French Montana, ‘Excuse My French’

The Moroccan born New Yorker’s long-delayed debut finally arrives, and much of it lands with blunt force without quite demonstrating a fully formed vision. Montana borrows from various sources for his tales of hedonism and nihilistic street posturing. His verses and music are informed by both East Coast brusqueness and Southern trap music. The strength of the better songs, such as “When I Want” or “[Expletive] What Happens Tonight,” comes from the confrontational rhymes, which have a coked-out aggression. Still, there’s an alarming shortage of wit and the swagger sometimes takes on cartoon proportions. The Weeknd offers a dazed, evocative vocal to elevate the best song, “Gifted,” to another level. Montana’s narrative can be observant but uneven, and on “Once in a While” he makes the mistake of evoking Snoop’s “Murder Was the Case,” a defining example of storytelling he can’t approach. He’s surrounded by many throwaway cameos, leaving the MC to carry the weight; and his attitude-over-technique style often isn’t strong enough. (Out Tuesday)

Ken Capobianco


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