The Sermon's Domain Tue, 23 Jun 2015 16:20:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Preach On, Sermon: Joey Bada$$, First Impressions & The Art Of Performing Mon, 22 Jun 2015 20:27:30 +0000 continue reading]]> Joey Bada$$

“I think Joey [Bada$$] gets a lot of hate online,” Joey’s tour manager tells me as he hits the stage. And truer words haven’t been spoken about his career. As an artist, he’s amassed a huge underground following that doesn’t rely on co-signs from New York’s past or even the blog scene. The statement resonated with me throughout the night. I thought about what people hate about Joey’s music.

Everybody who listens knows that Joey is a vicious spitter. That’s undeniable. However, the main criticism has been that he sounds like a throwback to the ‘90s NY sound, which isn’t seen as progressive. On the contrary, it is one of those aspects that made him successful. A whole new generation never got to watch Big L or the Bad Boy era as it unraveled. Joey fills that void with a unique movement that stands for something.

To say that Joey Bada$$ is a carbon copy of NY’s past glory is selling him short. When he came into the industry, you could say that and get a room full of people to nod in agreement. He was also just 17. He had room to improve. B4.DA.$$ is a strong representation of his growth. Some of the production still plays to that gritty, hell’s kitchen style, but the messages are becoming universal. A song like “Paper Trail$” can be felt by anybody who’s ever held a dollar bill in their hands, and “Teach Me” shows us that he’s moving toward being able to craft a radio single even if the potential isn’t all the way there yet.

Many have already shared their first impressions on Joey’s music. Once that happens, it’s hard to get this internet era to continue to give chances. Those individuals described above who boxed Joey into one category are now missing out on the evolution and refinement.

When you witness him perform live, you’ll realize how much of a big deal he is. The music is the main course, and the performance adds all the extra seasonings and sides. There’s a newfound level of respect for the extraordinary set. He feeds off his crowd, and said crowd is well aware of this.

From 1999 to his debut album, Joey shuffles through a collection of his music like any performer would. What sets this experience apart from, say, Action Bronson’s show is that nobody gets body slammed. All jokes aside, Joey’s crew takes second place to nobody when it comes to the lighting. It’s easily some of the best I’ve seen.

There’s a fine art to performing that Joey seems to get. A lot of artists tend to try too hard, but there’s a gradual build up throughout his show that is reminiscent of an escalator. Every song tends to move the crowd forward higher and higher toward the pinnacle of being turnt up.

Things peaked when Denzel Curry and his boys were brought out. Between the lighting, the stage diving and wild and crazy kids, this was one moment I wish I could relive over and over.

After a facetime conversation with producer Kirk Knight and a very heart-felt tribute to Capital Steez, Joey’s finale was “Survival Tactics.” The song that kicked it all off was now the one to end the night. Initially, the crowd was put into a huge circle to moshpit, then scattered back into regular crowd formation as Joey wielded himself on the hands of his loyal fans for most of the duration. A clear metaphor for his career that shows they’ve been holding him up high since that video dropped in 2012.

My only complaint? I didn’t get to hear “Unorthodox” live.

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The Sermon’s Curation: Best Reads of the Week (6-15 to 6-21) Mon, 22 Jun 2015 16:22:42 +0000 continue reading]]> Lil Wayne 89

What a week it’s been. We have industry plants, Troy Ave’s failure, reflecting on Young Jeezy’s influence 10 years ago, roles that Tupac could’ve played if he was alive, if The Weeknd can cross over into a Pop sensation, and much more. It’s a little light this week, but quality over quantity. Scroll on and check out some of the week’s best pieces.

What If Lil Wayne Staged Those Leaks From The ‘Carter 3′ Era?: Is it acceptable to start off the Curation by plugging myself? It’s happening. I thought a lot about the leaks from the C3 era and wanted to know if it was possible that Weezy and his team were actually involved to some extent. Read it, then read my peers below.

Industry Plants, Raury & The Importance Of Artist Development: Allow Confusion to redefine what it means to be an industry plant. The phrase is often looked upon with a sense of negativity, but it actually means the music business is moving in a better direction. Clap for him. This was insightful. The Raury element finds his team talking to P&P about his journey.

What the Failure of Troy Ave Tells Us About The Industry of Hip Hop: Pitchfork decided to throw all chill out of the window with a piece about Troy Ave’s failure. The level that this slander has reached isn’t necessarily warranted to this degree, but hey, whatever. It’s an interesting take on an interesting situation.

They Tried To Ban The Snowman: Young Jeezy’s ‘TM101′ 10 Years Later: As with every Yoh piece, you’re going to get a story and walk away feeling like best friends. Revisit the summer of 2005 when Young Jeezy had the world on fire from his debut album, which also led to the snowman shirts’ infamous banning across the country.

10 Roles We Wish Tupac Could’ve Played: Tupac would’ve had a huge future in acting. He dabbled in it before his death and was continued to be thought of for roles after (see: Baby Boy). If he didn’t pass away, could you imagine some of the roles he’d have secured or had a chance to? P&P lists movies like Django Unchained, No Good Deed, The Dark Knight, and more as potential show-stealing performances.

We All Destroyed Amy Winehouse: With a very revealing documentary out, Kathy Iandoli chronicles some of the key points in Amy Winehouse’s short rise and fall, and how the world contributed to this. It’s pretty sad to read, and probably even sadder to watch the documentary.

Will The Weeknd Be Abel to Cross Over to Pop?: This deserves a read based on the pun in the title alone. Spot on, spot on. The Weeknd is clearly chasing a sense of becoming Pop in his music, but can he actually make that huge cross over? Slava P takes a look at the question.

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Pierre Webber & Prishtina: Revealing the Unknown Tue, 16 Jun 2015 16:53:05 +0000 continue reading]]> pierr1

Prishtina’s culture has turned into an explosion of variety. Styles clash, and taste differs from one individual to the other. Yet they all jointly exist in peace, inside this bubble that constantly exalts art &  prompts creativity to the maximum.

It’s weird, given the adversities local civilians often face. There’s a high chance that after an entertaining event that may take place in the city, you’ll be reminded of the misery Kosovo’s capital suffers from, and then remain unsatisfied with what this town has to offer. However, the more you think about it, the more it makes sense. Struggle breeds innovation. And innovative people are the ones giving Prishtina life, if not keeping it alive.

Like any other place, music is the main form of expression in Kosovo.

Rap frequently serves as an honest, unfiltered reminder of what’s going on around here, whereas jazz and/or classical music are rather pleasant distractions from the tiring gloominess. Although classical music may be a rarity these days, there’s still some benefits from its dearth. As if it raises the capabilities of understanding its magic whenever you come across it. That might’ve been the case upon attending one of the most recent gigs, in which Pierre Webber was playing the piano with Eriona Gjyzeli handling the vocals.


I happen to know Pierre more than I do Eriona. He’s an ambassador for Luxembourg—working in Kosovo—who enjoys raising awareness on spirituality amongst the youth. On top of all this, he has an undying love for music. Despite juggling academic work & the married life, he finds enough time to play piano and compose enticing pieces on it. This ongoing passion for music that carries him through his daily life, is easily noticeable. You’ll find him continuously exercising his fingers wherever he’s sitting, whilst simultaneously maintaining the conversations he’s having. Happily married, charismatic, and impassioned. Pierre Webber is music’s unsung hero.

Middle aged artists that make it big after a long while of making music are looked up as inspiration for never quitting (see: 2 Chainz). But the point behind it isn’t to really reach worldwide stardom. It’s the joy you receive out of the creating process, fueling you enough to never take a break.

That seems to be Pierre’s aim. He’s experienced, and mature enough to not be obsessed with popularity, but it doesn’t mean he despises success. You can tell he’s very grateful of the support after shows, or when people randomly hear his work and compliment his skills. It’s an obvious push to hone his craft. Besides, positive feedback always strengthens the euphoria of devising a work of art.



Once the show began, Eriona’s talent instantly increased her significance. She stole everyone’s attention within the very first note. Her presence was now a gift to the audience. Throughout the first act, a highly concentrated Pierre ran his fingers across the piano keyboard, accompanying her wonderful singing. However, Pierre’s intentions were more of letting Eriona’s soprano voice take the spotlight, rather than both of them sharing it together. He sure knew his job as a pianist at that moment.

Eriona would continue to control her vocal range at imposing levels. She seemed comfortable, singing/walking around the stage, plus at times even greeting people in the front row with a smile. This felt more joyous than your ordinary classical concert. Later on Eriona paused, and introduced her stage partner, Pierre. “To many of you, he’s a diplomat. But to me, he’s an artist,” she says. It’s true, a bulk of people recognize him as Luxembourg’s ambassador, but seeing Mr. Webber play his favorite instrument makes you think all the academic work is just a side-hustle for him. Following the short pause/introduction, Eriona invites a female friend to join her, so they can sing a tune together.

The moment she joined—and began singing alongside Eriona—is when Pierre’s virtuoso made a strong appearance. His technical skills were shining with each note produced. The current mezzo-soprano singer was flowing excellently with Pierre’s tempo. The trio had the entire hall in awe. But with an interpretation like that, they could’ve had a whole stadium in awe.

The song ended, Pierre got up from his seat, and bowed alongside the two performers. He gave his wife—who was in the audience—a doting look. Smiling at her with the utmost respect. She smiled back, then Pierre, Eriona and her friend left the stage altogether. As he’s walking backstage you realize what he truly stands for: music &  his wife, Zarrin.

After a few minutes, Pierre came back on his own.

It was the 2nd act. He sat down and began playing his newest composition. It’s started off serenely, retaining elevating vibes throughout. At one point, he even looked at the piano the exact same way he looked at Zarrin earlier. That sort of love for something makes things enthralling. But only when it ends, does the audience realize how captivating this piece had been.
Pierre leaves no time to think, though. He waits for everyone to stop applauding—with a smile on his face—then presents his second work of art. This one differed from what we heard previously. It’s playful melodies executed in an impetuous manner. You get the sense all his practice is finally paying off. Whilst his hands jumped across the piano—his finger movements determining his body language—Pierre’s rhythms conveyed sublime energy. He undoubtedly reached his peak during this act.

When finished, Eriona returned and they continued the night by performing older, classical Albanian songs. Pierre remained dexterous and Eriona was comfortable than before. Still singing, she picked a bouquet full of flowers and left one rose on top of Pierre’s piano. Before the next song, Pierre stood up, picked the rose and gave it to his wife. It was the surprise of the night. Even Eriona was applauding with excitement along with the audience. When Pierre got back to his seat, they proceeded exhibiting their adroitness for another half an hour. Then the show ended with a standing ovation from the crowd. Both artists were assured they gave everyone, exactly what they wanted.

Afterwards, I met Eriona, congratulated her, as well as let her know her voice took me by surprise. She thanks me, and we have a small conversation in which I end up telling her I’m a writer/music critic. “Awesome! What college are you in?” she asked. I was immediately reminded there’s no creative writing schools around here, so I responded “Eh, none yet. It’s all self-knowledge so far” in an upsetting tone. “Ooohh, nice!” she added, sounding as if she was still impressed. Eriona leaves backstage and I’m left thinking why doesn’t Prishtina’s mayor make efforts to help us—the writers—more. My train of thoughts is interrupted when Pierre invites me to dinner.


It’s around 10 P.M.

A warm night, full of citizens wandering around the streets of Prishtina. It’s summertime — that means the people who leave the country so they can find better jobs, come back to visit. Therefore raising the country’s popularity for a short period. The air is too dense, so Pierre suggests we (our mutual & his wife) sit somewhere nearby. We do as suggested, choosing this small restaurant at the city square. Outside, we gather a few small tables to make a big one, then finally sit down.

The show’s considered as a success. We’re all expressing how proud we are of Pierre, but he doesn’t let it get to his head. Humble as ever, he individually asks each one of us about our day. There’s a balance between banter & deep spiritual conversations, as we wait for our food.

40 minutes later—after we’re done eating—a gypsy child comes out of nowhere and steals the rose Pierre gave Zarrin, as a form of rebellion against us for having no spare change to give her. Zarrin’s now feeling slightly despondent. Most of us feel bad as well. For Zarrin, and the way that child is currently being raised.

That’s Prishtina. It will take you to cloud 9, and bring you back to the ground within 24 hours.

Written by Dennis B.

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Freshmen 1st Class: Kidd Kidd Mon, 15 Jun 2015 18:10:34 +0000 continue reading]]> Kidd Kidd

After Raury and Fetty Wap, where do we go from here? To New Orleans, of course. In a moment as historic as Shawn Michaels being in both D-Generation X and the N.W.O. in his career, Kidd Kidd is the only member to run with Lil Wayne’s Young Money and G-Unit. And somehow, someway, double Kidd was able to win the fan vote for this year’s XXL Freshmen. Surprised? So are Yoh, Sermon and Khari.

Yoh: It’s Saturday afternoon, there’s a dusty Nintendo 64 sitting on my floor, Mario Kart is being played on a 55inch, overpriced television. The dining room table is littered with power ranger shot glasses, there’s a bottle of Honey Jack and a bottle of Bombay Gin East on the counter, Action Bronson is playing from a wireless speaker, friends are sunk into the couches, I consider this normal, weekend scenery. Makonnen just sent me a direct message with the location of his video shoot. Still a fairly normal occurrence. What isn’t normal, completely unbelievable, is seeing Kidd Kidd on the XXL freshmen cover. This is the same guy that claimed he was on every wanted poster in 2008. A lyric he said on one of the biggest rap albums of 2008. Yet, it’s 2015, 7 years later, and I’m writing about Kidd Kidd, a XXL freshmen. Math was never my strongest subject, but I know when something isn’t adding up. I remember listening to this guy during the massive Wayne leaks, when he had mixtapes dropping on Datpiff weekly, Kidd Kidd would appear on few tracks with him and Drake. The internet has informed me that Kidd has been around since Wayne’s Squad Up mixtape. Projects he released before the industry accepted him as a prominent solo artist. If Kidd Kidd is illegible to be a freshmen, then Gudda Gudda and T-Streets should’ve made the list as well.

From what I remember, he isn’t known for being the most talented emcee. He fit within the confines of Young Money’s massive circle, his prowess somewhere in-between Tyga and Chanel West Coast. In his defense, this is an opinion based on his performance before aligning with G-Unit. He was the addition to the group when they re-emerged, a moment in hip-hop history that didn’t do much for me. He’s the freshmen that I have absolute no interest in. It’s surprising that he was able to secure the spot. He gets my kudos for reaching the next level in his career but I won’t pretend that I’m suddenly interested. I’m hoping that Khari and Serm will be the voices that actually give some insight into his career/potential. For I am the wrong one for such a job. It’s Saturday, I’m logging out to go kick ass at Mario Kart.

Mainstream Appeal: Meh

Lyrical Ability: Meh x10

Relevance/ Impact:   In 2008 this would be a 2. In 2015, a solid 1.

Will We Be Talking About Him In 5 Years: Are we talking about him now?

Sermon: November 26, 1991… a star was born. His name is Curtis Stewart, a man who would go on to be known as Nutt Da Kid and eventually just Kidd times 2. Either Kidd has nudes of the Google President’s wife to change his age or he’s legitimately only 23. It’s crazy, because we’ve known about him for over a decade. Sqad Up days to early Young Money to now rolling with the G-G-G-G-Unit.

This was the fan vote pick. You can argue G-Unit’s selling power, but in 2015 it doesn’t seem like it’s strong enough to knock down that barrier. Then again, re-looking at the voting list, maybe there wasn’t anybody with a bigger, more loyal fan base. Possibly Skizzy Mars or even Snow Tha Product, who both would’ve been perfect choices. The more I write about it, the more him being fan vote makes sense. Honestly, is anybody at XXL checking for Kidd Kidd? Probably not enough for a cover spot.

At the same time, you have to wonder what this means for him. A big accolade, but how can he capitalize off it? Is he destined for some sort of success like Tony Yayo? Being under G-Unit, you can’t tell in 2015, especially when 50 is musically struggling. Kidd Kidd is someone who impresses in spurts. He may have a memorable verse here and there, but a whole body of work that lives up to where he’s at in his career is not present. At least Tony Yayo had an underrated album.

Mainstream Appeal: Not really. Ryda Gang for the streets. His most mainstream moment will always be “Mrs. Officer.”

Lyrical Ability: I’ve never once been impressed with a Kidd Kidd line enough to go WHOOOOOAAAAA!

Relevance/ Impact: G-Unit fans love him enough to not care that he was thrown into the group.

Will We Be Talking About Him In 5 Years: If Cam’ron accepts him into the Diplomats reunion that’ll finally happen in 2020, then yes.

Khari: 50 Cent’s check came in at the last minute. XXL’s graphic design team must’ve been pissed too, because they’d probably already laid out Lil’ Durk’s spread. I know how that goes.

That isn’t confirmed information, just speculation. It’s the only way in the world, I imagine, Kidd Kidd, who’s been trying to make it happen for his solo career for the past half-decade, managed to land himself a spot on the Freshman cover over some pretty decorated young guns. He released his first mixtape in 12 years last week to crickets, which isn’t always a good determinant of quality, so I took a listen.
No disrespect to Kidd Kidd, his story is pretty inspiring, and the specifics of it make 50 Cent’s allegiance to the New Orleans native an endearing story. After making a major contribution to Lil Wayne’s platinum-selling “Mrs. Officer” single in 2008, Kidd Kidd was shot 6 times three years later, and recovered only to find out he’d been dumped by Columbia Records. 50 Cent’s honorable outstretched hand has not only included Kidd Kidd in many of his music ventures, but the kid(d) is now the 5th member of G-Unit.
Still, the fact of the matter is, no amount of free Effen Vodka bottles make this okay. We will not be checking for Kidd Kidd in the near future. Do not pass go, XXL, do not collect $200.
Unless, of course, it’s in the form of a check from Fif’s personal account.

Mainstream Appeal: 2 (And that’s being generous. Mrs. Officer was no joke, though).

Lyrical Ability: 4 (Outside of a couple goods showings on the G-Unit EPs, there isn’t much…just no).

Relevance/Impact: Being the 5th member of a somewhat has-been crew counts for something, right? I’ll go with a 3 on this.

Will We Be Talking About Him in 5 Years: No.

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The Sermon’s Curation: Best Reads of the Week (6-8 to 6-14) Sun, 14 Jun 2015 20:57:40 +0000 continue reading]]> Vince Staples

In addition to this week’s curation, I started a weekly playlist over at Lunch N Leftovers featuring some of my favorite songs from the week, so check that out. This edition of the SD curation is stacked from floor to ceiling with content. We have interviews from Vince Staples and Father both worth reading, why Travi$ Scott’s debut album is a sequel to Yeezus, some little known facts about Mick Foley, the streaming wars and what it means for free music, and more.

Vince Staples – The FADER Interview: As we await his debut album, Vince Staples dropped GEMS in his interview with The FADER. He talks about not feeling pressured for a radio single, why hip-hop culture isn’t appreciated as much, structuring his album after the summer of 2006, and more.

The Real Story Behind Macho Man’s Rap Album: In case you needed a reminder, Randy Savage made a rap album, and before John Cena I might add. This is the story of how it came together equipped with quotes from Randy’s brother and more. I loved this.

Father – NPR Interview: Simply because NPR has some of the best interviews in the game, and very underrated too, here’s the sit-down they had with Atlanta’s own Father. He talks about the inspiration behind his latest mixtape title, utilizing his creativity, and more.

Travi$ Scott’s Rodeo Will Be The True Sequel To Yeezus: To this day, we can argue about Yeezus. It’s a very disappointing album to me, and always will be. Gary Suarez looks at Travi$ Scott’s debut album and how it’ll be a sequel to Kanye’s worst album, which I’m actually fine with. I think Travi$ can carry that kind of sound, but ‘Ye didn’t.

13 Facts You May Not Know About Mick Foley: From his first name to his first little known run in WWE, these are the facts you may or may not have heard about Mick Foley’s career.

A Day In The Life of Fetty Wap: If you’re one of those people who have been burning up trying to figure out what Fetty Wap does in his day, Billboard has answered your prayers. You’ll witness his alcoholic, party-animal ways, how he doesn’t understand how people with two eyes not being able to drive when he can do it with one, and more.

Taking Acid With ILoveMakonnen: An Ernest Baker tale from Governor’s Ball.

Bring The Drugs: The Weeknd & The Rise of Overdose R&B: Nathan Slavik goes deep with the drug-filled world of The Weeknd’s music. He questions how a man of Abel’s caliber has been able to survive this journey he portrays through the music and if we should worry.

The Streaming Wars & The Coming Free Music Apocalypse: Paid streaming is the future, so, as we look on the impending change, Yoh writes about how things will begin to change. However, Brian Z (DJ Booth’s founder) provides an interesting comment about indie artists always using the internet to build a fan base instead of hiding behind a pay wall. It’s a lot to think about.

20 Hip Hop Veterans Offer Freshmen Advice: From Bun B to Juvenile, some of the artists who have experienced longevity gave some key advice for new artists. Somehow, Lil Mama is in here, which I’ve never considered her a vet. It’s valuable even if you’re not a rapper.

Balloons To Hills: The Weeknd’s Rise From Cult Indie Hero to Budding International Superstar: The Weeknd is in an interesting position with his career. He’s fighting to be behind two mediums with his dark edge and his newfound pop success, which collide nicely on “Can’t Feel My Face.” Eric Bernsen writes about his career, why his upcoming album is important, and more.

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Freshmen 1st Class: Fetty Wap Wed, 10 Jun 2015 19:00:32 +0000 continue reading]]> Fetty photo gray.jpg

Welcome back to the second edition of the 2015 Freshmen 1st Class series. Quick course refresher for you newbies. Three writers (Khari, Yoh and Sermon) are here to break down each XXL Freshmen. After exploring the interesting dynamic of Raury, let’s take a trip up to New Jersey. He’s one of the most talked about freshmen (sorry, Kidd Kidd). That’s right, the one and only Fetty Wap.

Khari: In July of 2014, Mister Cee spun a record that didn’t do anything particularly spectacular. The beat wasn’t extraordinary, the lyrics weren’t the product of a pen that’d been sharpened over time, and the voice that sang the chorus wasn’t that of someone that could challenge Ty Dolla $ign, PARTYNEXTDOOR or any of the sangas-turnt-rappers that have emerged over the past year. But with that pretty cool beat, those pretty cool lyrics and that pretty cool voice, Fetty Wap struck a chord with pretty cool people just about everywhere, and “Trap Queen” was born. His voice in itself is somewhat of a vaguely tuned instrument, a synthesizer. It accentuates run of the mill drum kicks and Fruity Loops snares that would ordinarily be the backdrop of a looked-over rap song, and includes them in a gospel-y croon, carefully toeing the line between poignant and paean. His physical appearance only adds to his mystifying narrative: he lost sight in one of his eyes due to a childhood bout with glaucoma, and we’ve seen him go from a medium, red-dyed cut to blonde dreads, Haitian flag tied around his forehead to boot.

Still, Fetty doesn’t need to perform in a controlled medium to succeed. This past Sunday he attacked both Summer Jam stages with fervor, and has performed on both Jimmy Kimmel and Fallon’s shows backed by a live band (and killed it). He’s only officially released three singles, and all three of them have become pop successes. From his boastful interpolation of drug references and love to an out-of-tune, cat-calling ballad, the Patterson, New Jersey rep’s efforts have all been well-received. Noisey, a notoriously harsh rap critique site that once postulated that a J. Cole album was just “OK” because the writer was in a good mood, called Fetty’s “Trap Queen” the “hottest New York record of the year,” in a year when A$AP Rocky, Fabolous, Cam’ron, Troy Ave and Joey Bada$$ all released new music. The moral of the story? Sometimes the simplest answer is the right one, and when it comes to Fetty Wap, my jury is still out. But one thing is undeniable. The guy makes music that everyone instantly likes. If there’s no talent in that, then the music industry is in much deeper a conundrum than originally thought.

Mainstream Appeal: 9 (Nothing but Top 40 anthems in his arsenal. Trust me, I checked).

Lyrical Ability: 4 (His hottest line right now is “Hey, what’s up, hello.”)

Relevance/Impact: 8 (In 5 months, he’s drawn co-signs from Kanye West, Lyor Cohen and Drake. Just typing that, I got wide-eyed).

Will We Be Talking About Him In 5 Years: This could go either way, but I’ll say yes. Hell, we’re still talking about Soulja Boy.

Yoh: I’m still struggling with deciding a definite opinion on Fetty Wap. On one hand, he’s undeniably addictive. His voice, his adlibs, his melodies, after one listen, they store themselves in your memory bank. Even if you hate “Trap Queen” it will haunt you from the recycle bin. My Way is similar, even before Drake’s magic touch the song was destined to leave a lasting impression on listeners. On the other hand, Fetty Wap feels like a singer of the moment. He tried something different, found success in singing, but everyone is singing. He’s not doing anything different or wowing. PartyNextDoor, Post Malone and Makonnen have all found success in a similar lane. Is there room for one more?I thought Future Hendrix would be a phase, temporary, but he’s proved to have a prowess for being a hit maker. He created a cult, fed them records, and they crowned him justly. Fetty Wap is at that crossroad. He has the summer that I won’t argue. Yet, the summer ends. Will he have our attention after this moment? It’s uncertain. The album won’t determine his future but it will give us some insight if he has bigger moments in his arsenal. I criticize Raury’s rapping but he’s much better than Fetty. He needs to drop the bars and join the ratchet and blues conglomerate with Ty$. That’s a promising lane he could prosper in.

I’ll admit, I don’t care too much for the kid. I can tolerate “Trap Queen” and “My Way” but my attempt to play his mixtape didn’t leave me yearning for more. I won’t deny the fact he glows with star quality, has a growing following, and the only Freshmen with an established hit. He has the present but the future is hard to foresee. If The Weeknd can make druggy, sex music mainstream, Fetty J. Blige has a chance to croon his trap tales from the hood to the burbs. We are living in unpredictable time.

Mainstream Appeal: 8. He’s already made it into the stream, will he be able to stay is the question.

Lyrical Ability: 4. He’s a pretty bad rapper that somehow makes it work.

Relevance/Impact: 8. Number 2 song in the country

Will We Be Talking About Him In 5 Years: Ehhhhh, I honestly don’t think so. But it wouldn’t be the first time i misjudged someone’s staying power.

Sermon: Hey internet, let’s not compare Fetty Wap to anybody. He’s not Future, nor better. The NJ native is his own artist with a sound that’s distinguishable from anybody else. It’s not hard to realize why he made the XXL cover. “Trap Queen” is a hit single, a Drake co-sign on “My Way” and the potential for more hits. Do I agree with his inclusion on the list? It’s up in the air. The main issue with XXL’s criteria is these artists haven’t necessarily proven themselves for long term success, which is what I thought this purpose was for.

I respect Fetty’s approach. He’s a product of Lyor Cohen’s 300 instead of working to the tune of a major label. For that sole reason, it seems like he can break free of the one-hit wonder chants. Much like Future’s career, I don’t see myself fully getting into Fetty’s music until later on should he escape that fate. The hype is unbearable at times. We get it, you like him.I’ll admit, “My Way” gets randomly stuck in my head ever since the remix. I need a new album or a mixtape to judge if he’s merely good for a hot single or can carry himself with a body of work. The latter is harder to achieve, but Lyor is a veteran who I’d trust knew what he was doing by signing Fetty Wap. And let’s hope that reason wasn’t just for one hit.

Mainstream Appeal: Well, having a hit single already solidifies his mainstream appeal. 8.5.

Lyrical Ability: Oh, god. Can I skip a rating here? I’m going to skip it.

Relevance/Impact: He’s already being called Fetty Levert and Fetty Guwop by weirdos (see: Khari and Yoh respectively). Hit single, Drake co-sign, etc. Huge relevance. 9.

Will We Be Talking About Him In 5 Years: I doubted Future when he first came out, but he’s still around. I won’t count Fetty out completely, but I just don’t know if he’ll maintain.

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