The Epic Records roster welcomes their newest signee: French Montana. The Bronx-bred rapper joins L.A. Reid’s family with plans to release his sophomore set Mac & Cheese: The Album later this year.
Since the announcement of Epic’s partnership with Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Bad Boy Records last October, there have been some key names in hip-hop joining the label helmed by chairman/CEO Antonio “L.A.” Reid and president Sylvia Rhone. In January, Rick Ross left Def Jam Records after 10 years and eight studio albums to join Epic. In April, DJ Khaled’s We the Best Music Group—his own label, studio, management, and production company—signed an exclusive deal with the label, where the Snapchat extraordinaire will be releasing his next album Major Key.
— French Montana (@FrencHMonTanA) May 5, 2016
Now, Montana, who is riding off the success of his collaboration with Fat Joe and Remy Ma’s “All The Way Up,” has solidified his own place on Epic after finding that he and L.A. shared mutual respect during their initial talks last year. “He’s one of the good ones,” French tells Billboard of Reid. “I love how he’s so attached to the music. A lot of chairmans out there, a lot of entrepreneurs can’t do what he do. When I met up with him, I played him the music. He just told me the right place for me to go is over where he’s at. He’s gonna give me a million percent support.”
Though it’s been three years since Montana’s debut Excuse My French, he’s been supplying his street-oriented fan base with mixtapes — including a collaboration with Fetty Wap and the Max B hosted Wave Gods — to hold fans over. Singles that generated buzz for Mac & Cheese included “Don’t Panic,” “Bad B—h” featuring Jeremih and “Lose It” co-starring Rick Ross and Lil Wayne. Montana says the album will have the same feel as his ‘tapes, but the sound will be more soulful and “a mixture of all different drums and 808s.” He’s confirmed features from Max B, the late Chinx, Miguel and Kanye West. One record in particular “Mercy” features Beanie Sigel, Jadakiss and Styles P. “Those are three of the hardest that ever come out of the East Coast,” he says. “I wanted to do something crazy.”
Although Montana’s résumé is stacked with collaborations alongside a wide range of artists, nothing would mean more to him than to reunite with his incarcerated friend Max B for another collaboration. “All I really want is Max to come out so I can work with him,” he says. “Me and Jeezy just did something. Me and Jay did something. Me and Nas — that worked out right. Unless you talkin’ about some country music [collaborations] or something. [Laughs]”
French’s longtime mentor, Diddy, also praised the MC’s track record. “French Montana is a proven Hit Maker,” Combs said in a release. “When I first heard him, I knew he had that special Bad Boy sound and I believed in his potential. He was on the fast track then, and now, to see how far he’s come, he’s a major force in Hip-Hop and a key member of the Bad Boy Family. Bad Boy is known for creating the biggest acts in hip-hop – and French is not only a part of our legacy but now also a part of our new chapter at Epic Records.” Montana will also take part in the Bad Boy Family reunion tour shows at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn on May 20 and May 21.
While there’s no official single from Mac & Cheese, Montana has been mulling over the idea of an A-side and B-side throwback single release for “Figure It Out” featuring ‘Ye and Nas or “Lock Jaw” with Kodak Black from Wave Gods. In conjunction with his label announcement, Montana even released the “Figure It Out” video, directed by Eif Rivera. With a new label home for Mac & Cheese, it’s only a matter of time until the “Coke Wave” returns. “Just get ready for the tsunami,” he says. “Things are about to get real.”