Rising MC Chaz French has been gaining attention over the past few years since his debut mixtape, Happy Belated, was released in October 2014, with a series of strong singles and collaborations with fellow D.C. artists such as GoldLink and Wale. Today, French is keeping that momentum going by signing a new joint label deal with Motown/Capitol Records and his 368 Music Group, co-founded by singer Raheem DeVaughn, and the release of his first single under the deal, “Way Out,” which Billboard premieres below.
“Way Out” sees French driving a spare beat into a hyped up overdrive with forceful vocals touching on struggle, survival and aspiration, showcasing the individuality of his delivery. The song will serve as the lead single of his forthcoming debut album, which is set for a spring 2017 release.
“I’m happy for my label 368 and I love my new Motown family,” French, who was born in D.C. and raised in Maryland a and has endured both homelessness and a near-fatal car crash in his past, said in a statement to Billboard about the deal. “I’m super excited to represent the DMV. It’s not just about me, it’s about all of us.”
French is also the latest addition to the Motown/Capitol hip-hop ranks, which have been growing steadily in recent years and picked up again lately. In 2015, Atlanta-based label Quality Control Music signed a joint venture with Motown/Capitol, delivering OG Maco and eventually Lil Yachty to the major; following the release of their sophomore album Culture with 300 Entertainment, Migos joined their QC labelmates at Motown/Capitol last month; and most recently, Rich Homie Quan signed aboard at the end of February, with his own debut album due this spring.
Check out Chaz French’s new song above, and keep an eye out for his debut in the next few months.