Fivio Foreign says the “King of New York” throne doesn’t mean what it used to. The title has been the highest honor in New York City rap for decades, inspiring heated debates about artists like Jay-Z, Nas, Biggie, 50 Cent, and Pop Smoke, but the current heir to the throne doesn’t seem to have much interest in the crown.

“I feel like it don’t matter,” Fivio declares, snacking on Cup Noodles ramen in Complex’s Manhattan office on a cold afternoon in late March. “It totally don’t matter. Some boy’s going to claim that shit, but it don’t matter.” 

Instead, Fivio has his eye on a bigger target. “That’s not the goal I’m trying to reach,” he explains. “You’re the King of New York? Well, I’m trying to be the King of the World.”

A week after our conversation, Tekashi 6ix9ine reemerges on social media, announcing he’s returning to claim the title. “The King of New York is coming back,” he taunts. “I’m going back home.” Fivio can’t help but respond, tweeting, “5 Billboards in Times Square, Top 5 songs in NY on Apple at once, & articles in both Daily News & NY Times. Don’t ever let that nigga say he the King Of this city.”

Fivio has a point. At the moment, he’s unquestionably one of the hottest artists in the city, and when he lags into Complex’s Manhattan office, the effects of his fast-paced lifestyle are apparent. He’s sporting a cream sweatsuit with the title of his debut album, B.I.B.L.E., emblazoned on the front, and although he makes a point of greeting everyone in the studio, he’s noticeably a muted version of himself. The most he spoke during the photo shoot moments earlier was to mutter one of his signature “bow!” ad-libs. 

“I’m mad tired today,” he explains. “I was outside buggin’ yesterday. I really didn’t sleep.” 

Fivio stayed up all night for good reason: he was shooting a music video with Nicki Minaj for their new collaboration “We Go Up,” and photos emerged of the duo partying with a large crew in Brooklyn. 

“You do a song with Nicki, and it’s different from doing a song with anybody else,” he reflects. “She doesn’t really mix with a lot of people, so this is a blessing.”