Fivio Foreign’s hounding delivery will give you pause. The 24-year-old Brooklyn drill artist, known best for his hit “Big Drip,” currently sitting at 26 million plays on YouTube alone, is an emblem of New York hip-hop culture. His 2019 EP, Pain and Love, boasted four hard-hitting songs, each with their own punchy flair and personality. While BK drill is a thriving genre—we have 22Gz, Sheff G, the late Pop Smoke, and more—Fivio Foreign sets himself apart by spitting with unmatched zeal and loose personality.
“I make music based on what we go through,” Fivio Foreign tells me over the phone. “All my songs [are] based on a true story.” And the stories Fivio tells range from harrowing to party-filled. The man has always been viral, which he defines as being himself and having a good time. Before music, Fivio was just mucking about in his neighborhood—now, it feels like music is a central outlet for his life and experiences.
Fivio’s newest offering, 800 BC, his major-label debut project on Columbia, amplifies the intensity of Pain and Love. With features from Lil Tjay, Meek Mill, and, of course, the “Big Drip” remix featuring Quavo and Lil Baby, Fivio Foreign storms the gates. Opener “Drive By” canters and moves with ferocity. Even the more mellow “Issa Vibe” has Fivio in a particularly nasty bag, his energy on high despite the lax mood of the instrumental. If Pain and Love and “Big Drip” established Fivio as an artist to watch, 800 BC sets him up as an artist with staying power. “Big Drip” was no fluke—Fivio is just this good. His consistency and natural effortlessness on 800 BC proves him to be a rap staple.
“Fivi, it’s natural,” he spits on his latest hit, “Wetty.” With 800 BC, it certainly is easy to fall in love with the rapper. Fivio’s swagger is infectious, his charisma even more so. “I was always viral, but before anybody knew I was viral, I was probably doing regular shit in the hood,” he tells me, before adding a note on how he gets his personality onto wax: “It’s natural! I don’t wanna say I don’t try, but I don’t be... Going viral is what I do.”
We have to admire the gumption Fivio Foreign brings to the table. “I don’t even feel like a rapper,” he told Complex. Yet, the ease of rap is in everything Fivio does. On the Meek Mill-assisted “Demons & Goblins,” he stretches his vocal, imbuing his delivery with more menace. He demands the money, the accolades, and reminds us of all the dead men walking in his sights. Even at his most haunting, the chilling rapper sounds somehow floaty. His bars are hard, the delivery punchy, but at the same time, Fivio skates over the production. Everything he touches turns to ice in the best way possible. Each beat is his rink. Fivio Foreign feels like a star every time he graces the mic.
“I don’t feel no pressure, because it’s just me,” Fivio says when I ask him if he feels a weight following the success of “Big Drip” and, more recently, “Wetty.” “This is how I do, and they like how I do it, so I’mma just keep doing it how I do it. I’mma try my best and go viral.”
Before I can get to my next question, Fivio has one for me: “You think the mixtape is… You think those songs are keeping up with the expectation of me?” Of course, I tell him. 800 BC is not only the ideal follow-up to Fivio’s momentum with “Big Drip” and the remix, but it is a stellar showcase of his talents as a real rapper’s rapper. Fivio declares himself a different type of artist on “Demons & Goblins.” With supreme confidence in his chest, it’s hard to argue with the man.
During our talk, you can hear Fivio’s family in the background, conversations fly by, and suddenly, the “Big Drip” artist dubbed the “new vanguard” of drill by The Face, becomes human. “At the end of the day, that’s just the title they put on me,” Fivio says of The Face’s proclamation. The man who feels larger than life on the record becomes a regular guy living with his family, making rapper money, and supporting those he loves. It’s a humble moment, hearing Fivio’s daughter call for her father’s attention. His ballooning charisma settles, his voice lowers, “That’s my daughter,” he explains of the interruption in our call.
We get on the topic of my favorite songs off the mixtape, again. I tell Fivio I love the opener, “Drive By,” how he declares his whole life a mission. In today’s age, where you can feel the difference between an artist chasing a check, a hit, and a career, Fivio Foreign sounds like a rapper placed squarely in the third category, with category two coming naturally, and category one being a lovely byproduct of the latter two. “The mission is get rich or die tryin’!” Fivio announces, focus restored.
As the scene behind Fivio settles, I ask him about the loss of Pop Smoke. His voice lowers again, his natural jokester nature replaced with a serious air. “That’s somebody I was real close with—that’s home team,” Fivio says. “It hurt the whole city. Everybody felt that shit. That shit just made everybody wanna go harder, and take care of your brothers. Show ‘em you love ‘em while you here.”
Returning to The Face, they dubbed Fivio Foreign the “new vanguard” of Brooklyn drill in light of Pop Smoke’s passing. Though Fivi’s heart is heavy, he continues talking as I cite a line from the interview wherein Fivio tells The Face, “I love the pain that I went through because it made me who I am.” How did you get to a place of peace with your demons? I ask Fivio. The question turns him into a sage. Voice unwavering, he explains:
“It just ‘came so regular. It’s like with anything you do, any pain you go through, you gon’ get used to the pain. Shit gets numb after a while. You keep hitting the same spot. Right now, it’s not that I’m at peace with these demons, I’m just used to them. We not scared of the same things we were scared of as kids. We conquer our fears. I conquered my fears—right now, I don’t got no fears.”
As suddenly as Fivio Foreign humanized himself with his daughter, he just as quickly becomes an iconic figure with his answer. Things click for me, then, as Fivio explains, he is fearless. That’s the key to Fivio’s music, his energy, his lack of persona—the spirit of fearlessness. Fivio Foreign is no ordinary rapper coming out of New York, he is a conqueror of sorts—of the charts, of our attention, of his circumstances. You hear it all over 800 BC when Fivio and Lil Tjay talk about bodies dropping and demons on “Ambition.” As the keys cascade on “Drive By,” and the drums become more pronounced; there’s no reason not to believe that’s Fivio’s pulse driving the beat.
As our conversation comes to a close, I ask Fivio how he would describe himself to someone who had never heard his music before. He mulls it over, before telling me: “I’m not gon’ tell you how you gon’ feel about my music, but I know for a fact you gon’ feel something. There’s entertainers that you hear their music, you like, ‘Ugh, no comment.’ You gon’ comment on this. You gon’ wanna say something about this—whether good or bad—it requires a response. It’s gon’ be a movement.”
Though he’s not one for heavy titles, Fivio Foreign understands the weight of his role in the Brooklyn drill scene, and beyond. For Fivio, he assures me, there’s always a beyond. Whether it’s more “content pieces” or a new craft altogether, Fivio never stops working—never stops moving—and for that reason, his dreams of becoming a movement will undoubtedly be realized.