2015 might seem like an eternity away as we dive into the spring semester, but it felt like just yesterday when self–described “ignorant R&B” artist Fetty Wap sauntered up to the stage last Monday at the Theatre of the Living Arts.
If you’re anything like me, you remember Fetty for his hit debut single “Trap Queen” and then forgot about him when the hype faded, the song stopped being played ad nauseum on the radio, and we all learned that Fetty may be the only rapper ever to smoke and have an 100% legitimate case of glaucoma. Side note: isn’t it weird that we all sang “Trap Queen” in the car with our parents even though it’s a love story about learning how to cook crack? But I digress.
Unfortunately for most, Fetty has kind of fallen off the radar after his post debut heyday and “679” days. So while the Jersey native has since collaborated with big sluggers like French Montana and Nicki Minaj, and even released two mixtapes in the past year and a half, I walked into the South Street concert hall with less than high expectations.
I have never been so thrilled to be so wrong.
I could literally feel the crowd’s energy as soon as I walked into the room. The floor boards (and my ears) were buzzing with the pulse and thump of opening act FatBoy SEE and Fuzzy Fazu’s covers of “Bodak Yellow” and "Gucci Gang." People packed themselves like sardines in between the bar and the barricades. These barriers seemed to be nothing more than soft suggestion for fans, who dangled over the fence just to get two inches closer before Fetty emerged from backstage.
While the stage was set with a basic DJ booth and some swanky lookin’ entourage members, there was nothing simple about Fetty Wap’s performance. The Philly show, the second stop on Fetty's new "For My Fans Tour," was essentially a three hour long love letter to the very people who lined up in subfreezing temperatures three hours early to beat the crowd for prime standing room at the venue.
Fetty came out of the gate with an explosive energy, immediately running to the edge of the stage and reaching out (or, rather, over me as I was cowering in awe in the press section) to the front row. Charismatic as ever, he proceeded to saunter across the stage as 400 people belted out the lyrics to fan fave "Jimmy Choo."
Fetty continued to impress the rest of the set, dazzling the audience not only with his incredibly decadent grill and fresh–to–death sneakers but with some seriously killer dance moves that I can only dream I mirrored as I sang (read: screamed) along with the rest of the crowd to bangers like "679," "My Way," and "Again."
While Fetty's larger–than–life stage persona and expertly curated wardrobe had all the markings of an obnoxious and detached–from–reality entertainer, there was an undeniable authenticity to the entire night. From his unexpectedly down–to–earth story about being late to the show because he got caught up visiting his baby daughter at home in Jersey, to his continual, yet ever sincere, thank yous to the crowd throughout the show, it was clear that Fetty truly does do everything he does for his fans.