French Montana's voice is literally hypnotizing. Much has been speculated about why, of all people, a 27-year-old rapper from the Bronx who raps like he's got all the marbles in the Western Hemisphere jammed into his mouth and openly admits he's not the most lyrical cat in the kennel has been tapped to be hip-hop's Next Big Thing, but mark my words: French Montana is going to have the number one album in the country soon. It's because he's got the voice of a fucking goddamn angel. If French were a superior court judge, people would appeal their own victories just for a chance to hear French's honeyed hues in person. It is that wonderful to hear him speak.
His magic voice is taking him places; in January or so, French invented a word by accident, and that word was "fanute." The line it comes from goes: "From the hoopty-coupe to that Ghost, dog," but people tended to interpret French's syllable-dropping as "fanute." Last week, The New York Times wrote an article about "fanuting." French found out about the hullabaloo about an hour before he and I met, and he tweeted "Fanute" to celebrate the occasion.
I spoke with French at Big Daddy Studios (the private studio of P. Diddy, whose label French is signed to), where French was recording tracks for Excuse My French. While we talked, I was mainly paying attention to his voice, and he was mainly eating a Chipotle burrito and checking his direct messages on Twitter.
Can you tell me about the word "fanute?" Have you read the article?
Yeah, I seen it...I kind of feel flattered that I could just come up with a word by mistake and people put it in the newspaper. I feel like I'm getting somewhere now. I feel like my work is getting across. But you know, I feel it's time to fanute. Fanute is the new thing. I'm running with it.
You've been rapping for so long. It feels like you've built a real concrete path to this moment.
I just feel blessed, you know? To still make it. I feel like a lot of people have been doing it longer than me, and there's no way in there. I just feel like it takes time. You come here fast, a lot of people don't know how to handle it. Even people you think come here fast, they ain't come here fast. They've just been grinding for a long time, and I feel like you just gotta know what this shit is about. By the time you get it, you'll understand it. Hopefully you have enough experience to last.
What kind of burrito did you get?
Oh you know, just regular shit. Chicken burrito, onions, tomatos, cheddar cheese, buncha bullshit.
Did you go into the Chipotle yourself?
Is that hard? That adjustment between being able to go anywhere to having people come up to you?
Yeah, now especially—now that I'm getting a little buzz—I can't do a lot of stuff just on safety purposes. Sometimes, when I'm out, I try to do everything for myself. I kind of got away from that habit.
You were in Miami for a while with Rick Ross. How was that?
It was dope. Ross is my brother, I'm always there working on the music. I love it, but it's too much partying in Miami. It's hard to get any work done. Almost impossible.
What do you and Ross do down there?
We fanute. We just fanute in Miami. Fanutation.
People use that word for so many things. If you had to define it, what would you say?
Um...man...definition would be "Fanute - whatever." It's whatever you love doing. Like "wavy." Every time we make words, they make the newspaper.
How did "wavy" come about? It was you and Max B, right?
When he get drunk, he get wavy. So he was a Silver Surfer. Wavy was his thing. He was a blast. Funniest guy you could ever work with. Ever, ever. There was one like him.
He's in jail. Do you talk to him still?
Yup. Still have a good relationship with him, with his mother, everyone. Max was my friend. God put people through certain things, but he'll be alright.
Who do you have working with you on Excuse My French?
I have Puff and Ross executive producing my album—fanuting my album.
Puff owns Ciroc. Do you like that stuff?
Yeah, I love it.
Do you get it for free because you're on Bad Boy?
Nah, I get free Ciroc because I'm a Ciroc Boy. They cut me a big check. I'm already on the ads.