Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

French Montana ft. Nicki Minaj – Freaks

Another visit from pop’s premier cynosure-for-hire, and some bloke whose track needed a talking point with its guest verse.


[Video][Website]
[5.69]

Michelle Myers: Airhorns, droplets, claps, and healthy dose of subbass piled on top of a “Murder She Wrote” sample is pretty close to what I imagined reggaeton sounded like before I ever hear it. Everything about this is on point; French Montana is cocky and knows when to get out of the way, and Nicki Minaj leans into her harder, more intimidating side. The beat is terribly busy, but well-balanced and clear, so that every weird detail can be heard.
[8]

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: There is a lot going on here: unexpected Doug E Fresh tributes, blaring airhorns, French toasting, Nicki repping random hoods in Kingston and calling her vagina “Mufasa”. And yet this exercise in raunch feels like, well, an exercise. Recognising the recent oeuvres of the artists footing his bill, producer Rico Love follows the frantic standard set by “Pop That” (marketable feature[s], club-staple sample, general sonic mania) and Minaj’s Roman Reloaded material (gender play, focus on Trinidian roots), leaving little room for cohesion. While he’s a step above his washout of a “Pop That” verse, Rico practically flattens French with the busy-busy beat. You almost feel the A&R pressure through the song’s length, warning French that the system can’t let him make Eeyore-esque Max B tributes with mumbling choruses until he can get KOed on these skittering molly-bait instrumentals. Nicki circa 2009 does all the unnecessary heavy lifting, which boggles the mind.
[5]

Katherine St Asaph: If you’ve listened to, oh, thirty rap tracks ever, you could name at least five guys who would have ruined this more than French Montana. Some beats make up for a lot.
[7]

Patrick St. Michel: Both artists are on top of their respective game here – Nicki Minaj steals the song with a verse and one meme-ready line borrowing from The Lion King, while French Montana once again flexes his ability to headline a track despite being rap game beige wallpaper. So, uh, thank goodness for Minaj.
[6]

Alfred Soto: Why the parties involved thought looping Montana made him fascinating I suppose we’ll address if this song becomes a hit, but since it probably won’t I’ll concentrate on Minaj, who kicks up enough dust to distract the lot of us.
[5]

Crystal Leww: It floors me that Nicki Minaj is able to be a judge on wholesome family show American Idol and also still do features like this. It’s a real testament to her star power, her ability to flit between personalities with ease, and her willingness to really commit to anything. “Big fat pussy/Mufasa” is the worst type of hashtag rap, but guess what? Nicki Minaj sells it, complete with a “raaaaah” at the end. Yes, I know that this is a French Montana track, but who cares? He’s an afterthought. Nicki Minaj steals the show from the first cackle to the last “Montana!” 
[7]

Andy Hutchins: French Montana has said about two things worth remembering in his entire career, and neither is on this track, but Nicki’s having a load of fun: “You ain’t got no wins in mi casa/Big fat pussy, Mufasa” is inspired, and her Trini patois sounds authentic, while French sounds like he’s straining. Bonus: Nicki’s Birdmannish (“I don’t even say my name no more, play nigga! I don’t even say playboy no more, I say play nigga!”) outro. 
[6]

Ramzi Awn: A good addition to daytime drinking, “Freaks” makes itself at home in the same manic soundscape that saw Nicki’s “Starships” climb up the top 20, even if the synths fall a bit flat.        
[5]

Brad Shoup: Even if he had a hook, he wouldn’t know how to get to it. Best to get from singing to dancehall and back as soon as you can. As for Minaj… this is the song that should’ve been tagged “Lil.”
[3]

Alex Ostroff: Dancehall Minaj has always been one of my favourite iterations, from the Sasha-sampling “Beam Me Up Scotty” to her guest spots on Gyptian’s “Hold Yuh (Remix)” and Sean Kingston’s “Letting Go (Dutty Love).” The sublime joy of Nicki spitting over a Chaka Demus sample is attached to an otherwise mediocre song, and since Kingdom already gave us a perfect Nicki-only dub of “Letting Go,” there’s no reason we should have to sit through French Montana. That hypothetical future edit gets an [8], but Nicki and “Murder She Wrote” can only take “Freaks” so far.
[6]

Iain Mew: Not going to lie, my enjoyment of Nicki’s line “big fat pussy, Mufasa” is magnified hugely by hearing it so soon after Auto-Tuned Mufasa. My instinctive reaction that Nicki is making Tumblr in-jokes and then internal push back at the absurdity of that idea makes for one of the most weirdly joyful moments in ages. The rest of “Freaks” can’t match up, but it’s consistently fun in a noisy kind of way.
[7]

Jonathan Bogart: Is it still mid-2010, where we have to get our Nicki fix by snipping her verses out of songs unworthy of her?
[6]

Anthony Easton: I am at my friends Erik and Rachel’s house, and it’s a little past 10 a.m. Listening to this, he peeks his head out and says, “Is that Freedia?” If only.
[3]

Reader average: [6] (4 votes)

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3 Responses to “French Montana ft. Nicki Minaj – Freaks”

  1. “Katherine St Asaph: If you’ve listened to, oh, thirty rap tracks ever, you could name at least five guys who would have ruined this more than French Montana. ”

    I’m confused by this, what do you mean?

  2. French Montana is basically useless — but “basically useless” does not equal “what the fuck are you doing here, this is actively unlistenable.”

  3. I think French is the Rap Game Frank Drebin – he’s sorta useless but every now and then he gets the job done so well that you’re like “huh?”