I’m not huge on love songs. I find break up songs more my style—unrequited love at the very least. The best art often comes from a place of deep pain. Of course, songs exist outside of this binary. Pop music tends to eschew a central message. Most radio hits currently fall under a category I will call boisterous optimism. Consider the last two “Songs of Summer:” “Fancy” by Iggy Azelia is a boastful statement of self and “Blurred Lines” is a boastful plea for women to be more open towards Robin Thicke’s advances.“Call Me Maybe” is the closest of recent summer jams to be considered a love song, but more than anything it’s a song of courtship. The lack of “love” is precisely what makes the message good. The sequel to“Call Me Maybe” would be way less interesting.
Enter “Trap Queen” by Fetty Wap. Released over a year ago, the song is primed to become to the breakout hit of the summer. Already, the rapper has appeared at the MTV Movie Awards and on stage with Kanye West to perform the song that more and more people are quite literally falling in love with every day. What makes “Trap Queen” so special is that it’s simultaneously a banger for the club or the backyard BBQ and a love song that can’t help but make you smile. “Hey, what’s up, hello,” the song starts with a meet-cute.
Fetty takes us on a romantic journey, telling us the story of his trap queen, who became both a lover and a business partner. In November he told Complex, “I was just dealing with somebody at the time, and she was holding me down. We were building a lot, and I came up with the concept. She was my trap queen.” While pop music can too often be about number one, for Fetty and his trap queen, they truly are a team. It’s important that couples share things in common, which is why you can’t help but ship the two. They seem to share everything, from going to the mall and getting fly to being in the kitchen and cookin’ pies.
The key is that despite its touching tone, “Trap Queen” remains hard to the core. Fetty sings the hook and raps the verse, but make no mistake this is no R&B song. It’s a trap beat with a soft sonic overlay that matches perfectly with Fetty’s raspy voice. When he comes in for the verse, it’s a kick. “I hit the strip with my Trap Queen, cause all we know is bands / I might snatch up a ‘rari and buy my boo a Lamb.” Fetty sounds angry but he’s anything but. He’s boastfully in love, proud that his successful coke game is only possible with the help from his girl. It’s #thiscouldbeusbutyouplaying bait or #relationshipgoals.
It’s a song about love that isn’t sad or corny. It’s a banger. A summer jam. It’s pro-women. It’s about dealing cocaine. I love it, and you will too because it feels good to celebrate a union between two people regardless of how different you may be from them. While radio anthems have correctly identified grand self-promotion as a great way to get people on to the dance floor, Fetty reminds us that love conquers all—our hearts, our radio stations, our traps.