Could’ve been a pilot, could’ve been a doctor
Could’ve been a pimp, could’ve been a mobster
Could’ve been a mack, could’ve been a dope boy
Homie, matter of fact – I’m a motherfucking coke boy
French (and absolutely no relation to Joe) Montana is a rapper that has been on the scene for years, but his major breakout only came recently when (who else) Diddy took a chance on him and added him to the widely hyped but much maligned roster of Bad Boy Records. We all know the history of Bad Boy and what it’s been since Biggie passed, and there hasn’t been an artist to fill that void, and there probably won’t ever be (the same can be said about Pac, but there’s a lot of comparisons to him already). Montana is a trap rapper, if you could say. His popularity on the underground scene grew with his Coke Wave mixtape series with Max B (currently locked up for a very long time), and of course the aforementioned Coke Boyz. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that I’ve never listened to them regularly – it’s just not something I vibe with, but Chinx Drugz (also from Coke Boyz) has been a standout as of recent and I’ll be going through his catalogue. As for French? Nope. No thanks. I couldn’t possibly care less about his music at all to be honest, and the only time I’d be able to tolerate him is when he’s on features because 7 times out of 10, he does them justice (Big Sean’s ‘Mula’, and Rick Ross’ ‘Stay Schemin’ are his best that I’ve heard). When it came down to this album, I literally had no expectations because as I stated earlier, I couldn’t care less for his music, but when you make a proclamation (which Diddy did) saying that it’s the best album to come out by a New York rapper in 10 years, you have to laugh and say to yourself, “really Diddy? You’re doing this again?” It’s comical; I know for a fact without listening to it, because of who French Montana is, he’s not better than Skyzoo or A$AP Rocky, so his album won’t be better than theirs – and wouldn’t you know it (SURPRISE), it definitely wasn’t. Excuse my French is an expression said before someone is about to make a blunt comment usually with vulgarity involved, so if you would excuse my French, this is putain de poubelle (you can translate it).
Alright, putting personal opinion to the side, let’s focus on this album: by way of the beats on it and the abundance of features on it – it didn’t feel like an album at all (at least not a solo album). There are total of 4 (FOUR) songs on this album that only had French by himself (Aint Worried About Nuttin, When I Want, I Told Em & Bust It Open). Everything else was feature, feature, feature, hot beat, hot beat, and hot beat. Do you remember those NOW compilation CDs that used to feature all of the popular club songs that were up to date? That’s the vibe that this album gave off, just because of the songs on it – every song felt like it was just a club song (okay, not all of them).
With the album starting off with Once In A While, there was some promise because it had that street New York feel to it, and plus the feature of Max B, it was something for the Coke Wave fans to embrace – that’s understandable. The Moroccan born rapper isn’t known by most, so it’s necessary to make yourself well acquainted as he did on this track. When it comes to trap rappers, you have to look at them with a different approach as compared to your “traditional” rappers (if you can even call them traditional anymore, because everyone is always doing something different). Many people view French as trap obviously because of his music background, but then there are those who don’t because they just hear the party tracks and whatnot. Well, he brought a blend of both on this album, and they were supplied with dope beats and a heavy dosage of guests, and not to mention a lot of ‘Juu heards’ and ‘haans’ to follow.
Money is the motivator and the emphasis on this album, and when you have Rick Ross, Birdman (both on Trap House), and Diddy (Ballin Out) featured on this mixtape album – that’s a lot of money. I mean, I’m not exactly broke, but listening to these three? Yeah, you don’t even want to walk into work the next day. The problem with having so many features on an album is that it takes away from the fact that you, the artist, is trying to make a name for yourself since you’re ‘new’ to the game. You’re not supposed to get killed on your own track multiple times – that’s not something that you’re supposed to embrace. When The Weeknd (Gifted), of all people, whom is an (I don’t even know what genre to classify him as) artist of recent and growing popularity isn’t supposed to be the main focus on the track. The problem I had with this album (aside from the fact that I don’t think that French is that good) is that he sounded as if he was the featured artist on most tracks. He didn’t sustain a proper presence to make it known that it’s his album – it’s like it was a DJ Khaled or DJ Drama compilation that he was just hosting.
There are a lot of songs (if not the whole album) that are potential club anthems if they haven’t been already. Pop That, which I was surprised was on the album, considering that it came out last year, is still getting spins; Freaks, which is the biggest slap in the face to paying homage to Reggae music, is popular, obviously there’s Ocho CInco that turns the crowd up at any given time (Bust It Open is the new Twerk anthem, I promise you). I do like the fact that there was a tribute to New York Hip Hop of old with the beats whit Fuck What Happens Tonight having a trap twist to The Diplomats’ classic ‘I Really Mean It’, and We Go Where Ever We Want (seriously with the track names?) having a spin on Wu Tang’s ‘Ice Cream’. The beats and features make up (some…SOME) of where the album lacked with French’s lyrics (there’s no reason why Snoop Dogg/Lion/Wildebeest/Hyena should have been on this album). Future has seemed to have an impact on rappers these days (although most and all derived from the seeds of T-Pain) when it comes to singing with technological advancements. Here’s the thing – if it doesn’t suit you, it doesn’t suit you. I understand why all of these rappers feel the need to try to grab a vocal range like R&B artists don’t exist for a reason – it’s unfathomable, and I do wish they’d cease and desist. French Montana tried to be more like Hannah (minus, you know…the ability to sing well – or decent – or at all, for that matter) and it didn’t work out for him. There are people who live for his “””singing””” but I tell you, I’m not one of those advocates.
On the flipside, here’s the positive to this album. If you’re in your car and you like a good thumping to get the adrenaline going – this is the album for you to enjoy; if you’re at the gym and you need ignorance to lift too – this is the album for you; if you’re at the club and you hear these songs and you just want to see some ladies twerk while you clap in utter tantalization and elation – this is the album for you. Depending on whatever recreational activity you do that requires music to get buck to and beyond like an incoherent idiot (as I do partake sometimes), this album serves its purpose in many ways – that still doesn’t mean from a Hip Hop/Rap point of view that it’s anything great – it’s just ignorance that fills a void, but at the same time, it’s just nose that yet again just infiltrates the genre which many proclaim to be dead. I wouldn’t buy this; I wouldn’t look at it on the shelf at HMV, but for a free download, I’ll keep it around (listen, I lose my shit to Marble Floors), but if you’re a fan of Hip Hop and you’re not here for this music, then by all means, I support your decision. Enjoy at your own expense, but for now, this is my opinion, this is my review
That’s My Word & It STiXX