Entertainment Entertainment Music Ticketbooth

Album review: French Montana, 'Excuse My French'

***1/2 (out of four)

The perpetually delayed release of French Montana’s debut full-length “Excuse My French” has become a running joke among rap fans. Yet while it’s amazing the record is finally here, it's a borderline miracle that “French” is actually awesome.

Like his fellow torchbearer of contemporary New York hip-hop A$AP Rocky, French Montana is not a particularly memorable rapper, nor one who has many ties to any local sound. His voice is unremarkably gravelly, his delivery is blocky and his lyrics stick to the obvious. Plus, albums like “Excuse My French,” which relies on a different producer for nearly every track and features multiple label rosters worth of guests, have a tendency to become bloated, over-budget messes without any sense of fun.

In this case, though, French Montana's wise decision to keep the blustering tone consistent holds the album together. We're spared any terrible, for-the-ladies slow jams, dubstep crossovers or introspective lyricism in favor of an unmatched devotion to pan-regional music about strippers made to be yelled along with while standing on couches.

French Montana is very rarely the best part of a French Montana song, and his approach reflects knowledge of this fact by taking us on a mixtape-style tour through his extensive contact list. The album makes nods to Atlanta trends on songs like “Trap House” and “Ain't Worried About Nothin'” before stopping through Miami for a DJ Khaled posse cut on “[Bleep] What Happens Tonight,” borrowing a single from Chicago's Johnny Maycash and Young Chop on “Paranoid” and visiting the extra-governmental strip club protectorate YMCMB calls home on “Pop That” and “Freaks.”

There's a song with The Weeknd that, well, sounds like a Weeknd song and a great song with Raekwon that manages to not make French Montana look like an idiot alongside one of the most dexterous lyricists ever. French Montana's best lyrical moments are blurted rather than carefully constructed (“I skipped prayer just to make money/I hope God forgives me, man I was hungry”), but that type of straightforwardness is why his album works as well as it does. “Excuse My French” shoots for little more than sounding great played really loud, and it accomplishes exactly that.

Kyle Kramer is a RedEye special contributor. @redeyechimusic

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.


Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Man fatally shot after argument over woman at South Loop lounge
    Man fatally shot after argument over woman at South Loop lounge

    An argument over a woman led to one man being killed and another wounded during a shooting inside a South Loop music lounge early Saturday, police said.

  • Oklahoma fraternity's racist chant learned on a cruise
    Oklahoma fraternity's racist chant learned on a cruise

    Members of a University of Oklahoma fraternity apparently learned a racist chant that recently got their chapter disbanded during a national leadership cruise four years ago that was sponsored by the fraternity's national administration, the university's president said Friday.

  • In NYC building collapse, mayor cites 'inappropriately' tapped gas line; 2 missing
    In NYC building collapse, mayor cites 'inappropriately' tapped gas line; 2 missing

    Someone may have improperly tapped a gas line before an explosion that leveled three apartment buildings and injured nearly two dozen people, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday as firefighters soaked the still-smoldering buildings and police searched for at least two missing people.

  • Emanuel uses borrowing to cope with Daley's debt burden
    Emanuel uses borrowing to cope with Daley's debt burden

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel has reduced spending and increased fines, fees and certain taxes to shrink the chronic budget deficits left over from his predecessor, Richard M. Daley.

  • Six Flags Great America's lost attractions
    Six Flags Great America's lost attractions

    Not every ride's the Willard's Whizzer. That iconic coaster debuted in 1976 when Marriott's Great America, now Six Flags Great America, in Gurnee, Ill., first opened. And it's still popular today. But for every Whizzer there's a Tidal Wave, Shockwave or Z-Force, rides existing only in memory.

  • Denim's just getting started
    Denim's just getting started

    Five years ago, denim-on-denim defied all of the dire warnings in the "Undateable" handbook: Instead of evoking John Denver or Britney Spears in her misstyled youth, chambray shirts paired with darker blue jeans became as cool as actor Johnny Depp and street-style heroine Alexa Chung.