B.I.B.L.E. – Fivio Foreign


On his long-awaited debut album B.I.B.L.E., Fivio Foreign bridges the gap between New York drill and the mainstream. After Pop Smoke brought global attention to the scene, Fivio Foreign has quickly emerged as the face of the city with his cold flows and aggressive ad-libs. Within three short years, he’s cultivated his sound in a surprisingly introspective and personal way. Featuring together with artists like Kanye, Drake, and Alicia Keys, he’s shifted both lyrical content and sound towards something more radio-friendly that still captures the essence of NY drill. Fivio’s marathon guest verse on Kanye’s “Off The Grid” was immediately praised as one of the year’s best as he reflected on his incarceration, religion, and come-up in the music scene. Even Fivio was a little surprised by the reception and noted that adding more substance to his music was something he didn’t know fans wanted. Within a few weeks, he released “Story Time” and “Squeeze”, two of his most impressive songs that flexed his lyrical abilities. Growth has been a key aspect of Fivio’s evolution in the past few years and B.I.B.L.E. takes that tonal shift to newer heights.

B.I.B.L.E takes its namesake from the Killah Priest song and though the overall sound is starkly different, the overarching religious themes drive the album. Fivio is far more introspective than usual as he contemplates his struggles and growth under God. It’s clear how the Kanye influence has changed his approach to sequencing albums. Mixing together drill beats, pop-rap hits, and R&B crossovers, Fivio showcases a lot more depth as an artist that feels reminiscent of Pop Smoke’s short but explosive career. A lot of B.I.B.L.E. tests Fivio’s R&B crossover appeal on songs like “What’s My Name”, “Hello”, and the catchy “Love Songs” where Ne-Yo remixes his own hook. While the love songs don’t always work as well as it did with Pop Smoke, it gives Fivio another dimension rather than sticking with NY drill all the way through. Alongside his natural charisma, B.I.B.L.E. sees Fivio at his most comfortable and it finally feels like he’s becoming his own artist.

The production and beat selection on B.I.B.L.E. has vastly improved since his original mixtape 800 BC. Executive produced by Kanye and mixed by Mike Dean, the album’s production is tight and each song carries its individual weight. The sample flips of Ellie Goulding on “World Watching”, Chaka Khan on “Through the Fire”, and Destiny’s Child on “Say My Name” give B.I.B.L.E. that pop edge that makes his sound more accessible. That said, NY drill still remains the forefront of the album with some incredible moments from guest features like Lil Yachty on “Slime Them” or the Vory/Polo G duo on “Changed on Me”. Despite the sheer number of features, Fivio never seems to get outshined and his contemplations are far more compelling with his storytelling skills. Retaining his signature “bow” and “ayy” ad-libs together with his penchant for strong hooks, Fivio’s tonal shift nevertheless feels familiar for him.

There are moments of weakness throughout B.I.B.L.E. and the most apparent one is the inevitable result of having so many features littered throughout. Plenty of questionable guest appearances don’t add much to the context of the album despite some surprising performances. Quavo has got to be the most boring rap feature today as he still copy-pastes his 2017 flow on two separate features on the album. Yung Bleu’s verse is utterly forgettable like the rest of his discography and does anyone really need to give DJ Khaled his own interlude? Thankfully, Fivio still manages to keep things interesting throughout the 17 different songs in spite of a few duds. There were definitely a few songs that could’ve been left out but all in all, there’s more than enough bangers to make up for it. There’s still plenty of time for Fivio to develop his sound and it’s exciting to see him headed in the right direction. On B.I.B.L.E., Fivio Foreign eases into his role as the face of NY drill and bridges its gap to the mainstream.

Must Listens: City of Gods, Slime Them, Changed on Me


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I turned my incoherent ramblings on music, anime, and video games into an entire blog.

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