The self-titled debut album from rapper Fetty Wap hit #2 on iTunes Friday after fans got an exclusive preview on NPR Music that started 24 hours before the release.
NPR Music’s First Listen features usually preview albums the week prior to their release, but the stream of Fetty Wap just a day before it dropped marks the network’s shortest-ever lead time on a sneak peek. “This is the shortest window we’ve ever done, and we agreed to do it, frankly, because it was Fetty Wap,” said Robin Hilton, NPR Music producer and co-host of All Songs Considered, via email.
Three of Wap’s singles have cracked the top 20 of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, generating buzz for the new release. The 20-track album features past singles, new songs and remixes. It fits well among other hip-hop that NPR has covered recently, including rapper Mac Miller last week and the musical Hamilton this week, Hilton said by email.
“We don’t have exact numbers to share, but Fetty Wap — along with Hamilton and Mac Miller — has been near the top of the most popular stories on all of NPR since it went up,” Hilton said. “ I think if we’d had it for more than 24 hours, it could have been among the most popular of all time.”
An independent publicist approached Frannie Kelley, co-host of NPR’s hip-hop–focused Microphone Check podcast and website section, about previewing the album in late August, she said. Kelley was immediately on board, she said via email.
“We just look for records we’re excited about,” Hilton said. “We only cover the ones we genuinely love and want to tell everyone about.”
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As the usual suspects on the NPR comment boards complain about the “rap crap” and/or (most likely or) NPR pandering to Evil Capitalist Corporate AmeriKKKa.