Review: French Montana's "Excuse My French"

Review: French Montana's "Excuse My French"

After several delays, French Montana finally releases his long-awaited, highly anticipated debut album "Excuse My French" to much fanfare.

It’s been hard to turn on the radio in the past year or so and not hear French Montana’s rich yet slurred delivery coming through the speakers. The Moroccan born, Bronx, NY bred rapper’s rise to the top may seem like it happened overnight but that’s far from the case.

Before the days of taking to various social networking platforms to establish a fan base, French Montana went about things the old-fashioned way. He created the “Cocaine City” DVD series as a means to promote himself as an artist. The popular DVD series, which also featured interviews from major and underground rappers, became one of the top street DVDs of all time and helped to establish French Montana’s presence as an artist.

The ten years he devoted to “Cocaine City” paid off in the form of a bidding war with several labels (Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music, Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group and Diddy’s Bad Boy Records to name a few) interested in signing the coke boy to their rosters. All of this further added to French Montana’s buzz and when he inked a deal with Diddy and became the crowning jewel to the revamped Bad Boy Records, the streets were ready for his official debut.

While French Montana’s fans clamored for his debut album, his first single “Pop That” featuring Rick Ross, Drake and Lil Wayne went gold. After several setbacks and a few missed released dates, Excuse My French finally hit the shelves. Even though he has been labeled a rookie and was a part of "XXL’s Freshmen Class of 2012," after a few listens of his debut album, it’s clear French Montana is seasoned. With an ear for catchy beats, Montana provides a solid debut that solidifies his spot among the veterans.

French Montana pays homage to his incarcerated friend and rapper Max B by letting him start the album off with a taped phone call in “Once In A While.” Having the Kanye West sample “This is what you’ve been waitin for, ain’t it?” on the first track is no mistake and French Montana’s debut album gives his fans plenty of what they’ve been waiting for: braggadocio rhymes in his signature slow-crawling voice over brass beats that’s perfect for the club or cruising in the car on a summer day.

Excuse My French is packed with a roster of who’s who in the rap game. After more then a decade in the music industry, Montana’s relationships with other artists allowed him to snag some of the biggest names without having to spend a dime (the only one to receive any compensation is Max B, who is currently serving out a 75-year sentence). Lil Wayne and Rick Ross each make a couple appearances, including the club-ready banger  “Marble Floors,” which also features 2 Chainz.

French Montana is always at his best when he’s boasting:

"Big body, got ten of those/ Cars, cribs, that’s eight hoes/ Nine piece, that’s dinner rolls/ Wild freaks that’s centerfold/ Hundred on my shine/ You don’t like it, fine/ Got ya bitch tip-toeing like Gregory Hines"

It’s only right that Diddy makes an appearance on the epic “Ballin Out” which also features crooner Jeremih. Ready to become rap’s first billionaire, Diddy makes it known how he’s stacking (“You buying jets, I could buy the Jets and I ain’t speaking about no damn plane!”). Ne-Yo and Raekwon team up with Montana for the Wu-Tang Clan inspired “We Go Where Ever We Want.” Nicki Minaj brings her West Indian flavor on the sampled “Freaks,” which served as the second single off of Excuse My French.

After ten years in the game, French Montana has seen it all and reflects on how his success is a double-edge sword in the stand-out track “Gifted” with The Weeknd:

"I be gifted when I’m faded, faded all the time/ Though they loved me when I made it/ Niggas hated all the time, it’s a dirty game/ Try to find a bitch, maybe get married/ That’s like pissin in a freezer, trying to make canaries"

Fans worried about French Montana veering away from the cocaine-laced and violence fueled storytelling rhymes that he became known for now that he’s on a major label can relax. In “Fuck What Happens Tonight,” which also features DJ Khaled, Mavado, Ace Hood, Snoop Dogg and Scarface, Montana stays true to form when he spits:

"A war’s going on nobody’s safe from/ Now we’re talking to the judge when your day come/ Like it was hard not to kill these niggas/ It was a full-time job not to kill these niggas/ Eight figures, need the eight-story mansion/ While I’m strapped up two-stepping with the devil dancing/ Diluted with blood in my eyes/ Like a stillborn, niggas won’t make it out alive"

Tha bawse Rick Ross also executive-produced French Montana’s long-awaited debut and the Miami rapper’s imprint on the project is evident. Much of the songs on the album embody the larger than life lyrics, beats and feel that Rick Ross is known for. Producers Mike WiLL Made It, The Beat Bully, Jahlil Beats, Rico Love and others helped mold the sound to give the collection of rappers that come together on this project a cohesive feel. Excuse My French is exactly what French Montana fans have been waiting for.

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