Fifteen years ago, the United States and the world changed forever when four airplanes crashed into different locations on Sept. 11, 2001. Two planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City; one plane rammed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and another crashed in a field outside Shanksville, Pa. It’s a day that will forever live in infamy.
In the music industry, two rap major albums were released in retail stores: Jay Z’s now classic album The Blueprint and Fabolous’ debut effort, Ghetto Fabolous. But on that day, the world completely stopped. Buying music was an afterthought considering the horrific tragedy that took place.
The good folks at Genius was able to talk to Fabolous about releasing his album Ghetto Fabolous on, arguably, the worst day in American history.
The Brooklyn native recalled waking up in the morning and watching the tragic news on his television screen. “The first plane hit and they thought it was a mistake – maybe a plane was flying to low or lost control,” he said. “We didn’t know it was a terrorist attack and then the second plane hit and it was like, ‘Oh OK. This is a terrorist attack.’”
Understandably, Def Jam canceled all promotional runs for his album.
“My focus wasn’t on the album,” stated Fabolous. “It would’ve been almost disrespectful to turn around and try to focus on promoting your album when you still had this horrible situation. All of the media that was reaching out was trying to get my thoughts on what happened with 9/11 more so than a response for the album.”
But something rather unique happened in lieu of Ghetto Fabolous being in stores. The Director X-helmed video for “Can’t Deny It” started to get more airplay on BET and MTV. Was it Def Jam’s mighty promotional machine pushing it?
Nope. It was the people.
Apparently, the clip’s unintentional red, white and blue motif that inspired viewers to request it in a show of patriotism following the terrorist attacks.
“We didn’t purposely do the stars and stripes and red-white-and-blue color scheme in the video,” said Fabo. “It was a weird coincidence that the country needed to see something patriotic and uplifting.”
“They pushed that forward on their own,” he continued. “They wanted that video to be number one because of what it symbolized and what it showed visually. In tragic times people need something to comfort them. So they find some kind of entertainment to hold on to.”
As for the album, Fabolous says it “always have a special place for me because it’s my baby from when I was a baby.”
Looking back, the 38-year-old veteran rapper sees Ghetto Fabolous as a learning experience on how to make music and staying true to the game.
“It’s a special project to me because I know how I felt and what I was going through at that time, but I also know how much I didn’t know,” he said. “I look back at what I made then, not knowing 90 percent of what I know now about the hip-hop game, the industry and making music.”
You can read Fabolous’ interview in its entirety at Genius.com.