Melodically and instrumentally very similar to Montana’s past solo efforts, ‘MC4’ is more of the same from the Moroccan born rapper and Coke Boy Records founder. Auto-tuned vocals, millions of hi-hats and plenty those famous trap/drone basslines all make a return here, and the mixtapde is sure to the please loyal fans. However, there are flickering elements of Chance The Rapper-esque organs and choirs on some of the tracks that suggest that Montana is perhaps trying to inch his sound forward, away from a now very tired and predictable genre. Having said this, the album remains schizophrenic, both in its lyrical content and its sound, veering between massive club tunes and very sparse almost piano-ballads continuously. After being leaked over a month early, the album has been gaining momentum, and Montana continues to plan towards further releases with his own, new record label project.
Indeed, it is the elements of softness, that move away from a generic-bass heavy sound, which wins ‘MC4’ very limited triumph. ‘Said N Done’ for instance uses a jaunty and bright organ introduction to create an old school kind of flow. An understated choir in the background also gives the track more substance. French Montana’s fondness for dancehall is present in this track also, with occasional blasts of what seems like Major Lazer sample pack.
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Montana has had a career which has featured collaborations with the likes of Jay Z, DJ Khaled and Niki Minaj, and these partnerships have spawned some of his most interesting work. MC4 also features a list of famous names, including Drake, ASAP Rocky and Miguel, who all bring their own vocal flavour. Drake’s feature in ‘No Shopping’, for example creates a raspy contrast to Montana’s deep and echoing vocals, Whilst Miguel’s soulful tones give ‘Have Mercy On Me’ a deeper sound.
Lyrically, you probably already know what you’re going to come across in ‘MC4’. Women, money, massive self-congratulation ect ect ect. These are areas that a covered constantly and often, very clumsily by the Trap genre, and French Montana doesn’t try and move away from this tried and tested formula. But then you have some tracks, like ‘Figure It Out’ that give the impression of something different. It gives the impression of a man in a Fmonogamous, but troubled relationship, a strark contrast to French Montana’s persona as the ultimate lady’s man. Montana laments, “I can’t lie to you, I can’t lie to you”. In a similar vein, ‘Have Mercy’ almost attempts to atone lyrically for the fictional narrator’s life or crime, whilst also boasting, predictably about his achievements.
‘MC4’ is, as stated time and time again, more of the same. It’s not going to turn people on to the genre if they already don’t like it. One thing that you can’t fault French Montana for, however, is being unfalteringly himself, which does have its own value in an industry where artists are so moulded and shaped that its often hard to recognise sincerity.