Fetty Wap – King Zoo

His long-awaited return...

Fetty Wap is all heart. The rapper gives back to his community in a real way, hosting Thanksgiving dinner for people who can’t afford it, people on the fringes. The charity event returns this week, and he’d been leading from the front – helping source food, sort the sides, and lay out the chairs. Oh, and he’s also found time to release his first album in eight years.

For such a huge name in Stateside rap, the gap between full length projects is slightly incongruous. Yet, here we are: ‘King Zoo’ is out now, an endlessly entertaining 17-track blockbuster that aims to lighten the mood.

It’s a release replete with highlights. ‘Spin the block’ is a statement of largesse, a party-starter that highlights his unique flow. By contrast, ‘Outside’ is all sombre atmosphere and twilight mood, while the haunting ‘Undeniable’ finds Fetty Wap speaking his truth.

A tracklisting that aims for the dynamic and punchy over the subtle, ‘King Zoo’ is an easy but undeniably colourful listen. ‘Jet Li’ races out of the traps – “It would take a year to make what I made today” – with its description of the high life alluring as ever. ‘superhuman’ leans on those glossy 80s Miami synths – something 2022 single ‘Sweet Yamz’ echoes – while ‘Celebration’ melds together opaque aspects with punchy trap beats.

Over its 44 minute span ‘King Zoo’ revels in eclecticism, spotlighting different aspects of Fetty Wap’s art. Indeed, if there’s a fault here, it is perhaps that the record remains too faithful to his persona – there’s a hint, sometimes, that he could leap on something more cutting edge, rather than leaning on proven formulas.

That said, there’s so much to celebrate here. Fizzing with fireworks, ‘King Zoo’ is a Thanksgiving to savour – from giving back to putting his art first, the New Jersey rapper remains one of hip-hop’s most cherished figures.


Words: Robin Murray

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