Footnotes: French Montana

Photographer Michael Schmelling
September 26, 2012

Footnotes is the section in our magazine where we take a deeper look at the music surrounding our feature artists. Read Zach Baron’s FADER #82 cover feature on French Montana, and check out our notes below.

French Montana, “Choppa Choppa Down” (Internet 2010)
Maybe secretly French Montana did all the voices for that beer commercial where a bunch of guys call each other on the phone and just say “Whaazzaaaaaa.” The dude never met a slurred word he didn’t like, and that is precisely what makes “Choppa Choppa Down” the perfect song for him. Just uttered once, “choppa” is a great word—with the “ch” sound, the hard pop of the Ps and the loose ending—and French says it three times in a row before barking out down! It’s like the lyrics are playing a trick on his lazy pronunciation, and the collision of mush mouth and speech class articulations resulted in his breakthrough single. MS

French Montana f. Rick Ross, Lil Wayne and Drake, “Pop That” Excuse My French (Bad Boy 2012)
The Top 40 boys’ club has become awfully predictable: you want radio play, feature some combination of these guys. Tell them to rap about how rich they are and what they do to girls. I can’t blame French, since “Pop That” is the first single off a major label debut. Dude needed a hit, and this one is undeniable. It’s meant to be heard out drunk at a club so you can feel larger than life too, even if it’s just for five minutes. Best line? Wayne’s Motherfucker I’m on my skateboard/ Watch me do a trick ho. Must be great to be in the one percent, with nothing to do but show up and have fun. AF

French Montana f. Jadakiss, “New York Minute” (Internet 2009)
“New York Minute” introduced the world to Harry Fraud, the prolific Brooklyn producer. Its beat isn’t much more than a pitched-up loop from Don Henley’s 1990 adult contemporary hit of the same name with walking-pace drums laid underneath. Giving a history lesson about the city’s figurehead rappers, Montana talks tough, but his voice is all bluster, dissolving at the syllables’ edges. It’s reassuring and sweet, a New York rap song that actually makes New York seem like a great place to live. As the track winds down, sounding self-conscious about his own place in the Big Apple’s canon, French adlibs, I guess everybody got a New York Minute, huh? Turns out, he’s got more than a couple. NZ

Footnotes: French Montana