Many events have transpired in the life and career of Fivio Foreign since the release of his breakthrough single, “Big Drip,” in 2019. Highlights such as the signing of a million-dollar record deal with Columbia Records and the success of his 2020 mixtape 800 B.C. were offset by tragedies such as the murder of late rap star, collaborator, and close friend Pop Smoke that same year. And when you account for the charges he’s fighting after allegedly being found with a loaded firearm in 2021, as well as the growing friction between himself and former allies, the Brooklyn rapper’s ability to weather the storm has become an underlying theme of his young yet blossoming career.
Fivio acknowledges his past trials and tribulations while continuing to push forward on B.I.B.L.E. The 32-year-old’s long-awaited debut album finds him picking up where Pop Smoke left off in the mainstream drill movement. Reflecting on the road he’s traveled on the album’s opening salvo, “On God,” the 800 Foreign Side General barks, “I’m a self-maded/ GRAMMY-nominated,” referencing his recent work on Kanye West’s Donda album.
The bar is a testament to his evolution from relative unknown to household name among rap fans. The cosign of West, who pops up on B.I.B.L.E.‘s lead single and latest NYC anthem, “City of Gods” featuring Alicia Keys, has helped introduce Fivio to a broader audience, which he takes full throughout the album’s 17 tracks.
Having also lent his support to various Brooklyn artists, most notably Bobby Shmurda and Pop Smoke, Quavo makes dual appearances on B.I.B.L.E. Costarring alongside Fivio on the early standouts “Through the Fire” and “Magic City,” the Migos member displays effortless chemistry with his BK counterpart that will hopefully result in future collaborations between the two. One calling card of New York drill artists has been their propensity to draw from vintage R&B ballads in the creation of their music. Fivio continues this trend, sampling Destiny’s Child’s 1999 hit “Say My Name” on “What’s My Name,” a smoothed-out selection featuring Queen Naija and Coi Leray that has the makings of a dark-horse hit written all over it.
This formula is revisited during the latter half of the album (albeit with less impressive results) on “Love Songs” featuring Ne-Yo, which includes an uncharacteristically half-hearted effort from Fivio. Brandishing a similarly suave side while spouting sweet nothings on the KayCyy and Chlöe-assisted number “Hello,” Fivio puts together a better outing, rapping “Take you through Brooklyn and Paris/ My money is tall as the Eiffel” atop a murky backdrop. With an infectious delivery and lyrical approach, one of Fivio’s more understated traits as an artist is his ability to get collaborators to tread into his lane and adapt to his own stylings rather than the other way around, a dynamic that occurs multiple times on B.I.B.L.E.
On “Confidence,” A$AP Rocky, who’s already put together a string of impressive guest features this year, adopts a drill flow beside Fivio, while Lil Yachty does the same on “Slime Them.” Both offerings are evidence of Fivio’s ability to coexist creatively with artists of various ilks. Additional highlights on B.I.B.L.E. include “World Watching” featuring Lil Tjay and Yung Bleu, and the Vory and Polo G-assisted cut “Changed On Me.”
However, the album truly hits its highest marks when Fivio diminishes the drip and allows us to get in tune with the man in the mirror. This transparency, which is revealed on tracks like “For Nothing,” “Feel My Struggle,” and the closing offering, “Can’t Be Us,” is poignantly refreshing and gives a glimpse of the Flatbush rep that until now we’ve yet to fully witness.
Sticking to the script and playing to his strengths, Fivio doesn’t tread much new territory with B.I.B.L.E., an album full of panache and cocksure musings atop jittery, pulsating production that’s much in line with what we’ve heard from him previously. While slightly more ambitious and with additional bells and whistles, the themes and subject matter on B.I.B.L.E. remain vaguely similar to prior drops, which makes it tailor-made for listeners who’ve already latched onto Fivio’s sound thus far.
However, aside from those aforementioned moments of introspection, those looking for B.I.B.L.E. to break new ground for Fivio may be slightly underwhelmed. Nonetheless, at face value, B.I.B.L.E. is a respectable debut from one of rap’s brightest stars that will have us keeping an eye on the next time he goes viral.