blame it (on the brandy)
In 1738, King Louis XV of France granted a royal accord to winemaker Rémy Martin, securing for the grape grower exclusive planting rights in the fertile department of Charente.
Nearly three centuries later, in 2013, American rapper Fetty Wap formed his upstart Jersey rap crew, “Remy Boyz 1738,” a gesture towards “Accord Royal 1738”—a 1991 commemorative Rémy Martin brandy bottled in celebration of the firm’s royal foundation. According to Fetty, 1738 is “the finest urban liquor,” the most expensive bottle at his local liquor store.
Just say the words “seventeen thirty-eight,” and you’re sure to ring a bell with anyone under the age of 30; however, that person probably won’t be thinking of mid-tier French brandy. Rather, at the mention of those magic numbers, most people will think of the intro tag from Fetty Wap’s 2015 viral chart topper, “Trap Queen,” a bumping rap-ballad about cooking crack with your significant other.
Originally released in March 2014 on Soundcloud as a low-key, free-style tune, the record eventually came to dominate the airwaves. Fetty’s signature wobbly yodel was broadcast nationwide, peaking in early 2015 as Billboard Hot 100’s Number 2 song. Riding a tsunami wave of internet fame, Fetty was able to snag a nomination for hip-hop magazine XXL’s 2015 Freshman Class, a sought-after list known for launching up-and-coming rappers.
Born Willie Maxwell II in June of 1991, the now ubiquitous trap star is surprisingly humble, often insisting that he’s just lucky to be here. “This shit doesn’t happen to people where I’m from,” Fetty Wap says in his online bio. “A lot of people don’t get the opportunity, so I’ma be a superstar until my star don’t burn no more.”
Deriving his stage name from fetty, a slang term for money, and wap, a diminutive of rapper Gucci Mane’s nickname “Guwop,” the soft-spoken New Jersey native’s most defining feature, apart from his characteristic warbled timbre, is his missing eyeball. As a child, Fetty suffered from congenital glaucoma, a condition that obstructs fluid drainage away from the optic nerve. Doctors eventually had to remove Fetty’s damaged left eye. Forgoing a glass prosthetic, Fetty opts to leave his left eye socket bare, which exposes the whitish-pink tissue left behind after his enucleation surgery.
Understandably, nothing really fazes Fetty anymore. Having lost an eye and gone platinum all before the age of 25, the rapper has—for lack of a better term—seen it all. The only thing that actually bothers him nowadays is balancing his newfound fame with fatherhood. The rapper has a five-year-old son and a newborn baby daughter.
And even though Fetty is probably a very loving family man behind closed doors, his hit single, according to him, “doesn’t have anything to do with love, really.” Rather, as the rapper revealed to Maxim in 2015, the song you’ll hear tweens chanting in supermarkets is really just about breaking the law and having some fun while doing it.