Label: Coke Boys/Bad Boy Records/Maybach Music Group/Interscope
French Montana is nobody's critical darling. His punch lines are predictable. His flows are derivative. One publication described his debut album Excuse My French as "the sound of time being killed bar by bar." But like Big Daddy Kane, French gets the job done. Twenty-plus mixtapes deep in the game, the Bronx native with Moroccan roots knows exactly what his customers want, and long before he signed with Diddy he understood how to keep them served. Diddy can't tell him nothing about hyping a project and pandering to his fan base; the Bad Boy cosign only gave him deeper pockets for A-list beats and co-stars.
Yes, the beats (from Lex Luger, Mike Will Made It, Harry Fraud, Young Chop among others) and guest spots (from Rick Ross, Lil Wanye, and Nicki Minaj among many others) are formulaic to the point of being cookie-cutter. But guess what? They work. Simple but effective is the rule of thumb throughout EMF. French will do whatever he has to do to get the place turnt up. Any rapper who would pose on the cover of a magazine wearing a bear hoodie brings a level of by-all-means-necessary entertainment value to the party. And really, who would you rather have rock your party? A critical darling or a blustery Bronx coke boy in a bear hoodie who gets every girl in the place poppin' that? Yeah, we thought so. —Rob Kenner