French Montana's iced out. Three big a*s diamond chains are draping his neck as he stands in VIP, entourage galore, hidden behind dark sunglasses. NYC's HiLo is packed with industry heads, reality stars, other rappers and droves of ladies and gents there only for bragging rights to say they were there.
French has heard the word on the street about him arguably not being able to stand alone on a song without a slew of features. He wants to prove he can with his debut Excuse My French, but doesn't care enough to make you a believer by having zero features. French is solo on only four of the 13 album tracks. Excuse his french, but F the critics. If features is what he's good at doing, why switch it up? French knows how to make party anthems, exhibit A the wildly successful "Pop That" banger of last summer. Nothing's changed. Excuse My French in all its guest collabo glory is a ride around the city, windows down, speakers blaring, stand on couches LP, which leads us to the five things we learned at his NYC listening party.
1. If certain French songs come on at the club, you WILL stand on a couch.
Of course you'd have to be in VIP to stand on a couch. French's camp was not exempt to this concept. "Once in a While" with its solid bass (the entire song is nothing but knocking bass so hard you feel it in your chest) makes you think you're gangsta. You start moving your head like you're Crime Mobb, flapping your arms around like you're Waka and mean mugging anyone who looks in your direction. This makes even the quiet bookworm look like Suge Knight.
2. French has the ability to outshine his feature artists.
As much as you want to dislike Rick Ross right now for his rapey lyrics, you can't really deny he knows how to deliver on a song. "Trap House" featuring Rozay and Birdman is exactly what it sounds like--an ode to trapping. As per most trap music, it's car music, created specifically for 15" subwoofer in the trunk. When Ross is on other rappers' songs it's usually an automatic that you turn up on his verse. So yes, Ross becomes the star of the song, unless Drake is also on said song and then there's no hope for anyone else. On "Trap House," French proves he can outshine features on his own song. Birdman closes the song without saying much to remember. But he's good at other things like running a multi-million dollar record label. Raps shmaps.
3. Mo' features, mo' features and mo' features.
Accept it. At least French picks artists you're excited to hear. For instance, "Gifted" featuring Wknd is hot. And we know Mr. Terius Nash (The Dream) doesn't want to hear this, but it sounds exactly like something he'd sing. "All these bitches hate you" also reads like Dream's pen game. We're just saying. "F*ck What Happens Tonight" featuring DJ Khaled, Mavado, Ace Hood, Snoop Dogg & Scarface is straight up giving reggae vibes. Who else thought of putting Mavado, Snoop, Scarface and Ace Hood on a track together? French was so hype about "Paranoid" featuring C.A.S.H. he had the DJ play it twice. Produced by Young Chop, he considers it one of his favorites. "Ballin' Out" featuring Jeremih and Diddy resurrects the "Birthday Sex" singer, and who could be mad at that?
4. French has mad friends.
Mad as in a lot, not as in angry. Eve, Wale, Fred the Godson, Black Cobain, Stalley, VH1's Renee Graziano and Kaylin Garcia all stopped by to show love. Because how could you not like a guy who offers a journalist a sandwich during an interview?
5. Excuse My French is the carpe diem of 2013.
It's a party album. The debut LP is light and fun. As much as people were into the music--mostly those of us there to work--the music made people party. It hyped the crowd. Ciroc liquor was flowing, bottles were popped and a few couches now have scuff marks from people's sneakers. It's nearly impossible to listen to French's music and sit still. If you sit idly scrolling Instagram while listening to EMF, we assure you, it's you, not the album.
[Photos: Getty Images]