French Montana's Excuse My French Listening Party - HiLo - 5/7/13
French ad libs an introduction before every track, weaving the song's lyrics into each explanatory monologue in an endearing way that recalls the moment in any James Bond movie where they not-so-casually speak the movie title in the dialogue. (Example: "A lot of blogs were saying French Montana can't rap by himself, so I called up Earl & E to send me a beat. They sent me a beat, and I wasn't worried about nothin'" feeds into "Ain't Worried About Nothin'.") The crowd continues to swell around the VIP section--I spot a few people furiously inputting hashtags like #cokeboyz and #excusemyfrench on the Instagrams they're taking--until the area is so dense with bodies that he feels comfortable enough to take off his shades, since no camera flashes are getting through the thicket.
Surrounded by an entourage that knows all the words to all his songs and is clearly stoked to belt them out in a live setting, French holds court above all who come to visit--a gesticulating publicist, the rapper Eve who poses for photos through one and a half songs--as the sound system continues to flicker on and off. His ad libs get boozier and boozier as the night wears on, until he's dropping his trademark "HAAN!" in most of his sentences. "That shit blow the mother fucking speakers out or what?" he asks after the second time the music shuts off. "Please don't tell me--aiiiiiight," he says when the speakers die out a third time before immediately starting back up again. (There's a metaphor there about how we're having to wait even longer to hear the album.) He's having fun like a normal person might, despite all the pageantry, which is enough to make the evening more about the party than the listening.
Critical Bias: French was thoughtful enough to ask me whether I wanted a sandwich during the interview we were conducting. (I declined.)
Random Notebook Dump: FutureShirt/LoudSounds (while marveling at someone wearing a hybrid leopard print/acid wash button-down with spikes on the shoulder)