Rashad’s Records: Fivio Foreign breaks through on debut album ‘B.I.B.L.E’

B.I.B.L.E.+debuted+April+8.

Photo by Lily Werner (elizabeth.werner@marquette.edu)

“B.I.B.L.E.” debuted April 8.

It was hard to judge the future of New York rapper Fivio Foreign when he started gaining relevancy in 2020.  While he was featured on songs like “Demons” with Drake, and on multiple songs with his close friend, the late Pop Smoke, Fivio didn’t have a definitive album to showcase his talents on his own. But when critics heard his verse on “Off The Grid,” a track off of Kanye West’s 2021 album “Donda,” they were impressed with what Fivio had to offer with his performance on the lengthy verse. Pitchfork even went as far to say that Fivio owned the track.”

The popular collaboration only created more hype to Fivio’s first album. Finally, after guest appearances for artists like King Von and Roddy Ricch, the rising New York rapper’s debut project arrived April 8.

With executive production from Kanye West, “B.I.B.L.E” (which means “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth”) is Fivio’s “I’m here” moment after the attention he garnered from his Donda feature. On the intro track, “On God,” he oozes confidence as he demonstrates what he’s been able to do with his rising career.

I’m a self-made it, huh, Grammy nominated / Opps know I’m not to play with, n**** how I’m not your favorite?” rhymed the 32-year-old.

Something I noticed from Fivio is how much he’s grown as a lyricist since 2020. On social media, there was a running joke where people said Fiviorapped in bullet points,” in reference to how his flow is filled with one liners and short sentences.

However, this album displays his rapping ability to the fullest. We see it on tracks like “Confidence” with A$AP Rocky, where compared to his flow from two years ago, it seems like I’m listening to two different people.

“N****, my body different, my body on go mode / We spinnin’ the whole floor / Should’ve seen we shootin’ through both doors/ You either win or you lose, there ain’t no draw,” Fivio rapped.

Along with the improvement on Fivio’s lyricism, another highlight on the album is the great quality of production, which likely comes from the help from Kanye West as the executive producer. There’s a popular trend with New York drill rappers where they sample old pop and R&B songs. Recently Lil Tjay did it with his song, “In My Head,” which samples the 2009 hit single, “Replay” by Iyaz.

Fivio went all out with that trend, as his album sees him sample Say My Name by Destiny’s Child, “Lights” by Ellie Goulding, and “So Sick” by Ne-Yo. The latter sample had Ne-Yo featured on Fivio’s song, “Love Songs.” Turning an Ellie Goulding song into a drill song sounds insane at first, but Fivio makes it work by putting his own touches to the sample on the song “World Watching,” with Lil Tjay and Yung Bleu.

The production throughout “B.I.B.L.E” has small similarities due to the drill beats, but the songs all sound different from one another, which makes it an easy listen. You got the love songs, the high energy drill songs and the more soothing tracks on the project – different things for different people to enjoy.

Fivio brought out the stars when it came to features for this project. Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Lil Yachty, Queen Naija and Quavo are only a few who join Fivio on this album. Only four of 17 songs don’t have a feature. While it definitely felt feature heavy, debut projects are of course going to have a lot of guest appearances, especially for a rising star like Fivio.

A song that could have been left off completely is “B.I.B.L.E Talk,” featured DJ Khaled. Considering the track is literally just Fivio and Khaled talking with no actual rapping, this really could have been replaced with a whole other song. It just felt like a random filler track that really had no meaning to the project.

The King of New York debate has been prominent in the last couple years with New York artists like A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Lil Tjay and Pop Smoke making big splashes in the rap scene. Although he did jump in the rap scene late and at an older age, Fivio Foreign has shown why he’s one of the bright stars out of the Big Apple. And while it took a minute to get here, his debut album has surely given us a reason not to sleep on Fivio Foreign.

I rate Fivio Foreign’s “B.I.B.L.E” an 8.5 out of 10. My favorite songs were “Love Songs” featuring Ne-Yo, “Changed On Me” featuring Vory and Polo G and “What’s My Name” featuring Queen Naija and Coi Leray. 

This story was written by Rashad Alexander. He can be reached out at rashad.alexander@marquette.edu.