Fetty Wap has had a lot of success without the release of an album: The rapper-singer’s songs are blowing up the charts, he’s on tour with Chris Brown, and he even surprised Taylor Swift’s audience at her Seattle show last week with his ubiquitous hit, Trap Queen. The country pop singer later tweeted about the duet, calling it “the happiest moment of my life to date.”
After much anticipation, Wap is finally ready to release his debut album Sept. 25 — just days before the deadline for Grammy eligibility.
“I’m just waiting for it to get mixed and mastered,” Wap, 24, said in a telephone interview. “My album been done for like two months now.”
The wait has been partly because of Lyor Cohen, the record executive who helped solidify the careers of Jay Z, Ja Rule and Ludacris, and who signed Wap to his 300 Entertainment label.
“Our industry is lacking on a wholesale level of artist development … and we feel that [Wap is] just so brilliant and has developed this new style, new sound,” said Cohen, who didn’t want Wap to rush out an album.
Wap, born Willie Maxwell, has dominated airwaves with his melodic but grungy Trap Queen, a song about a lover having your back — even if that means helping you cook and sell drugs. The catchy hit peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 chart and sold 2.2 million tracks. He has followed the song with anthems like My Way and 679, which currently sit at No. 10 and No. 17 on the Hot 100 chart, respectively.
All three songs are in the Top 10 on the R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart and in the Top 5 on the Rap songs chart.
“I guess it’s just raw. … Everybody sounds like everybody else,” Wap said of his winning formula and of his competition in hip-hop.
He said he’s leading in rap — and pop — because his sound isn’t based on sampling older songs: “When you hear Fetty Wap music, it’s all new music. … I don’t sound like anybody else.”
Wap grew up in Paterson, New Jersey. He started rapping two years ago, quickly earning attention for his look: He developed glaucoma as a baby and said doctors were unable to save his left eye. But he has been able to lead the conversation about himself back to his music, thanks to his back-to-back hits.
He’ll make a Miami stop on Brown’s One Hell of a Nite Tour on Sept. 3 (Ticketmaster) and he’s nominated for two MTV Video Music Awards airing Aug. 30, including artist to watch and best hip-hop video.
As Wap readies the release of his untitled debut album, he said he’s happy with his achievements in music, but his main goals don’t involve singing.
“It’s hard to be around my kids right now ’cause I’m always going somewhere, like at the same token where I’m from, I can’t really be having my kids outside anyway because people be hating,” said Wap, who has a son and daughter and still lives in Paterson. “My main goal is to remain a good father.”