I genuinely wanted to give French Montana a chance to prove all of his critics wrong, but if anything, this album confirms everyone’s suspicions. The knock on French has always been that he can’t keep songs afloat by himself, and every track on Excuse My French verifies this theory.
The album as a whole is eerily reminiscent of the tone-deaf, pre-2011 Maybach Music songs, with street-ready, repetitive beats, bland choruses and a paucity of lyrical content.
It’s as though there isn’t a lyrical bone in French’s body. Even on tracks that seem to be teed up solely to display anything of mild intelligence or feeling in his verses, he gives us nothing but model and money talk. He could have just yelled “HA” over and over again and you would get the same message.
It is rare that this happens, but I found myself, on every song, getting to about a minute in and feeling like I’d gotten everything I was possibly going to get from the song. The tracks where French is on his own fall completely flat and expose him as a rapper who, honestly, can’t rap.
That isn’t to say there aren’t hits on the album. The tail end of it features already-hits in “Freaks” and “Pop That” that will populate summer party playlists and strip clubs alike.
But those songs clarify exactly what French really is – a glorified hype man. He has no verbal acuity and doesn’t seem to think that’s a problem. The fact that he can get Rick Ross, Lil’ Wayne and Drake on any track gives him free reign to be as useless as possible.
French’s lack of commitment to anything remotely insightful bleeds into everyone else’s rap, though. Even with all of the A-list features, most give in shoehorned, barely-average verses, phoning in tracks they know will only get play in the strip club circuit.
The best verse comes from Ace Hood on “F–k What Happens Tonight”, reminding people that despite the attempts of every rapper from Jay-Z to Snoop, no one can master his flow quite like he has. Sadly, it comes on one of the more recklessly ignorant tracks of the album’s offerings.
On the production end, he tapped the go-to bunch for Top 40 songs in Mike WiLL, Rico Love, Luger and Young Chop. In some sense, they set French up for failure, leaving him to either struggle through two verses before a series of “HA”s or tag along while a more experienced rapper takes the reigns.
You can never judge a person’s career off one album, but at this point, I’d say at his best, he can be a pseudo-Flo Rida, serving up the mindless-party-rap gruel to the masses at a steady pace. At his worst, well, who knows? It can only go up from here.