Two days with Fetty Wap in the Tri-State
The FMF Tour
Every generation of hip hop has its pioneers and for this new generation of hip hop or trap music as some are calling it, at the top you’ll find Fetty Wap. Fetty, whose real name is Willie Maxwell II, calls the city of Paterson, New Jersey home. For those unfamiliar with the city, it’s a rough, every-man-for-himself environment with thousands fighting to find their way out. Fetty Wap was one of those thousands; however in 2014 that dream became a reality! His song “Trap Queen” seemingly blew up and caught the attention of an intern at 300 Entertainment after Fetty uploaded the track to Soundcloud, who then passed it on to A&R Selim Bouab. From there it’s all history: “Trap Queen” hit No 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, No 13 on Itunes, and received 22 Million plays on SoundCloud.
Fetty raps over trap instrumentals while still maintaining his rough Jersey honesty through aggressive lyrics. His music has caught the attention and praise of hip hop icons Trey Songz, Rihanna, and Kanye West. In 2015 he was nominated in XXL Freshman Class, which is a sought after achievement for the new wave of rappers. More recently Fetty has introduced an R&B flavor to his trap music dubbed Trap&B.
Fetty Wap’s success hasn’t changed his spirit or his heart; instead the Paterson rapper takes every opportunity to give back to his community through his fortune by trying to pave a positive path for the youth in his old neighborhood, and inspire them to chase their dreams. In September 2017, while in the city of Hackensack, NJ, he started asking kids if they were attending school. If the answer was yes, he handed them a cool $100. On November 21st, the rapper donated 500 turkeys in his hometown of Paterson; something he has done for the past 3 years since his career started.
This is one of the many reasons I was excited to check out Fetty Wap’s FMF Tour; the tour’s abbreviation stands for “For My Fans,” something that Fetty truly means as he understands if it wasn’t for their support, his life probably wouldn’t be what it is today.
I had the opportunity to spend two days covering two very different FMF Tour stops. The first, a Thursday night at Huntington, Long Island’s The Paramount. I arrived to the venue around 6:30PM to the sight of 30 of Suffolk County’s finest and a line of kids from 15 to 30 years old stretched down 2-3 blocks on the cities New York Ave.
Doors opened at 7pm without a hitch and before I knew it, the 8PM showtime had arrived. The FMF Tour featured some local support, and openers at the Long Island stop included FatBoy SSE, 6ix9ine, Liam Lis, M-80 and Gooey Kids. Each act performs for about 10-15 minutes, pretty much back to back with no set change. The acts were filled with high energy and a ton of support from the crowd including phone flash lights lit up and fans handing performers their phones to record video with on stage. This often isn’t the case for opening acts but on the FMF Tour, there is a ton of love. The crowd was really into the show and you could feel the excitement as they waited for Fetty Wap to take the stage. It really felt like a great concert before the main event even began.
Fetty Wap took the stage around 10pm and his set was high energy filled with guest appearances from openers FatBoy SSE and 6ix9ine along with Fetty’s right hand man Remy Boyz own Monty. The set featured songs like “Trap Queen,” “Jimmy Choo,” and “679.” Fetty was joined on stage by his crew 1738 and almost every opener on the tour. What really stood out to me was how Fetty & co brought these songs to life in a live environment.
Friday night, and round two of two with Fetty Wap, found me heading to The Wellmont in Montclair, NJ. This would not only be Fetty Wap’s hometown show, as Paterson, NJ is only about 10-15 minutes away, but it was also the release day for Fetty’s new mixtape in which the title follows suit with the tours name “For My Fans.”
I was really especially excited for this show. The Wellmont is a venue I’ve attended many shows at, and surely such a great day for Fetty and his crew. I arrived to the venue at 7pm as doors were supposed to open, immediately I was greeted with utter chaos.
The street of The Wellmont was filled with police, but unlike Long Island there seemed to be tension and snarky attitudes from not only the police, but venue staff. The vibe outside was uncomfortable and honestly a real downer for myself, and I’m sure many fans who paid good money to attend the show. It was pretty clear after watching certain events the Montclair police were not happy about a hip hop show in their town and also that the venue was probably not fit to handle such an event. The result: fans being treated unfairly and herded like cattle to various areas of the venue.
I saw at least 10 people get kicked out of the venue before I was able to even get inside! Despite the vast difference in night one and night two (so far), the show must go on. As I finally made my way inside, my only hope was that the spectacles I witnessed outside would stay there, and I would be able to enjoy the show with yet another sold out crowd for Fetty Wap. To my surprise I was once again met with disappointment as I encountered more angry staff and officers inside the theatre. Unlike Long Island, this was a very different crowd; much older than the previous show yet more immature than the teenagers in the crowd the night before. Adults unable to hold their alcohol and ridiculous arguments between concert goers… In fact, The Wellmont didn’t feel like a concert that night – it felt like a rave that got raided.
As the show began, I headed to the photo pit to start my picture duties for the night. Once again, openers FatBoy SSE took the stage and their energy was even better than the night before. It even distracted me and made me momentarily forget about the side show I had witnessed on the way in. The set featured Fatboy bringing his wife up on stage and throwing a stack of $20 dollar bills into the crowd. His set was great; I’d even say much better than the night before. It was clear the energy on stage was not affected by the staff, which in turn may have helped the crowd turn the night around. As Fetty Wap made his way to the stage a little after ten, he was all smiles. You could easily tell Fetty loves performing and considers his fan base a family. His set included guest performances from FatBoy SSE and 6ix9ine, who took a spill when stage diving into the crowd… Thankfully he is ok! Fetty performed for 75 minutes and the set included the previous night’s listed tracks as well as “All In My Head,” “Promise,” and “My Way.”
Let me be clear: my negative parts of this review have absolutely nothing to do with Fetty Wap, his openers, or any of the touring crew. My negativity comes from seeing concert attendees being clearly targeted and mistreated by certain public servants. I attend almost 100 concerts a year and I have never been subjected to seeing this kind of hostility towards music fans especially from a well known music venue. I urge you to not let my thoughts from this show steer you from supporting Fetty Wap and the FMF tour; in fact, it’s imperative that you do.
The FMF Tour will roll on across the United States and you can check out the full dates below. I highly encourage you to hop on the tour as Fetty really delivers on a true hip hop experience and atmosphere for fans of all kinds.