Rap heavyweight balances personal revelation with hard-hitting collaboration…

French Montana has been through a lot. A 2003 shooting left the rapper at death’s door, and that brush with the ever-lasting has formed the backdrop of his subsequent success. New album ‘They Got Amnesia’ is perhaps his most open and autobiographical statement, a product of a turbulent two years, lockdown introspection, and – perhaps – a long-standing desire to truly express himself.

The record opens on the hospital ward, the beep of life-support falling into early LP highlight ‘How Are You King?’. Opening with a flurry of punchy solo cuts, Montana is perhaps correct to re-assert his own artistry before broadening the project – what follows is a collaborative workout, one that places all-time greats against newgen artists.

‘They Got Amnesia’ contains a string of unforgettable highs. Kodak Black’s turn on ‘Mopstick’ doesn’t hold back, while features specialist Ty Dolla $ign links with the sizzling Latto on club banger ‘Striptease’.

Doja Cat and Saweetie team up on the muscle-bound ‘Handstand’, and it’s curious to hear Lil Durk go deep alongside bars from the late Pop Smoke on ‘Stuck In The Jungle’ – especially given the recent endemnity between Durk and Montana.

A record primed with talking points, ‘They Got Amnesia’ was robbed of one of its central facets this week, when Drake pulled his much-anticipated track in the wake of the AstroWorld crush. It’s an understandable gesture – one that prompted social media rumour his bars were actually aimed at new-found friend Kanye – but it leaves a ‘what if…’ hanging over the album’s run.

Ultimately, ‘They Got Amnesia’ succeeds in its ability to balance punchy, straight-up rap with a tinge of the bittersweet. ‘Appreciate Everything’ spins the record’s braggadocio around, while the reflective ‘Losing Weight’ ends the record by placing a lump in your throat.

A brave return from a modern rap icon, ‘They Got Amnesia’ re-asserts French Montana’s role as one of the MVPs in 2k21 hip-hop.


Words: Robin Murray

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