Fourtee is a man of many talents, and his newest release “Hustle” is an example of exactly that. Serving as his newest single and visual, the record sees Fourtee reminiscing on his come up, thankfully being able to turn a negative into a positive and make something of himself. The cheat code? Work hard, hustle, and never take no for an answer.
Born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, Fourtee is a rapper, entrepreneur, visionary, and clothing designer all in one. Originally getting his foot in the music industry from an opportunity presented to him from legendary video producer Kareem Johnson, Fourtee went from assisting a Wiz Khalifa video shoot to driving for Lil Uzi Vert to now stepping into the limelight as his own recording artist.
In describing himself, Fourtee states he’s “an executive artist that sees much further than the jewelry store, the car dealership. From Newark, New Jersey, they call it the city of Whitney Houston. Fourtee’s a serial entrepreneur that’s a very strong-minded business activist, creative sneaker designer, and future billionaire.”
His biggest song to date, “Freeze” was handpicked by Kevin Durant and Steve Stoute featured on NBA2K. He even celebrates his first plaque and ASCAP award for his contributions on Cardi B’s double-Platinum smash, “Up.”
Plus, for those wondering who the fake Kanye was running the streets… look no further than Fourtee. Ye is also the inspiration behind Fourtee’s own clothing line titled WxrldLeaders, launched in 2021.
AllHipHop spoke with Fourtee in Los Angeles to discuss how he got into the industry, his sound, new release “Hustle,” working with Cardi B, being Kanye for a day, and more!
AllHipHop: What was it like growing up in Newark, New Jersey?
Fourtee: Umm, nothing. It really was nothing. [laughs] I played New York a lot. I love New Jersey, but I had to grow more so I was in New York City working for people like Kareem Johnson at Atlantic Records, assisting him on film sets. Because I started on film sets, my whole life is really big in film.
AllHipHop: I saw your director catalog. Did you want to do a film first?
Fourtee: I wanted to understand the business behind the scenes, because I was always surrounded by artists. I knew what things were as far as being an artist, going to the studio and performing. As far as the business, the people that sign them, I didn’t really have the knowledge and I needed that. I was more hungry for the business, than just the music.
AllHipHop: When did you fall in love with music?
Fourtee: Music fell in love with me! [laughs]
AllHipHop: Do you have any favorite artists?
Fourtee: My favorite artists are of course the Biggie’s, very different. It’s a lot right now. Drake is so cliche. I like Tems. I’m really big on female artists. I love producers like WondaGurl too.
AllHipHop: I just saw you with her!
Fourtee: Yes, we just left Toronto. We went to London and Toronto. Working, I got two big producers I signed. So they’re doing some big things as well.
AllHipHop: How would you describe your sound?
Fourtee: Universal, motivational. Make you want to get up and go get some money. Depending on what frequency you’re in, make you want to stand up for yourself and go get to it. A lot of times, we beat around the bush on what’s really important and what’s not.
AllHipHop: What were you going through recording “Hustle”?
Fourtee: Recording that, it was a moment in the studio where I thought yeah, this is what I know how to do more than anything. When I first started interning, I used to live in Hawaii for two years. I was working for Norwegian Cruise Line, was in Guam and the Philippines. I was a chef. I didn’t go to college right after high school, so I decided to go to Hawaii to pursue that. I never went anywhere far like that. I’m a get up and go type of person, I don’t care what country it is. I just go.
AllHipHop: You were a driver too?
Fourtee: Yeah, I drove Lil Uzi on tour. I’m not trying to sound cocky or arrogant, but there’s not a lot of artists that have my story. That’s the reason why a lot of people are tapping in now. They’re like “wait hold on, I remember you eight years ago when you were working on a film set with A Boogie.” Or “you were assisting on a Louis Vuitton fashion show.”
The similarities where I heard a lot is Sean Combs, because of how he entered with Andre Harrell and learned so much business. I was driving Uzi on tour, Gunna, and Nipsey before he passed. Quite a few artists. I was driving Gunna, I didn’t know who he was. He was fairly new. In Jersey/New York, we didn’t know the difference at the time between Lil Baby and Gunna.
AllHipHop: Back then, did you always want to do music?
Fourtee: Yeah absolutely. It was a part of life.
AllHipHop: Was the video inspired by a real life experience?
Fourtee: Mmhmm. The video goes to me getting blessed out of real life situations, because I have no criminal record. If I was to leave a real actual trap house like these new rappers… come on. There was a situation where I was supposed to be somewhere and that place got raided, all those guys are still in jail till this day. I always look at things like if I escape these situations, I gotta go make something of it. These guys who are in jail can live through me and say “yo he did something with that. At least that s### ain’t going through vain.” That’s how I shot the video. Hustle: getting away from things, being blessed, and really escaping.
AllHipHop: You have a line that says “trapping since 10.” When did you first start hustling?
Fourtee: My trappin’ was really just finessing, understanding how to finesse things. “Yo this person paying for this, I could…” Whether it’s a Sega Genesis card, “they got this. I could sell it for this.” My trappin’ truthfully started at 15. It was just survival. You know how they say “trappin'” because it’s rap music? You can’t get a job, so it’s the only thing to do. It’s the only sense of employment. That’s what it really was.
AllHipHop: What’d it mean to work on Cardi B’s album?
Fourtee: It was all a blessing. I reached out to a few people, it was all a blessing for us getting that placement. Just knowing who you are and knowing your worth, things go through. You gotta be crazy like Kanye to see past the car dealership and the jewelry store. You gotta see way further than the palm trees in LA and the buildings in New York City to see I’m a do this for a long time, I’m going to be a high paid employee. You gotta choose. A high paid employee means hit song, reality show, then you die out. That’s the truth about this.
AllHipHop: How did you end up connecting with Cardi?
Fourtee: Hollered at my lawyer, we had the song. I wrote the song when I was in the Hilton hotel.
AllHipHop: You wrote Cardi B’s “Up” right?
Fourtee: Yeah, I helped with production as well. That came along, one of our brokers with the label helped us break that situation. We had the record for a minute. We were trying to make a decision, the label held onto the song for about a year. We found out, and it has been crazy ever since.
AllHipHop: How’d it feel to get an ASCAP award?
Fourtee: It felt great. It felt awesome. It felt powerful. Because people were putting things together, realizing that damn, this guy does a lot. Not just saying it, but actual people seeing “oh yeah, this is dope.” It was an out of body experience because I had an ASCAP meeting before I moved to Los Angeles. I didn’t get what I needed, so then they had to get me an award. People play me, they gotta be dealt with. In a good way. Yo, I gotta get what I came for.
AllHipHop: Definitely want to talk about your song “Freeze.”
Fourtee: Absolutely, yeah that record blew up. I don’t want to say it was by mistake, but it blew up. I was on my way to Miami and we put the song out, the next thing we knew it was mayhem. It was not an industry plant. It was a situation where we had a meme video that helped push it. “Lil Uzi’s driver has bars,” so we pushed it like that.
Everyone rushed to see that. They see “oh this kid dropped a song, let’s go for it.” Next thing you know, I was on NBA2K. Steve Stoute flew me out to do NBA2K commercials. For 3 years now, I’ve been doing NBA2K commercials. Independently, I’m not signed to anybody.
AllHipHop: How did they find you?
Fourtee: I was going viral, friends with good lawyers and just making them plays. I tell people: them A&Rs you trying to be signed to, they’re younger than you and a lot of them don’t know sh*t. So you can actually get things done, it just went from there. It went crazy.
AllHipHop: How did you get your name?
Fourtee: That’s my real name, Fourtee Crawford. It means strong and loud. I’m the firstborn, my mother’s from Liberia and West Africa. I didn’t like it growing up because it was forty and school and class, but it’s me.
AllHipHop: How do they react to all your music endeavors? Do they realize the superstars you work with?
Fourtee: Yeah, because I was supposed to be the first one to go to jail. Out of all my brothers and sisters, they went to college and did their thing. I didn’t want any of that. I don’t like rules. If I want to make money, I’m a go make it. That’s how I came up.
AllHipHop: So you also directed videos for artists?
Fourtee: Yeah, I directed my own video “Talk To Me Nice.” I helped a few artists. I put so much into other artists that I was coming up with and realized that they fell for the industry trick. When you get into the game: they throw you a lightskin girl, give you a little bag and that’s it. I said hold the f### on, I see way further than this s###.
Your A&R’s younger than you, you’re like wait. Not to say they can’t do anything, they bleed like you. You should be able to put the work in, do what you gotta do. I was helping directing, I was assistant directing. I started off as a PA, I’m in so much credit. I’m also featured in a few of Wiz Khalifa’s videos, from about 10 years ago playing basketball.
AllHipHop: What other videos did you work on?
Fourtee: I was featured in a Trey Songz video years ago. I’m in a whole bunch of Styles P, Jadakiss videos, because I drove Jada through the Carolinas. Before Casanova got locked up. I was his driver as well.
AllHipHop: How was that?
Fourtee: It was crazy, because it was the 6ix9ine time. I was the driver and I saw how much the people harassed him, as far as the police. Real stories in the middle of Brownsville. We’re chillin’, about to go on tour. We didn’t get pulled over, they pulled up. “Yo, hands on the steering wheel.” They harassed him.
Seeing what he’s going through, I hope he gets out. Because in our environment, people are getting locked up for sh*t that they did not do. And you also live by a code that’s a little different right now. If someone says don’t snitch on me, at least have something for me like the Italians do. Us blacks, we take a lot from the Italians. If you gon’ talk mafia: when someone comes home, give them something. Don’t just say “don’t snitch,” then they come home, and you done had a baby with their baby mother.
Nothing against Casanova, but being the fact he’s from that environment, we should want to do more for our people who hold us down. Not just say “don’t stitch.” It’s not in my DNA either to do such, but everything’s a deal. Give them something. “Yo man, I’m a hold ya peoples down.” That’s where I’m at with it.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio at all times?
Fourtee: Good vibes, because I hate that fake ass energy. I’m an East Coast dude, I don’t have time. Food, good food. Like wings, something light. And a producer/engineer who’s fast. [snaps] That’s my 3 things I need. Letting God in and make those hits.
AllHipHop: What inspired you to launch your own clothing line called WxrldLeaders?
Fourtee: World Leaders started by me driving Lil Uzi and getting random clothings from these random places, and I got tired of it. The clothing lines didn’t make any sense. It had coffins and snakes all over just to look dope, but I’m a person of meaning. I already had the idea, I just didn’t make it official yet.
Kanye West said in one of his docs, the Watch The Throne doc, “I want world leaders at my funeral.” The next day, I LLC’ed and trademarked it. I spelled it with an x, I couldn’t believe it was available. Ever since then, it’s been up!
AllHipHop: You were Kanye West for a day?
Fourtee: Yeah, I was Ye for a day. I’m the type of person that gets up and goes. Jumps, and gets s### done. I was watching a documentary thinking I need more leverage, I need to do some dope sh*t. I bought an entire Kanye outfit, everything. Yeezy Gap, even had the mask.
I had the WxrldLeaders shopping bag. That night, my s### was sold out because that whole stadium thought Kanye’s doing something with Wxrld Leaders. I’m fairly new, that clothing line is new. Went to the stadium, went crazy. So many kids chased me to the security truck we had. They weren’t trippin’ off Swae Lee, all they knew was me. They thought I was Kanye.
Fourtee: It was at Donda Academy. They did not move.
AllHipHop: Did you really move and act like Kanye?
Fourtee: Yeah, I got the video and everything. They did not know. The only person that knew were a few staff members and the athlete director at Donda now. It was the day he got divorced so he couldn’t come. F### it, I had floor side seats. My cousin works with Donda too, I said sit me right here. The kids went crazy. It went crazy.
AllHipHop: How does Kanye feel about this?
Fourtee: I hope he feels good about it. I don’t give a damn. I know he likes artists that are daredevils and don’t ask for sh*t.
AllHipHop: Upcoming projects? What can we expect?
Fourtee: I got something called “Glory In The Jungle,” vlogs and a mixtape coming out. Basically talks about vengeance and escaping. Not just poverty, but achieving and having vengeance in a positive way. Yo, we got out that s###. Really selling a high self-esteem and confidence on this project.
I have two producers I signed: one called Yaboyhec and a kid called Rob2B. He produced all the s### for Rob49, the new artist. I signed his producer.