Embracing the Guilty Pleasure: An Ode to "Trap Queen"

by Sofiya Ballin

Originally published at The Philadelphia Inquirer

Fetty Wap had me at "Hey, what's up, hello."

I've watched the New Jersey rapper's hit "Trap Queen" crawl from underneath sweaty house parties to constant radio rotation, hitting No. 3 on Billboard's Hot 100.

It's been remixed and hilariously rebutted in viral videos and Vines. On Tuesday night, he performed along Philly's the Roots on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

The trap is where most drug deals go down, and Wap's Trap Queen is the loyal lady at his side.

And I love it.
I can hear the moans of disapproval from hip-hop/rap purists, feminists, and my mom. But hear me out.

I play "Trap Queen" when I wake up, run, walk, write, and cook. And if someone plays it at a party, make room.

To be clear, I am not glorifying drug-dealing. But, in trap music, a derivation of Southern hip hop, women are typically accessories. Yet Wap is in full support of his enterprising girlfriend. In the video, she isn't his prop but his business partner. He raps, "We just set a goal / talkin' matchin' Lambos."

Wap told the New York Observer that his inspiration came from "my girl [who] was holding me down."

You can sense the genuine love and praise he has for this woman. He raps and sings with a soft vigor. It harks back to that "hood love" Yvette and Jody share in Baby Boy or even to the notorious Bonnie and Clyde. There's something about that unfettered love that we're fascinated with: It's raw, crazy and, frankly, doesn't give a damn.

But the Trap Queen isn't a victim of her sense of loyalty like the "ride-or-die" chick. She makes decisions not for her man but for herself. Her goal isn't to sit in the passenger seat of the Lamborghini, but to buy her own.

Fetty Wap is not a feminist, and "Trap Queen" is definitely not a feminist anthem, but that hasn't prevented women from relating to its core message.

In the video, the lens focuses less on her body but more on her body of work. She aids in production, transaction and she counts the profits.

I've never been about that trap life, and neither have my friends. Whether we pursue medicine, law, or politics, we jam to this. Because, truthfully, we carry that same unwavering hustle mentality in every stride. The ability not just to make do, but to make work. It feels great to be praised for it to a twerk-ready beat.

We're smart, sexy, savvy and we don't care how you interpret that.

I've watched women change their Twitter and Instagram aliases to include "Trap Queen" as symbols of unapologetic empowerment, acknowledging the regality in the rough.

The Trap Queen to us is gritty and imperfect. Kind of like Wap's singing voice.

In the midst of civic unrest and racial tension, after playing Kendrick Lamar's "Alright," (which deserves its own ode) over and over again, I need the frivolousness of Fetty Wap's "Trap Queen."

A bouncy, celebratory song that makes me feel happy and celebrates one of the many facets of my womanhood.

For the "Trap Queen" lovers, it's OK. You don't have to treat the song like a guilty pleasure.

And for the "Trap Queen" haters, it's cool.

We just call you fans, though.

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