Fetty Wap has enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame, thanks to the success of one of the catchiest songs currently on the radio, “Trap Queen.” Now, he’s up for both Best Hip-Hop Video and Artist To Watch at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. Ahead of the ceremony, here are 10 things to know about the artist.
1. He grew up in New Jersey
The artist, whose real name is Willie Maxwell, was raised in Paterson, New Jersey. Though he only began seriously delving into music in 2013, he used to sing, as well as play both the drums and the piano for his local church as a child.
2. His stage name was partly inspired by his favorite rapper
How exactly did he come up with the name Fetty Wap? “Fetty” is a slang word for “money,” while Wap is meant as a tribute to his favorite rapper, Gucci Mane, whose nickname is Guwop.
3. He lost the use of his left eye as a child
The rapper initially dodged questions about his left eye, but eventually revealed that he dealt with a serious eye condition when he was younger. “When I was little, I got into a little accident, and it gave me congenital glaucoma in both of my eyes,” Wap explained during an interview with Shade 45. “The doctors saved one, so I was blessed to [still] have my vision.”
4. His first single, “Trap Queen,” went viral online before it became a radio hit
Wap uploaded the song to SoundCloud in March of 2014, where it quickly began amassing plays. The song garnered over a million plays in its first few months online and also began gaining popularity on social media. It’s since become a platinum record.
5. The song has already inspired remixes
As “Trap Queen” became increasingly popular, several unofficial remixes were released. Artists who have released their own takes and guest verses on the song include French Montana, Fabolous, Lil’ Kim, Rick Ross and Fat Trel, among others.
6. He has some huge celebrity fans
As she recently revealed to i-D magazine, Rihanna is a fan of Wap, as is rapper Bobby Shmurda. Both Drake and Kanye West have also given him cosigns and have publicly praised the artist.
7. He’s already matched Eminem in a major way
In late July, Fetty had three songs in the top 20 on the Hot 100 chart. According to Billboard, that makes him the first male rapper to accomplish that feat since Eminem in 2013.
8. He’s also already made Hot Rap chart history
According to Billboard, Wap has already made rap chart history. In August, he was the first act to ever have his first four singles simultaneously enter the top 10 of the Hot Rap Songs chart.
9. He’s shared the stage with both Kanye West and Taylor Swift
As previously mentioned, West and Wap are good friends and the two have even shared the stage. Earlier this year, West brought Wap out onstage during his Roc City Classic Show in New York City. West is also reportedly the one who helped connect Wap with Drake.
And he’s not the only celeb who recruited Wap for a big concert. Swift recently brought him out during a Seattle concert for her 1989 tour.
10. He has lots more music on the way
While he has released several top 10 singles, Wap hasn’t actually released an album yet — but it’s on the way. Earlier this month, the artist released the cover for his debut LP (seen above), which is set to be released on Sept. 25.