Trap Feminism Vol. 3: Fetty Wap and the trap love song

Fetty Wap is a new trap artist of the singing rapper breed who has been killing the game and the charts. Currently, he is the first artist to have the first four of his chart entries hit the Top 10 on the Billboard Charts. Distinguished from his peers by his missing left eye, Fetty has confidently refused to wear his prosthetic eye because he “didn’t want to look like everyone else.” Even if you never hear one of his songs (which is unlikely unless you live under a rock), you have to admire his spirit.

But I hope you do hear at least a couple of his singles because Fetty is doing something very different than his peers: he’s bringing romance to trap music. In a genre where “Making Love to the Money” is one the most romantic tunes to date, that’s saying a lot. 

In “My Way,” the rapper affectionately dubbed Fettyoncé has a simple mission, one not uncommon in many a love ballad. He is pursuing a woman he likes. Despite the seemingly unremarkable story, it’s pretty radical in the context of songs like “Love No Thotties” and “Freak No More.” Not only that, he renounces the mistreatment his beloved suffered at the hands of an unworthy ex:

This is something you should know, I don’t ever chase no hoes

I spotted you, you had that glow, watch me pull out all this dough

Take you where you want to go, flexing on your ex, I know

He ain’t ever take you out, barely even left your house

How dare that nigga run his mouth when his pockets in a drought

The last single he put out didn’t even make it out

And he dumb as hell and I swear his ass don’t think, ayy

If he disrespect, two shots and I won’t blink, ayy

To an extent, Fetty Wap follows in the footsteps of rappers like LL Cool J, Ja Rule, and even the Cash Money Millionaires (we can debate this choice later) who have all tried their hand at hip hop odes to the ladies. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the hip hop heartthrob himself, Drake. But none of these artists are strictly trap, and within the genre, Fetty’s lyrics and willingness to playfully flex his vocal range, sets him apart. (Future’s “Turn on the Lights” was an amazing trap love song. But unlike Fetty Wap, love and romance is not the primary theme of Future’s discography)

When I first talked about trap feminism I was interested in noting the ways in which trap lyrics, which are uniquely saturated with references to different ways to get money, can sometimes insert women as active agents in the alternative and sub-economies popular to the trap genre. Fetty’s “Trap Queen” is a prime example of this. You could consider this track a trap version of Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s “Bonnie and Clyde.” In the song, Fetty is bragging about the then-love of his life, a woman who joined him among the ranks of the trap elite by partnering with him in his drug business. Here’s a snippet of some of the lyrics:

I’m like “hey, what’s up, hello”

Seen yo pretty ass soon as you came in that door

I just wanna chill, got a sack for us to roll

Married to the money, introduced her to my stove

Showed her how to whip it, now she remixin’ for low

She my trap queen, let her hit the bando

We be countin’ up, watch how far them bands go

We just set a goal, talkin’ matchin’ Lambos

Got 56 a gram, prob’ a 100 grams though

This love story is fueled by hard earned cash and the significance of a partner with whom to earn it with. In Fetty’s world, it is not simply the support of a woman in a business venture that makes her a Trap Queen; it is the effort that a Trap Queen puts into learning the ins and outs of said business, her willingness to perform the same amount of labor, take the same amount of risk, and most importantly reap the same benefits and create the same opportunities for herself. I love that Fetty has moved beyond female partners as uninvolved and unimportant in relation to their male bae/assumed breadwinner. In Fetty’s world, the bond between him and his boo is strengthened by their personal and business relationship, uplifting a romance trope that is refreshing. I like to think that he is indirectly suggesting that men should use their privilege to make room for more women in business. While I’m less than pleased that he allowed “Trap Queen” to be sullied by a rhythmically challenged Taylor Swift, I support this his brand of trap feminism nonetheless.

Feministing's resident "sexpert", Sesali is a published writer and professional shit talker. She is a queer Black girl, fat girl, and trainer. She was the former Training Director at the United States Student Association and later a member of the Youth Organizing team at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She received her bachelors in Women's and Gender Studies from Depaul University in 2012 and is currently pursuing a master's in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta. A self identified "trap" feminist, and trained with a reproductive justice background, her interests include the intersections of feminism and: pop culture, youth culture, social media, hip hop, girlhood, sexuality, race, gender, and Beyonce. Sesali joined the team in 2010 as one of the winners of our So You Think You Can Blog contest.

is Feministing's resident sexpert and cynic.

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