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Fivio Foreign gracefully carries the torch of NYC drill on ‘B.I.B.L.E.’

With the release of Fivio Foreign’s highly-anticipated debut album, B.I.B.L.E., the newfound rap icon is swinging for the fences on his grand introduction to mainstream listeners — proving himself to be the crown jewel in the city’s sleepless soundscape.

Executive produced by Kanye West, Fivio is fully stepping into his star power and realizing his potential as a leader for the new wave — successfully taking up the mantle as “The King Of New York” that was tragically left behind by the larger-than-life Pop Smoke. Amid wearing the crown, Fivio is still aiming higher, saying the title “doesn’t matter” to him at this stage of the game. What matters most is the music.

Disproving the theory that “Lightning never strikes in the same spot twice,” Fivio has been on a historic run ever since his iconic “Ye doin my album” announcement. Stemming from his standout feature and reveal of “Off The Grid” at Donda’s Atlanta listening event in August 2021, Foreign has risen to the occasion and then some this year — exceeding all expectations with singles in “Magic City featuring Quavo, the anthemic “City of Gods” with Ye and Alicia Keys and Nicki Minaj on “We Go Up.”

Just one week after attending the Grammys for his Donda nomination, Fivio released his immersive ‘B.I.B.L.E. the Documentary’ to lead in the project’s release. In it, Fivio details his rise, level-up and obstacles faced along the way — speaking on the first moment he saw a future for himself in music, among other things. Discussing everything from his breakout hit “Big Drip” to showing behind-the-scenes footage of his star-studded Kanye-produced debut album, the documentary also pays special tribute to Fivi’s lost loved ones — divulging on the important role that his mother held in both his life and career.

Sharing a reading from her favorite Bible verse (Psalm 23), the doc is also heavily dedicated to T Dott — Fivio’s right-hand man, life of the party and originator of many now-iconic dance moves associated with New York drill — who was tragically killed in Brooklyn earlier this year.

With this album, Fivio Foreign has not only managed to live up to the massive hype surrounding it, but also fulfills his promise to elevate the drill sound far beyond where anyone once thought — and perhaps even higher.

“I don’t know what it is yet. But I know for sure God got a plan for me… When you’re thinking about hip hop in New York right now, you’re thinking about drill music in New York. I’m gonna show the world and the people… that it’s bigger than just the drill music.”

Fivio Foreign in B.I.B.L.E. docuemtary

B.I.B.L.E. is a rare sight in 2022 — a fully-baked album with cohesive themes, top-tier production and an entirely new sonic pathway elevated by its powerful gospel influence. Walking the fine line of the origins of NYC’s most important regional style, Fivi makes drill music more accessible to the masses than ever before.

With his infectious shoot-from-the-hip delivery, sometimes sounding like he can barely get all the words out in time, Fivi somehow manages to pack in dense, incredibly thoughtful bars over a wide range of production — sounding more mature and introspective than fans have ever heard him, but still is just as gangster as ever.

No one would argue that the project isn’t heavy on features, but even with the superstar names on the tracklist, Fivio’s signature sound and captivating energy shines through. The album includes an interestingly diverse array of cleverly incorporated heavy-hitters. From tried-and-true hitmakers in DJ Khaled, A$AP Rocky and the underappreciated Ne-Yo, to emerging stars like Vory, Coi Leray, Chlöe and KayCyy, to present-day powerhouses in Polo G, Lil Yachty, Lil Tjay and Bleu, all of them were purportedly orchestrated by Ye.

At 17 tracks long, we took an in-depth look at the scripture written within Fivio’s B.I.B.L.E. and what it means for the future of NYC drill as we know it.

‘B.I.B.L.E.’ Study

From the project’s first song, Kanye’s influence is immediately evident. In addition to its double meaning of the popular cultural phrase, “On God” is a dramatic, crescendoing intro channeling the cinematic spirit of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy mixed with the gospel choir backing of Jesus Is King. Only this time instead of Ye, Fivi is backed by the ethereal autotune vocal of Ye’s apparent new prodigy, KayCyy, who revealed that “On God” was originally supposed to be on his debut album Who Is KayCyy?.

The negative space on the track leaves room for Fivio to wax poetic quips about his rise, reflecting on his career with lines like “I got rich off saying ay / That was just something I happened to say,” in reference to his now-iconic ad libs. “I went viral for rapping with Ye,” he attests on “On God.”

Although not heard anywhere on the song, Ye is just as present on the tribute track “Through The Fire.” Fivi raps with conviction, saying “Ye did through the wire, this through the fire” as he channels Kanye’s iconic early hit. Quavo joins in for a surprisingly soulful melodic verse over innovative gospel-drill hybrid production. Quavo returns on “Magic City” — the project’s first proper turn-up track named after Atlanta’s favorite strip club.

Next is the album’s lead single “City of Gods” — a black-and-white masterpiece and instant New York anthem. Everything about it is brilliantly executed: from Alicia Keys’ knockout vocal performance to the tasteful, hugely dynamic drill-forward production, to Fivio and Ye’s beautifully integrated and impressively thoughtful verses. While Ye uses his verse to drop some eyebrow-raising bombs, Fivio paints a refreshingly accurate picture of New York — outlining the dangerous games of high-speed chases, pocket watching females, calling out the city’s most popular signature dances on the chorus — “Milly Rock, Shmoney Dance, Woo Walk!” — -and acknowledging Pop Smoke as the true king of New York.

For “What’s My Name,” Fivi enlists two emerging female artists in Coi Leray and Queen Naija for the drill-infused take on Destiny’s Child’s R&B classic. He later revealed on Hot97 that the track had to be severely cleaned up in order to get Beyonce’s blessing for the sample clearance.

For Nothin” sees Fivio flying solo for the time on the LP, as he delivers a patented Foreign verse over a highly polished, mellow drill beat. It also comes with the first visual from the project (outside of “City of Gods”) directed by longtime visual staple, JLShotThat – who’s been with Fivio since “Big Drip” and has directed many of the biggest NY drill music videos ever (Pop Smoke’s “Dior” and Lil Tjay’s “Not in the Mood”).

Fivi dips back into his R&B bag for “Hello” featuring an unorthodox and captivating one-word hook from KayCyy’s and a rap-sung verse from rising popstar Chlöe. Combined with Fivio’s uncharacteristically gentle verses about courting a potential partner (with his favorite pickup line: “Baby you viral”), this is easily one of the mellowest tracks yet — still managing to tastefully incorporate some classic drill sounds throughout.

On “Confidence,” A$AP Rocky joins Fivio to turn up the volume and debut what feels like a new flow as they bond over their favorite personality trait. In the B.I.B.L.E. documentary, fans get to experience Rocky’s verse for the first time alongside Fivio as the room erupts in response to his “A$AP Rocky starter-kit” bar.

Not to be outdone, Lil Yachty enters the chat to bring the house down with “Slime Them.” Over a frighteningly hard-hitting spooky drill beat produced by AyoAA, Fivi and Boat are in full-demon mode as they trade punchy, savage bars seamlessly. Creating an absolutely electric atmosphere with its wildly dynamic arrangement, “Slime Them” might be the most successful song on the project to tap into that same lightning-in-a-bottle energy as those iconic early Fivio records like “Big Drip” and “Wetty.”

Changing gears once more for the LP’s second solo-track “Feel My Struggle,” he makes sure listeners do just that — recounting the close calls and triumphs that resulted from being “young, dumb and unfearful” over swirling, cinematic production by NYC drill-staple and longtime Fivio collaborator, AXL.

On “World Watching,” Fivio taps into the popular trend of interpolating unsuspecting pop classics into genre-bended drill bangers — with J Perry masterfully flipping a virtually locked sample of Ellie Goulding’s “Lights.” The track features melodic powerhouses in Lil Tjay and Bleu, who basically switch roles as Tjay fully sings the chorus while Bleu surprisingly slides with a melodic rap verse.

Up next is “Changed On Me,” where listeners are taken to new heights with the mesmerizing vocals of another DONDA standout Vory — who slyly references Fivio’s gamechanging appearance on Donda, rapping I been on and off the grid.” They’re also joined by new-school Chicago legend Polo G – who mirrors Fivi’s verse and builds the track by detailing the changes he had to make to level-up to where he is today.

One of the most-jawdropping moments comes on the Blueface-assisted “Left Side,” where fans hear the closest thing to a singing Fivio they’ve ever heard before. Delivering what is arguably the most singable hook on the entire project, it’s definitely a pleasant surprise to see two of the most slick-talking guys in the game come together for a groovy, borderline-R&B banger — bonding over their love for the placement of their bandanas rather than a girl.

Another definite standout moment comes on “Love Songs” where Fivio goes full-on R&B for the second time — not only sampling Ne-Yo’s iconic hit “So Sick,” but even including the legendary yet underappreciated singer-songwriter on the record.

Tying a bow on B.I.B.L.E., Fivi reaches back into his bag of tricks to pull out an unexpectedly touching finale — sampling DMX’s iconic track “Slippin” in tribute for the one-year anniversary of his passing. I been drippin and ballin I can’t give up. No I ain’t slippin or fallin that can’t be us,” he raps over the song’s classic interpolation.

During one of the only times fans have heard Fivio without a hint of drill, he takes this opportunity to reflect on his journey and address some of the unanswered questions on everyone’s mind. He hints at some of his lost friendships with the line: “I know they mad over the gram. I’m mad that I ever gave you a chance.”

He also acknowledges seeing his career flash before his eyes after his clunky and, for many people, disappointing arrest last year: “I coulda lost it all when a n***a got arrested.” Finally, he reflects on the impossible odds he overcame to pick up where Pop Smoke left off: “Lightning never strikes in the same spot twice… They said I couldn’t do it, then I did.”

Final Thoughts

Where lightning strikes twice, succcess seems to follow, as the early consensus on B.I.B.L.E. is overwhelmingly positive — with fans pleasantly surprised by the growth and maturity displayed throughout the record. Fivio profoundly explores themes of loss, loyalty, triumph and faith — and throughout the project, the classic sounds of NYC drill have been stretched and applied in interesting new ways that will help carry B.I.B.L.E. far beyond the five boroughs.

Remaining true to the spirit of the genre, Fivio Foreign is drill’s bonafide superstar figure — and really the only person who could have carried the crown of New York in this manner. While there were surely doubts raised along the way, Ye’s backing proved to be the missing ingredient needed for Fivi to fully dive into destiny. As everyone will be singing along to “City of Gods” for years to come, Fivio will be there to assure that no one forgets where it all started: in the trenches of Brooklyn. Bow!

Listen to Fivio Foreign’s debut album ‘B.I.B.L.E.’ below!