At Kanye West‘s Roc City Classic show in New York City on Thursday night (Feb. 12), the rap superstar brought out a slew of big-name guest stars, including Big Sean, Travi$ Scott, Pusha T and 2 Chainz. West also welcomed a relatively unfamiliar face to the stage: Fetty Wap, the 24-year-old rap sensation, who performed his giddy rap single “Trap Queen” at the concert. Wap’s unexpected performance had West beaming onstage, Jay Z and Beyonce dancing along in the audience, and thousands of onlookers at the show and on the live stream asking, “Who is this guy?”
Some of us have long declared “Trap Queen” to be our winter rap anthem, but for those who are unfamiliar with the oeuvre of Fetty Wap, check out eight things you need to know about the rap wunderkind and his breakout hit:
1. He’s from Paterson, New Jersey. Like Redman and Queen Latifah before him, Fetty Wap hails from the Garden State, calling home a city that’s about a 40-minute train ride away from Manhattan. Wap is one of the members of Remy Boyz 1738, a rap troupe that also features P-Dice and Montana “Monty” Buckz. The three MCs are constantly collaborating — Monty recently released a single titled “OverNight” with Wap, while P-Dice and Monty teamed up last month on the track “Jalapeño.”
2. He lost the use of his left eye as a child.
After dodging questions about his left eye for months, Wap finally explained what caused the physical situation earlier this month in an interview with Shade 45. “When I was little, I got into a little accident, and it gave me congenital glaucoma in both of my eyes,” Wap explained. “The doctors saved one, so I was blessed to [still] have my vision.”
3. He made “Trap Queen” a year ago. Uploaded to Soundcloud last March, “Trap Queen” was originally conceived as a freestyle; after Wap rattled off three verses, he posted the track as a rough copy before revising the format to make a radio version, the rapper told XXL. And, yes, “Trap Queen” is about a specific queen. “I was dealing with a female at the time,” says Wap. “She kind of really inspired the whole thing. That’s really where it came from. [She’s] the inspiration of my Trap Queen.”
4. “Trap Queen” is speeding up the Billboard charts. In its fourth week on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, Fetty Wap’s debut single has already crept into the Top 20, moving up two spots to No. 20 on this week’s tally. Perhaps more impressive, however, is its performance on the Hot 100 chart: two weeks after quietly debuting at No. 86, “Trap Queen” is up to No. 60 in its third week. If that trajectory continues, the single could be a Top 40 hit within a month’s time.
5. French Montana & Fabolous have remixed it.
Premiered by Funkmaster Flex in late January, the “Trap Queen” remix with French Montana finds the “Pop That” rapper name-checking Ariana Grande, Big Sean and Snoop Dogg. And a few weeks later, Fabolous hopped on the French remix to create an epic New York team-up on the young New Jersey native’s track.
6. Rihanna is a Fan, Too. The pop superstar recently told i-D magazine that “Trap Queen” was the last mp3 that she purchased. Perhaps Rih let her “FourFiveSeconds” collaborator Kanye in on the greatness of Fetty Wap while the two music titans were working together?
7. But one of the earliest Fetty Wap believers was… Bobby Shmurda!
Months after “Hot N–a” was recognized by Jay Z and Beyonce and proceeded to take over radio (and before he ran into his legal troubles), Shmurda co-signed “Trap Queen” in an Instagram video posted on Oct. 16, which has since accrued 7,700 likes. “Hold on, this my shit right here,” Shmurda declares before singing along to that infectious “Hey, what’s up, hello!” intro.
8. A self-titled mixtape is coming. Last November, Wap signed a record deal with 300 Entertainment, the new imprint co-founded by Lyor Cohen, Kevin Liles, Roger Gold and Todd Moscowitz, which he told The Boombox was “the best decision I ever made.” The success of “Trap Queen,” which was featured on last year’s mixtape Up Next, precedes a self-titled mixtape that will feature appearances by fellow Remy Boyz members Montana Buckz and P-Dice, as well as production from Yung Lan and K. Frenzy. “Nobody else’s mixtape is going to be better than mine in 2015,” Fetty continued. “You have my word.”