An eight year decline, following the release of Jay-Z’s “final” album, The Black Album, ended when French Montana decided to take over the rap game. French Montana’s name is all over the place and his music videos are posted all over the internet and in rotation on MTV. Those who have not been following closely would mistake French Montana for a newcomer, but five years of hard work is behind this success.
There has not been a level of excitement over a New York rapper this high since 50 Cent in 2003. During his run, though, New York rappers were still experiencing success. 50 Cent’s run coincided with the end of Ja Rule and Murder Inc.’s run, no coincidence. Many other New York-area rappers began to suffer a decline, including 50 Cent.
By 2007, the hip hop world was ready to usher in a new star from New York City. Such artists as Saigon, Mims, Jae Millz, Papoose, and Maino were all touted as the future, due to their commercial success and lyrical ability. During this time, French Montana was making a name for himself, with the Cocaine City movement, and he was working on his first mixtape.
To a certain degree, each of the other New York rappers, achieved a level of success, but likely, they all would love to be in French Montana’s position, as he is signed to a major label and releasing music. Instead of focusing on what could have been, French Montana took matters into his own hands, releasing a series of mixtapes in 2007 and 2008. By releasing so many projects, the streets soon took notice of French Montana, who was making a name for himself with such figures as Akon.
Many New York rappers say their downfall comes because they cannot gain the true support of New York hip hop fans and the veteran emcees are not willing to step aside. Many rappers end up leaving New York City and returning superstars. This was the case with 50 Cent, who ended up going to Los Angeles, Mims, who went down South, and French Montana who also went down South. The number of high-profile collaborations for French Montana have drastically increased, thus making him the high-profile collaboration.
French Montana’s buzz is comparable to Lil Wayne’s five years ago, as he is featured on every remix and new single. Last year, French Montana became so popular, he caused a bidding war, eventually sticking with his hometown team, Bad Boy Records. After signing with Bad Boy, the label immediately returned to prominence in the rap game. Diddy has been searching for a new flagship artist, following the departures of many artists, French Montana is on the label and is one of the biggest rappers in the game, regardless of region.