French Montana’s upcoming album cheekily pokes fun at the memes, but we have not forgotten his good era.
It’s easy to forget French Montana’s mixtape era. Mixtapes were not readily available as the streaming era, even the Datpiff era was just starting when French had started. His first charting single didn’t come until 2012, a full six years since his first mixtape and a full ten years since he was hustling DVDs. The French Montana most people are familiar with are the pop star French Montana. While “Shot Caller” was a his first song to chart, it was one of the last to keep that street style he was moving with. He quickly moved to the bigger party songs, like “Pop That” and “Unforgettable.” Its a spot that without looking at his history would be assumed is undeserved, but it is a spot he hustled extremely hard to earn.
His upcoming album is titled They Got Amnesia, poking fun at the endless memes and genuine hate you can find all over the internet. The truth is French Montana post-signing to Bad Boy is just not nearly that good. His occasionally drops a decent verse, one many point to his verse on A$AP Ferg’s “Work Remix.” The song is admittedly divisive, French’s delivery is extremely choppy but the verse itself is a fairly solid one.
When they mask up, comin’ for your ice
When they bare-faced, they comin’ for your life
Mixtape era French Montana however was a genuine talent. While French Revolution Vol. 1 is not his most notable release, Live From Africa set the road map of his NY takeover. He earned tracks with Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Future and his most frequent collaborator Max B. One of the most notable songs on the tape is the song “Waavy,” a direct unrelenting diss towards Jim Jones. While Max hatred for Jim Jones is much stronger, French does not hold off to support his homie.
First Cam left ya, then Max left ya
The whole Harlem left ya (daamn, homie)
Some of the best songs that French had done on his early tapes were with Max B. They capitalized on this soon after Live from Africa with a collaborative mixtape titled Coke Wave. This tape truly cemented the sound they were innovating, Dame Grease production and Max & French’s singing can’t be described as anything other than Wavy. A highlight from it is Goon Music, which took what everything that Goon Music & The Wave were about and encapsulated it into a single song.
On the grind, can’t get a day sober
Break’s over, goon music takeover
Cocaine and that coke wave makeover
I done seen real n*ggas fold over
2009 became a big year when he signed to Akon’s label. Despite signing with Akon, he was still grinding on mixtapes. He wouldn’t drop a debut album until his signing with Bad Boy Records. While the deal was unsuccessful, their friendship became for life and their music would be just as good. One of the best songs from his tape The Laundry Man is “We Ain’t Got Nothing to Lose,” an Akon collaboration with notable lyrics like this:
Na, homie, Imma ride up front
Big died in the passinger’s seat, Pac died in the passinger’s seat
Na, n*gga, Imma drive my shit
2009 is probably his strongest year for his releases, releasing a total of 6 mixtapes. This year saw the start of some of his biggest series, such as Coke Wave and Mac & Cheese. The first in the latter series, Mac Wit Da Cheese, saw the first collaboration with then unknown producer Harry Fraud. Harry Fraud would go on to providing French with some of his biggest songs. One of the biggest songs on it was New York Minute, a genuine New York anthem with the legendary Jadakiss. The song would later get a remix with Ma$e.
Make a sun visor out ya wavecap
Pray that New York Minute’ll bring Ma$e back
Shame that Remy took eight flat, you know the game wack
Many good tracks were released during this time, but skipping ahead we see the release of Mister 16 Casino Life. French Montana’s connections ran deep by this point, having worked with many New York Legends such as Ma$e & Jadakiss, having built a relationship with Rick Ross, a strong connection to then rising star Waka Flocka, and a friendship with Terror Squad member Fat Joe who helped the push of the single “Shot Caller.” Through all these connections and a sound all his own, he was able to elevate himself nationwide status that ultimately culminated in his first real hit.
Dippin’ in the ‘lac (slow) 3 in the back (oh)
2 if ya fat (aha) pimpin’ is a fact
Fresh up out the street hot jump to the top
I be French Montana from da da da block
French’s status is one of years work. The relationships he built along the way would give us collaborations with unthinkable combinations, Lil Durk & Travis Scott for example. All this work has seemingly been undone over the years with his time at Bad Boy Records. Countless features were born out of this deal, while some are due to his friendships with the artists and others are due to his label push, many of the features are not good or straight up unnecessary. One hilarious example is A$AP Ferg’s song “East Coast REMIX.” He does this choppy broken flow that he’s been using since his blow up while speed it up in the most awkward way possible for the mention of Bone Thugs.
I could be a jeweler (Jeweler)
Neck, that’s Slick the Ruler (Ruler)
You n*ggas is comedy (Bling)
Talking fast like Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (Harmony)
While the jokes about French are a bit much, at this point they have become well deserved. Instead of upping his game, he’s naming an album after the situation. With the way the current rollout is going, its doubtful we’re gonna get something worthy of the name They Got Amnesia. While the first single “FWMGAB” showed promise and brought us back to that radio hit sound he’s great at, his single “I Don’t Really Care” is hysterically tone-deaf and quite possibly the worst of his career. He tries to explain all the trends he set in a song that’s nearly unlistenable with some of his worst bars to date.
Only competition in my city is a chick
Before the ‘Gram on, think I been viral
Now a diamond single and a platinum album
Word to Rod Wave, we started the wave
French’s new album is hopefully a great return to form, but at this point its extremely doubtful. Another single has released with Fivio Foreign, which is a NY Drill cut that features a great Fivio verse but an extremely lazy French verse. A part two of one of his better modern tracks Lockjaw has snippets online, which unfortunately sounds nothing like Lockjaw and more like a standard trap song. Having heard four of the rumored twenty-one tracks, its clear that French is more concerned with the marketing instead of the music.
French Montana’s new album is named after his forgotten legacy, but instead of correcting the issue, he’s proving exactly why they have amnesia.
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Stream They Got Amnesia here.