyz crew that they have arrived. Fetty’s allegiance to his Patterson buddies bears a lot of resemblance to that of another summer smash, the "Entourage" movie. Monty is the Eric Murphy (Kevin Connolly) to Fetty’s Vince Chase (Adrian Grenier), while Mike Goon, the Remy Boyz hypeman, and Big L, Fetty’s DJ, fill the roles of Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), respectively. The Patterson crew is a bit bigger than the fictional gang from New York, but the sentiment is the same. Willie Maxwell, Fetty’s birth name, is undoubtedly living the Cinderella story of Vinnie Chase.

This isn’t the first time a celebrity has allowed his friends to piggyback off his fame -- and it certainly won’t be the last -- but Fetty's effort is still admirable. While on the road from Soundcloud wannabe to rap sensation it is easy to forget about who was with you when Drake wasn’t offering up guest verses and to get caught up in the hype and fame. But, through it all, Fetty has stayed grounded and always remembered that, two years ago, the Remy Boyz were handing out mixtapes at basketball courts. His crew has come a long way since then, and their leader has successfully parlayed the song of the summer into an impressive and expansive record, proving that the one-eyed rapper indeed has legitimate staying power. As Fetty would say, “Yeaaaahh, baabbbyyy.”