Artist: French Montana
Album: Excuse My French
Label: Bad Boy/Interscope
Release Date: May 21, 2013
There are times in hip-hop when you as a fan wonder what’s really going on. Sometimes you hear an artist for the first time and you’re like, “This is the hottest sh#t I’ve ever heard, why isn’t everything like this?” This is different for different people; for me it was Jay-Z, Kanye West, RZA, and Mos Def. Then there are other artists – the ones you laugh at a little. The ones that you hear and you think, “look at him trying to make music. It sure seems like he’s giving it his all.” Then they hang around and they amass enough hits that you give them the respect that they deserve and you hope that no one remembers how much you talked about hating them. For me, French Montana falls into the second group.
Luckily for me, I was able to come around to liking Montana’s music in time for his debut major label album. In Montana’s young career he’s marked himself as a destination for hits. “Pop That”, “Freaks”, “Marble Floors”, and “Ocho Cinco“ are all undeniable. Another point that is undeniable is that French is the weakest part of all of these songs. It’s not that he’s bad he just chooses to surround himself with tremendous talent and Excuse My French is no different which makes the title of his album weirdly aware of itself. It’s as if he’s apologizing for his own presence of the album, but it is a better title than Listen To All Of These Other Talented People.
Take that however you’d like, but personally I don’t see it as a negative. Rappers can go in a few different directions with their careers and personally I prefer the way the French is going with his. There are great lyricists whose talent is unquestioned that never peak my interest. I think Common is a great rapper, but I’d rather watch a movie that he’s in than listen to one track of his that isn’t produced by Kanye. Talib Kweli is brilliant, but most of the time he makes me feel like I’m in one of my sociology classes from college. However, whenever I hear “Haaaan,” I know I’m in for a banger. French Montana stands for hits and that’s a pretty good thing to stand for.
I really do like this album, but it does suffer a little from the Cruel Summer problem. There are a lot of great songs on this album, but we’ve already heard the best ones. However, there are some real standout moments. “We Go Where Ever We Want” sounds almost like an old school Bad Boy track. Ne-Yo sings a great hook and is backed by a smooth piano-heavy beat. Montana pulls his weight when it comes to flow and sets the table nicely for Raekwon’s verse. “F#ck What Happens Tonight” goes in a different direction, but is as entertaining. This song feels like it was just made to be a hit. It features a hype intro from DJ Khaled, a chorus by Mavado, Funk Flex sound effects, and a killer verse from Ace Hood. Honestly, it sounds like the sequel to “Bugatti” just substitute a throwback verse from Snoop and Scarface for Rick Ross and Mavado for Future and add French. It’s derivative sure, but that doesn’t keep it from being hot. Plus, it’s always fun to hear Scarface doing what he does and Snoop doing what he used to do as opposed to rapping with Katy Perry.
If you’re like me and are really happy with the current state of hip-hop, you’re going to like this album. It’s not doing anything new, but it is making hits. If nothing else French has established himself as the new Lil John. He’s an excellent host. Haaaaan means a hot track is forthcoming. You’re going to dig it as long as you can excuse his French.