It’s been a long road for French Montana. The Moroccan born MC (French and his family emigrated to the Bronx from Morocco when he was 13) began building a name for himself in the streets of NYC back in the ‘early 2000’s with his successful Cocaine City DVD series. Cocaine City made French some fans but some of the footage he released earned him some enemies too (Lil’ Cease should be ashamed of himself). Using the DVD’s to gain vital industry connections, French started collaborating with other underground rappers, releasing mixtapes and eventually partnered up with ex DipSet affiliate, Max B for their Coke Wave CD/DVD. French ended up right in the middle of Max’s beef with Jim Jones and his Byrd Gang crew but the way they made light about the situation only managed to make both Max and French that much more popular, able to regularly do shows off of mixtape material. French isn’t a remarkable rapper by any means but his sing songy hooks and ability to adapt a Dirty South (by way of the South Bronx) flow has allowed him to cross over despite the usual regional boundaries. Think of it as East Coast trap music.
Over the last 3 years, through sheer will and hustle, French Montana has managed to put himself in a very nice position. After all the buzz surrounding the Coke Wave project, French had a couple of offers lined up but chose to sign a recording contract with Akon’s Konvict Records that was reportedly worth 2 million dollars. Not bad for a cat who started out rapping on a DVD. The Konvict Records deal eventually fizzled out earlier this year but French used it for what it was worth and with a series of mixtapes he’s managed to keep a heightened profile even after the more well known half of the Coke Wave got sentenced to a 40 year bid for a murder/robbery.
French reminds me of an East Coast version of Young Jeezy. He’s not a technically proficient lyricist in a traditional sense. If you’re looking to be blown away by metaphors, similes and rappity raps, keep looking. You’ll find none of that here. But what French does have is a simplistic cadence supported by an air of authenticity (French was mentored by street legend Pee Wee Kirkland) and a mischievous sense of humor (Ask Hell Rell…or maybe not). The only reason French didn’t make my “Building The New CTE” post is because he happens to be managed by Mizay Entertainment, you know, the management company that manages Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka and is run by Deb Antney, Waka Flocka’s moms. Given Jeezy and Gucci’s past and present beefs, I just didn’t realistically see that deal going down. But CTE isn’t the only show in town and apparently, French has been in talks to join up with Rick Ross’s ever expanding Maybach Music Group roster. After a couple mixtape cuts together and a strong showing from French on “Big Bank”, a cut off of Ross’ Self Made Vol. 1 compilation, it looks like that deal is actually close to happening and coincidentally, it’s gonna happen right when French has one of the biggest records in the country with “Choppa Choppa Down” and it’s remix.
I’m not sure if MMG is the spot for an MC looking to make their mark as a solo artist. They have a lot of acts over there already, who knows how many of em will actually release an album of their own? But if nothing else, Ross has proven himself a master of self promotion and just judging by the trajectory of French’s career up til this point, even if the deal doesn’t result in an actual album release, French has made a living out of turning negatives into positives. I can’t see him stopping until he’s gotten exactly what he wants out of the game.
Not familiar with Frenchie outside of his work with Max? No worries, scrap. Your homies at George Bush Moolah got you and as usual, everything’s in the best quality available….
5. Eastside, Westside (Feat. Nipsey Hussle & Southside Po)
6. Straight Cash (Feat. Gucci Mane)
8. What I Do
9. In The Air
10. Wake Up In The Morning (Feat. Max B.)
13. How It Feel (Feat. Sam Hook & Chinx Drug)
15. Goin’ In For Da Kill (Feat. Chinx Drugz & Cheese)
16. Hammer Long (Feat. Cheese, Chinx Drugz & Brock)
17. Belong To Me (Feat. Cheese)
18. Choppa Choppa Down Remix (Feat. Gucci Mane & Waka Flocka)
19. Alright (Feat. Juicy J & Project Pat)
20. I Think I Love Her
21. Life Be A Movie
22. New York Minute Remix (Feat. Ma$e & Jadakiss)
23. Choppa Choppa Down (Rmx 2.0) (Feat. Rick Ross & Wiz Khalifa)