Rapper and singer Fetty Wap exploded onto the scene with his 2014 debut single “Trap Queen” (which has since gone platinum), but after the 2015 release of his debut album, things seemed to little quiet from Fetty.
After such a strong start in the music industry, it would be easy to dismiss the inability to make another megahit like “Trap Queen” as a sign of a one-hit-wonder, but Fetty has actually been quietly putting out new music this whole time. In some instances, life has gotten in the way of Fetty having a clear path to the top, but to this day, he continues to release songs and seems to be here to stay.
Fetty Wap was born Willie Junior Maxwell II on June 7, 1991, in Paterson, New Jersey, where he grew up. Many entertainers, musicians, and poets have come out of Paterson, and Maxwell is among them, as he has stated that being raised in Paterson helped shape who he was and who he would become as an artist.
Maxwell did not have it easy growing up. He was born with glaucoma in both eyes, which can lead to vision loss. Doctors were ultimately not able to help his left eye and ended up giving him an artificial eye to replace what was lost.
As Maxwell got older, his interest in school became eclipsed by his interest in music to the point where he dropped out of high school to begin pursuing it. He started his music career in 2013 and changed his stage name to “Fetty Wap:” “Fetty,” for having a lot of cash, and “Wap” as an ode to fellow rapper and one of his main musical influences, Gucci Mane. His pursuit of creating “ignorant R&B” has helped to guide the path of his music career and lead to his first big success.
Making A Grand Entrance
Fetty Wap’s debut single, “Trap Queen,” ended up being his biggest and most well-known hit to date, but it didn’t shoot to platinum status overnight. Fetty first released the song independently online in early 2014 before re-releasing it while tied to 300 Entertainment in December that same year.
Even then, it took several more months for Fetty’s song to catch fire amongst the general public, but it was worth the wait, as by mid-2015, “Trap Queen” peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent 25 weeks in a row in the top 10.
“Trap Queen” marked the start of something big for Fetty Wap, opening doors to him that brought him into the music industry and public eye like never before. He first performed the song at the 2015 MTV Movie Awards before appearing on a string of popular talk shows, performing at the BET Awards that year, and even being nominated for both Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song at the 58th Grammy Awards.
“Trap Queen” garnered praise from critics and fans alike, especially noting the song’s catchiness, which caused it to be one of the most memorable hits of summer 2015 and something that would solidify the name Fetty Wap in rap for years to come.
Music After “Trap Queen”
Almost immediately after “Trap Queen” became a wide-spread hit, Fetty had three other singles—“679,” “My Way,” and “Again” — all reach peaks in the Billboard Hot 100 between August and November in 2015, and at one point all four songs were in the top 10 at the same time (even more of a feat, considering these were his first four professional singles ever). His debut album, the self-titled Fetty Wap, was released in September 2015 and debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200.
Unfortunately, Fetty couldn’t ride the high of “Trap Queen” and its subsequent three successes forever. While Fetty by no means disappeared or quit music, his subsequent releases were increasingly fewer and further between, and none of them peaked as high as any of his first four singles.
Fetty was still active in 2016, releasing singles “Jimmy Choo,” “Wake Up,” “Make You Feel Good,” and “Like a Star” (featuring Nicki Minaj), as well as a mixtape, Zoovier, a Fifth Harmony song “All in My Head (Flex) that he was featured in, and even his own racing game app.
2017 was another fairly busy year for Fetty, dropping songs “Way You Are” (featuring Monty), “Flip Phone,” “Aye,” and “There She Go” (featuring Monty), plus new mixtape Lucky No. 7, and Cheat Codes’ “Feels Great” (which he was featured in alongside CVBZ).
However, things started to slow down production-wise for Fetty from here. He had only two releases in 2018, an EP, For My Fans III: The Final Chapter, and mixtape Bruce Wayne, and then in 2019, he released just two singles, “Birthday” and “Brand New.”
Those wondering where Fetty has been are not alone, as fans still are eager for more from the rapper, but it seems that his apparent decrease in music production is less due to lack of inspiration and more due to an increase in legal trouble and events in his personal life.
Like many entertainers and public figures, Fetty Wap’s controversies and issues began after his meteoric rise following his first big success. The lawsuits started rolling in in 2016, beginning with a Danish songwriter, Lazar Lakic, claiming copyright infringement, as he had reportedly bought the rights for “Trap Queen’s” beat in 2014. Also in 2016, and just a few months after that first lawsuit came one from P-Dice of the Remy Boyz, who accused Fetty of violating their contract after collaborating on “679.”
In 2017, Fetty was found guilty of defaming Shawna Morgan, an ex-employee of his, after he promised to pay her 10% of the money he made while on tour. He not only broke the promise but also made her pay out of pocket for tour expenses and falsely claimed that she stole money from him. Ultimately, Fetty owed her $1 million. Fetty was also charged in 2017 for drunk driving, reckless endangerment, drag racing, and more after being pulled over in the early hours of the morning in November of that year on a Brooklyn highway.
In 2019, Fetty was arrested after allegedly assaulting three employees of a Las Vegas hotel. Also, in 2019, he faced a lawsuit for mistreating a property he had been renting for 11 months in Hollywood Hills, eventually causing $170,000 in damages.
This year, Fetty has been sued for allegedly assaulting a woman in his Los Angeles home last year after imbibing in a few drinks, reportedly punching, strangling, and threatening to kill her, completely unprovoked.
Fetty’s troubles with women and the law this year don’t begin and end there. Unfortunately, a bitter divorce with model Leandra Gonzalez was made official after just a year of marriage. Gonzalez accused her ex of cheating on her with multiple women and being physically abusive.
So, between all of those lawsuits as well as having seven children (that we know of) with six different mothers, it is no wonder that there was a drop-off in Fetty Wap’s music production after “Trap Queen” got big in 2015.
Still Making Music
Even when he was taking more time between putting new work out there, Fetty Wap has still always been making music. In February of this year, he released a new mixtape, Trap & B, and just recently dropped a new single, “Speed,” and its accompanying music video.
So clearly, Fetty Wap is still around and putting in the work. Who knows, maybe another “Trap Queen” level hit is in the works. Hopefully, he can overcome his bouts with the law once and for all to focus more on his music and live a drama-free life.