Fivio Foreign details witnessing the meteoric rise and fall of Bobby Shmurda & GS9, and discusses being People's Champ vs. King Of New York on the latest episode of "On The Come Up."
We just kicked off the latest season of On The Come Up with D Smoke last week and today, we’re back with Fivio Foreign for the second virtual episode. The Brooklyn drill rapper dominated the top of the year after “Big Drip” exploded, further propelling the regional sounds into the limelight, following the likes of the late Pop Smoke. The song went viral, sparking TikTok challenges and memes across the web.
800 BC, his major-label debut EP, was filled with records that either had leaked or were out already. For anyone who wasn't already familiar with him however, it served as a sleek introduction with eight songs and appearances from Meek Mill, Lil Baby, and Quavo. Just weeks later, the heavily teased collaboration with Drake was released on Dark Lane Demo Tapes. “I didn’t even really know he was in tune like that,” he told us about “Demons.”
In a matter of months, he had nabbed collaborations with some of the biggest artists in the game but it wasn’t until recently that he received a nod from God’s Son himself, Nas. The rapper, alongside A$AP Ferg, closed out Nas’ latest body of work, King’s Disease, on “Spicy.” However as he reveals, that's not the only collaboration he has with Nasir in the stash.
“I be surprised, bro. I go to the studio, I go back home, I do a video, I’ll go be with my friends. I don’t really know how far this shit go,” Fivio says of his reactions to the recognition.
Watch the latest episode of On The Come Up or read the unabridged version below.
HNHH: Who is Fivio Foreign?
FF: Fivio Foreign is your average kid,turned to man, from Brooklyn, New York, who likes to have fun. Who likes to party. Who dislikes anybody who dislikes him. Who likes everybody who loves him. I’m easy-going. I mean, I ain’t too difficult to deal with. I mean, my shit is good. I think about, ‘I love people, I hate people.’
What was playing in the house growing up?
As a kid, growing up, my moms only played Gospel music. My aunts, they played a whole bunch of Ginuwine and Usher and shit like that. I was listening to shit like 50 Cent, Chief Keef. I was a heavy Chief Keef fan. The whole Chicago movement. That’s where I would get -- not my style but my type of music. I get it from listening to 50 Cent and Chief Keef.A lot of Durk.
Yeah, that was it. I was listening to shit like that. My sister was listening to shit like Jay-Z. She listened to a lot of Jay-Z, a lot of Nas. Biggie, shit like that. I was hearing all that type of music, so I might sound all that type of shit.
What were you into as a kid?
I was never really in love with music. I was into basketball. I thought I was going to be in the NBA. I was in love with basketball OD. I liked girls a lot. As a kid, I used to love bitches, you feel me? So my thing was like, always trying to like, probably get fly for the bitches. I never really tried to impress n*****.
Other passions was like, I don’t know, probably...I didn’t really care about clothes that much...I don’t know. I just like to have fun. I like to have fun all the time. I just like to have fun. Whatever was happening, if it was fun, I did it.
You shared a photo of yourself and the mother of your child when you lived at a homeless shelter. How did that experience shape who you are today?
Yeah, it made me appreciate, like at the time, it wasn’t really about nothing. At the time, it didn’t mean as much as it means now, to me. Time was like, whatever. I know we were together, like I’m not looking out like, ‘Dang, you believe in me,’ like, you feel me? Because we were both trying. But now, seeing the way how the other people wasn’t fucking with me and seeing the way they fucking with me now, made me appreciate her. I feel like she deserves way more than anybody in my life.
"I heard about [50 Cent] the second time he got signed or whatever, after the shooting. I guess I fell in love with the story. Got shot nine times and all that, you know what I mean? As a young n****, you always wanna be outside. You always want to be gangster. You always want to be tough. We was infatuated with these types of things, not knowing [it] is a reality."
Talk to me about the first time you heard 50 Cent and Chief Keef.
The first time I heard about 50 Cent, I ain’t, like— you know he came out twice, like he came out once, then he got shot, and then got dropped by the label and picked up again by somebody else. I heard about him the second time he got signed or whatever, after the shooting. I guess I fell in love with the story. Got shot nine times and all that, you know what I mean? As a young n****, you always wanna be outside. You always want to be gangster. You always want to be tough. We was infatuated with these types of things not knowing this is a reality. As I got older, I started to see, like, ‘Damn, that shit real.’ Like, I’m about tired of getting shot at. So, I heard “In Da Club.” I think that was the first time I heard some shit like that, but I guess he was dropping wild mixtapes, mad mixtapes, making music. I was listening to all that shit. And then I was like, I like the n***** story, you know? It reminds me of myself, and it reminds me a lot about everybody I know. Something I can really, really relate to. The person that I see. Like, me and the people I was around, I could see that...boom. So, that was that.
The first time I seen Chief Keef, he had a song with Lil Reese, “Don’t Like.” And he was wildin’ and he was in the crib and it reminded me, again, of me and my life and me and my n*****. I feel like, me, as a person, I fall in love with the people that remind me of me and my n***** and my life the most.
I try to always be the same person I am because I know how people are. Like, people fuck with you, like -- it ain’t really about the music too much. The music is like, whatever, it’s fire, too, but I feel like it’s more about the person. You fall in love with the person. I know like, people love me for being wild. Going crazy. N***** don’t like me, I go crazy on ‘em, you feel me? Talking about drugs and shit, but I’m really turning down Percs and shit. I haven’t really been fucking with the Percs like that.
The crazy part about it, right? You start to lose your fanbase. Well, I think. I like underground rappers. I like rappers that didn’t make it yet because they still got that pain. They still talkin’ that pain and shit. So I like shit like that and I feel like I start to go away from them when they start to change their content in their music. But I understand now because at a point you get to in life, you get like, ‘There’s more to life,’ right? I just ain’t know that. I just ain’t know what the fuck they were talking about. Now I know, life is about growth. But I still try to talk that shit. But I still send messages in my music, like, ‘Think positive going forward,’ ‘cause ain’t no way, like— see I got plaques and shit. Like, it’s unrealistic for me to be like, doing anything else but working, right? I’m working it, I’m still me— I still get mad. I still go viral. But I’m just focused more on business and money.
How do you balance maintaining your authenticity while still being positioned for commercial success?
I’m still going through shit, you know what I mean? I ain’t really get to the point with my shit where my life is, like, good. Even though I got a song with Drake, I’m still going through it. Like, I’m still connected through another connection, through another connection. Connected to somebody or something that’s gonna bring around some type of evil. Some type of bad shit. So, I still go through these types of things. I’m not out of it. N***as still trying to rob me and shit, try to kill me, so I’m still in it. Not in it, but it’s still around me, you feel me? I’m just focused. I don’t know when I’ll get to that level when it’s not around no more, then I could start to figure out how the fuck I’m gonna connect back. But I’m always going to connect, because I’m always going to have memories. I’m always going to have thoughts… It's like a PTSD thing. You just go through it; it’s in my dreams. It’s never gone. It never leaves. It’s like a veteran who’s been in a war. It doesn't matter, he could have been out of the war for 20 years, and he’s still gonna tell war stories. He’s still gonna be paranoid, you know what I mean? That’s just how it is. You always connected like that.
"Even though I got a song with Drake, I’m still going through it. Like, I’m still connected through another connection, through another connection. Connected to somebody or something that’s gonna bring around some type of evil."
What’s the importance of being The People’s Champ rather than being titled the King Of New York?
The whole King Of New York shit is like, I don’t know. It don’t matter. The only thing I need is I need my money. I need my fanbase, I need my fans and my supporters to still be fans and supporters. So I care what they—like, the people that love me, I care about them. Whoever catches on they can catch on whenever they catch on. Hopefully, it ain’t too late, but everybody else… I just, I’m the people’s champ, like I do it for the people. Like, the people really love me, you know what I mean? Most of my fanbase is New York. So I feel like, what’s understood ain’t really gotta be explained. I fuck with everybody, I fuck with everybody from New York.
Who were local rappers from your area that influenced you?
A local rapper that influenced me... That’d be like a GS9. Like a Bobby Shmurda or Rowdy Rebel, you get what I’m saying? They gave me the knowledge that it is possible for me. You know, we all thinkin’ like, ‘It’s possible. N***a gets signed, then they go viral, and they get money from music.’ They made it so close, and so realistic, like, these n***as that, you know, n***** I see every day. So, to see that, to that, gave a n***a like me the drive. I still try to do the same thing; I try to give people the drive, you know what I mean? I came from nothing. Like, people always felt like I was nice, I’m a humble n****. So, you a humble n****, people love humble n*****, so I got a lot of support off the rip. My shit was fire. There’s a lot of n***** that’s fire, but that shit don’t happen every day. Shit don’t really happen. I ain’t gonna lie, if it wasn’t for this music shit, at that point in my life, when it was just going really downhill. Like I didn’t really have nowhere to be at. A lot of beef. More n***as wanna kill me now because I’m hotter, though, n***** wanted to kill me then, too. I don’t really know where I would be at, I ain’t gon’ lie, if it wasn’t for this shit. It saved everything. Like, it saved my relationship with my kids. It just saved everything. And it’s not really the fame. It’s more so the success, the money. The money made it possible for me to move around how I need to move around. At a point in life when I was gettin’ too known, like a known n***a that the ops want to kill. But God is good.
Image by Andre Perry, provided by the label
What was the energy like in your neighborhood when Bobby Shmurda blew up?
Yeah, they definitely was hometeam. I remember before “Hot N****” came out, “Shmoney Dance” came out. And it was, to me, it was fire. Like, ‘Oh shit,’ cause it was a new dance, and that shit ain’t really happen in a while, since, like, “Milly Rock” at that time. So I’m like, ‘Alright,’ boom boom, the “Milly Rock” shit was out dadadadada. Time passed and GS9 did the “Shmoney Dance.” I remember showing people, like, my family in different hoods like, ‘Yo, what do you think about this shit?’ I’m showing it to people on YouTube because it had just come out. I don’t really think it got that lit yet. Like, the first day it came out, I was showing people, like, ‘Yo, that shit fire.’ I was curious, ‘cause my likes may be biased ‘cause I know them. But I wanted to know what people who don’t know him, like, how they look at the video and feel. I watched it happen 0 to 100. I watched it happen so I knew it was possible for me. I believed that shit so hard, I knew that shit was possible. The energy, it was lit, like, all the bitches was coming to 9. Everybody was turnt— it was crazy. It was lit. It was a party every night. And then when they got locked up, I watched the whole shit switch. Like, I watched the whole thing, go from 100 back to zero. Nobody came back over.
What was the energy like on the block after they were arrested?
I mean, n***as was hurt. N***as lost all hope. First, n***** was thinkin’, like, I ain’t gon lie, n***as ain’t never really been through no shit like that, you know what I mean? N***as are thinking like, ‘Shit ain’t really be happening.’ Like ‘he ain’t do nothing. N**** coming home.’ Time went past, and shit started to get real. Like, ‘Oh shit,’ So, it just woke everybody up. It put everybody’s head above water. It made everybody on point. How to move smarter, move differently. Shit like that. Focus on the bag. Focus on money, you know what I mean? That’s the only thing that matters. Nothing else matters, nobody else matters. It smartened n***as up.
Talk about your early rap style when you first started off?
You see, some rappers are rappers that rap one way, right, for the rest of their life. And I don’t think that really goes nowhere, you know what I mean? You gotta be able to change with the times, just like your drip. Everything changes— you change with the times. Like, you being part of a situation. Shit, I used to wear all types of different drip. I wear different drip now. I used to rap different— those was the time, so I used to rap like that. Now I rap different. I mean, I rap like the times. I feel like when I did it, I did it the best. Like, when Rocawear was in, I was heavy on the Rocawear. Going viral with the Rocawear, you get me? Going viral.Amiriis in, I’m going viral on the Amiri. Drill rapping in, I’m going viral on the drill rapping. Whatever was rap back then, I’m rolling with that, you know what I mean?
“Blicky Inna Box,” “Gimme Dat” and Pain & Love EP were what started bubbling before “Big Drip” took off. Talk to me about those songs.
When I did that, “Blicky Inna Box” was my first million views. People tellin’ me, ‘that shit was fire, man.’ Shout out my man Jay Dee. He really put on as far as this music ‘cause he had views and shit. He was like a good n***a that loved me, so he never really wanted too much from me, just wanted to chill. I took a him in as a n***a that I love. I took him into my heart. We did songs together. We already had the views. I just needed to be seen by the people. So they saw me, fell in love with me and then after that, I just started to keep going viral. I was going to places where n***as was telling me, ‘Don’t go,’ like, I was doing that shit. I was having video shoots when n***as was like, ‘N***** better not shoot a video here or we’re gonna shoot the shit up.’ But that never happened. But it made a lot of people not come to gigs. I was going to Brownsville going viral. I didn’t even care.
How has it felt listening to Pop Smoke’s posthumous album?
Basically, like, love live Pop. That’s my guy. That’s hometeam. That’s family. We’re keeping his name alive. The album? Fire. It did was it was supposed to do. It went #1. That shit fire. That shit went viral. That’s my dawg, for real.
Is your debut album The Bible dropping this year?
Yeah, facts. This year, album is gonna be crazy. I mean, the album is called The Bible. I feel like it’s an appropriate name because, right now, with the whole drill culture and everything that’s going on, a whole new wave is getting ushered in, like, new world order. Like, it’s just different. What the bible is, right, whether you believe in God or not, whatever you believe in — the bible is this. The bible is stories. It’s stories that you read, and you learn from these stories. Just like when an oldhead tells you stories. Tell you all about his back-in-the-day stories so you can learn and you can be like, ‘Oh, yeah, I know how n***** is.’ So you going to war, you know how to move because of these stories. So the bible is stories you read. Interpret in your own life, and compare to your life. Then you use those stories to know how to move with people and things and how shit is. Like snakes, and all these little thingscome from the bible. In life sayings, whether n***** saying they believe in the bible or not, you believe in the sayings that the shit is saying. Like these snakes and the certain shit that happened, like Goliath and the giant. So that’s what I feel like my album is gonna be. Teaching people how to move. The stories that I’m tellin’, you know what I mean? New world, shit like that.
What can you tell us about The Bible?
I’m heavy on my drill wave, my drill wave going, my drill wave and my mainstream shit. I got a couple features, think it’s supposed to be like 19, 20 songs... I don’t know. I’m trying to go viral and give ‘em a lot of songs, so I was doing a lot. I was working a lot.
How far along are you?
Yeah, it’s done but I’m still tweaking it. Still waiting for certain features to come back. It’s all surprises, you gon’ be surprised. You gon’ go crazy. ‘N***a, Fivi went crazy.’ That’s what I want people to say. Like, I want a chance to show people my talent, show my feelings, and my creativity, and certain shit like that.
What will this offer that 800 BC didn’t?
I feel like the 800 BC was the songs that were already out. Shit that was already leaked. I’d get it out to get the world to have the music out there, you know what I mean? So, going straight from EP to album, which nobody really do. I mean, people always like drop a bunch of mixtapes first. I might drop this album, right? I’ma go viral, right? And I’ma start some new shit. The difference between the two is with The Bible, I’m more mature with my music. I’m more in tune with the message I’m sending out. I’m more direct with the things I’m saying. It’s more of a good sound, a better sound to it.
How many bottles of Hennessy did you and Nas dust off in your studio session?
You know what’s crazy? We didn’t even drink no Henny that night. That shit was so crazy because I didn’t even know he was there. And I don’t think he knew I was there. But we went to the same studio in L.A. and n***** was like, ‘Yo, Nas in the other room,’ and I’m like, ‘What? Nas is in the other room? Nas ain’t in the other room.’ I didn’t even think he was on some studio shit. I’m like, ‘Nas ain’t in no studio,’ but my boy was like, ‘You wanna go meet him?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, let me go meet Nas.’’ So, I went over there to the studio like, ‘Wow, whaddup bro,’ met him, I was like ‘Yo bro, you’re a legend.’ He’s like, ‘Yo, bro, I like what you doin’. You comin’ up.’ He’s like, ‘Yo, I got this shit for you.’ I said, ‘Let me hear it.’ That shit took me 15 minutes... He sent it to me. I went to my studio, back in my studio, did the shit 15 minutes. Then I did another song. So now, I got two songs with Nas.
We only met once, and that one time was all I needed— magic. I fuck with Nas. Big bro. He’s like one of my uncles or something. He’s got that old soul.
Is the other collaboration on your album?
I don’t know yet. I think both songs was his songs. Or somebody else hit me. I don’t know. See, my shit, I be moving so fast, my shit be like, I’m doing a thousand things a minute. I’m moving a thousand miles a second. Like, I’m doing this. I stopped for half an hour, an hour to do this Zoom shit, but even in the COVID, sometimes, like I’m doing a song, I think I did like five songs that day, like two other features. I just be getting work done. I don’t ask no questions, I talk that shit. My shit is different, you know what I mean?
What’s the creative process for you?
My shit is just, my shit is off the...I go into the studio. I take what I gotta take. Smoke what I gotta smoke. Drink what I gotta drink. And I hear a beat, the beat starts talking to me, I start talking back to it. I like what it’s saying, and then I listen to it. I get my little opinions from whoever’s in the room, ‘This shit fire,’ you know? Then I go back and change shit — anyone who goes to the studio with me, they know that shit’s crazy.
Who do you have in the studio with you?
I don’t really have a go-to, like, whoever’s there, I go for. That’s why I make different types of songs, cause if I’m around a different type of people, I make a different type of song. I got all types of shit, I got singing shit. It’s just whatever I’m around, you know? I thrive off the energy. I thrive off other people’s energy. I always need good energy.
Johnny Nunez/WireImage/Getty Images
How do you feel now that the world gets to hear the Drake collab in full?
Fire. I’m just like, ‘Damn.’ Like, I feel blessed. Thankful I got the song with Drake. Go viral made it go up more. Drake is the GOAT. Drake will always have his fanbase. His fanbase is official.
What was it like hearing him compare you and Sosa to KD and Kyrie?
That’s a big deal. I didn’t even really know he was in tune like that. Like, I be still surprised, like, Nas told me...I don’t know. I be surprised, bro. I go to the studio, I go back home, I do a video, I’ll go be with my friends. I don’t really know how far this shit go. I do a show. I go here and there. I know n***** will come out every time I do a show in the state. I’m like, ‘Damn, n***** know the words.’ Like, that shit’s still unreal to me. Like, I be in the crib. I’m just one of those, like, you know those n***** that go to work then come home, and that’s it? I’m one of those n*****. My lifestyle is like a party. I call it work. I feel like it’s work. My lifestyle is work so I treat it like it’s work. So, you might think, ‘Oh, you go partying and you party, go outside and party,’ but, it’s not a party. It’s like somebody who works in a club— if you goin’ to the club every day, they’re not really partying. To me, it’s not a party.
Talk to me about your ad-libs and the appropriate occasion for them to be used.
When something happened that’s viral? You be like, movie. You could say movie is like, ‘Hello.’ It’s like, ‘Thank you.’ ‘You look nice.’ ‘Oh, movie,’ you know what I mean? Somebody gives you something that you want, you go, ‘Oh, movie,’ you know what I mean? So, movie and viral are synonyms. They mean the same thing. Movie means viral, viral means movie, you can use it in any way you want. You can look like a movie. You can go movie. You can go viral.
What’s the plan for the rest of 2020?
The plan for 2020… I’m just going to keep trying to go viral. Right now, I’m isolated, I’m in album mode, I’m just trying to focus on the album right now. When the album comes out, you just gon’ see. It’s gon’ be perfect.