VIBE: Your grandfather had a church and some of your family members played in the choir. But where did music start for you?
Fetty Wap: Well, my mother, little sister and brother sing, but I liked to play drums. I started playing when I was three years old. Back then, I was watching my uncle play drums and my father play the keyboard in church.
Was your family always trying to drag you to church when you were younger?
Nah, it wasn’t really like that. I just loved playing drums and always loved making music. So going to church was more so like my time to practice making records – just having my fun. I guess you can say that’s where I learned melodies and flows. You can hear it in my music now.
Basically, you were honing your skills in church for what you’re doing now for a living?
If you put it that way, then it makes perfect sense [laughs].
There’s a lot of R&B influence in your music. But was it rap music specifically that caught your attention? Or were there other genres that you were into?
It was rap, definitely. I didn’t listen to music that much when I was young. It wasn’t until I found out about Gucci Mane. That was really when I got into music. My first iPod just had Guwop’s Chicken Talk mixtape on it at first. I remember when I got it, the first song I heard was “Chicken Talk” with DJ Burn One. Ever since then I was hooked.
Were there any other rappers that really influenced you?
Not really. You know… people still call me Gucci back where I’m from in Paterson. Now, they call me Wap, though. They’d be like “Gucc,” not Gucci all the time. That used to be my Facebook name — Fetty Guwap. One of my proudest moments in music was being featured on a Gucci song this year.
Who from your childhood encouraged you to pursue music?
I ain’t really have no role models like that. I looked up to my brother – we called him Kobe ’cause he was real nice in sports and always had fly sneakers. I just wanted to be myself, though. I was probably like 13, 14 when I started getting into it for real.
Did you know from the jump that music was your destiny?
I never really thought, I want to be a rapper. I just knew I wanted to be something. Whatever I could get up out of life I was going to get it.
By any means necessary?
I wouldn’t say by any means necessary because I got kids. I got to do it for my kids. But yeah, at the end of the day, my kids got to eat. It just so happens music started working for me.
Your publicist said to me, “Any day that Fetty’s not working or doing shows, he is with his kids.”
I don’t really be having no days off. That’s why the mothers of my kids don’t really complain. It’s not like I’m not around for no reason. They know I’m doing what I can, and that I’m out working to provide for them. I don’t like leaving my kids, so I don’t like just going to see them for no hour or two, and then I got to be in the studio for seven hours. When I first started I was with my kids for seven hours and at the studio for one or two because I only had money for that little studio time.
It’s a gift and a curse. You’re trying to be successful in hip-hop to have money so you can provide for your kids, but the job requires you to be on the road.
I used to see them every day. Now, my biggest fear is that my daughter is going to be crying because she doesn’t know who I am. Or she’s going to be crying because she’s happy to see me. She’s still young so she doesn’t really know what’s up right now. As a man though, that shit kind of hurts me. That’s my baby girl, my only daughter. What man don’t want their daughter to know who they is?
But you also want to be able to provide all things she needs in life. College fund, clothes…
I was going to get all that for her if I was rapping or not. That’s just who I am.