The best of times, and the worst of times, in a young artists’ career, is their debut album. Just ask Wale, who had about as much control over his debut as Denzel Washington had over his plane in Flight. Ironically enough, Attention Deficit, like Excuse My French will be, was released on Interscope Records. The biggest problem with the LP isn’t even the single choosing or the promotion—which were Wale’s biggest problems—the music is just bad. The most frustrating part of the album is the intro. It is, conceptually, a home run for French. With his brother Max B locked up seemingly forever, and previous rumors of French signing to G.O.O.D. Music, having Max B and a deft Kanye West sample on the introductory track set the stage for a golden entrance. If the rest of the album followed that blueprint, we could be looking at one of the better on-wax releases of the year, from someone who admits to not caring about his lyrical prowess, which would be a rather big accomplishment from French’s camp and Interscope’s. Unfortunately, that won’t be the sentiment felt by most after listening to the Bronx native’s debut.
It’s rather amazing that we’re even discussing a French Montana LP being in stores considering how long the Coke Boy headmaster has been attempting to facilitate his numerous deals and business ventures. Furthermore, rather than just fall into the Diplomat/Terror Squad waves that were emanating from his frequented stomping grounds midway through the last decade, Montana created his own movement, separating his sound from the predominant New York anthems at the time, managing to create an impressive repertoire involving possibly the producer with the eeriest mainstream sound in the industry: Harry Fraud. Mac & Cheese 3—which should’ve been the album in my humble opinion—showed off a very versatile French Montana. From the introspective, foreshadowing “Water”, to the GBE throwaway that is “Devil Want My Soul”, onto the laid back, barbecue sound of “Triple Double”, the different Montana’s we’ve been introduced to over the past 6 years were all prevalent on that mixtape, which made for a very promising outlook on his debut album. However, with the exception of the chorus driven “Ain’t Worried About Nuthin”, and a few other exceptions, the album sounds like a who’s who of annoyingly common artists were thrown together on beats French didn’t have much time to listen to, or choose from. Hell, there’s a decent chance he hadn’t even chosen the beats himself.
In essence, French should be worried about his identity. Interscope is known for going with the pop culture tide, rather than playing to an artists’ strength. Just ask Wale or Vado, who are just two of the artists recently scorned by the record label’s lack of attention to detail, or artistic integrity, or some detrimentally obvious combination of both. French Montana most sounds like himself on the one song with no real verse pattern, or theme. There is no recognizable attempt at any kind of thoughtful lyric creation, but it passed the Montana DNA test. The rest of the album is Interscope’s. So ironically enough, Montana should be worried.
-Khari Nixon (@KingVanGogh)