French Montana belted out his signature “HAAAHNNN” from backstage of his Webster Hall Excuse My French album release party at approximately 1:56 a.m. This perfect climactic break followed the anticipation that mounted just moments before: DJs Funk Flex and Bobby Trends scrambling with (seemingly) late playlists, entourages staking their territories on stage and a general social media quiet storm brewing. Hot 97 had the task of keeping the packed crowd entertained for three hours prior, including a Summer Jam tickets dance contest hosted by Cipha Sounds that ended with a winning split and a hand-stand.

Stepping up to the stage, French Montana found himself next to his Bad Boy Boss, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs. Introducing the evening as a “Celebration of a NY nigga,” Diddy acted as Montanas’s hypeman while making it rain on the crowd for the heavily rotated single “Aint Worried About Nothin.”

Following the second track, “9000 Watts,” with Coke Boys affiliate Chinx Drugz, French took a minute to pay homage to the special day of his album release: “Today is a real special day,” Montana noted. “Happy birthday to my nigga Max B; happy birthday to my nigga Biggie Smalls; and happy birthday to me when my album came out in the game, nigga!”

The concert continued as a true hip-hop royalty celebration. First up in surprises was Swizz Beatz. He made his way to the top of the stage to congratulate the Coke Boy before singing along to his produced Jay-Z shocker, “Open Letter,” and Busta Rhymes’ “Stop The Party.”

Moving things along for the “bad bitches in the building,” Montana introduced Wale to his audience of devoted fans for a treatment of “Bad.” Uncle Murda came out off the strength of his and French’s collab, “Money Work.” And Fat Joe followed suit showing support after French assisted him with snippets of “Lean Back” and “My Lifestyle.” Before stating why the two had more in common than just love for the Bronx, French stated: “When I was down and out, this one of the niggas that helped me out.”

Raekwon (The Chef) made an appearance with “Ice Cream” and their latest collab, “We Go Where Ever We Want,” featuring Ne-Yo. Hit songs “Pop That,” “Ocho Cinco” and “Paranoid” wrapped up the successful night while Bad Boy’s Andre Harrell presented French Montana with a glass-encased Platinum Plaque for “Pop That.” One million records sold. Best birthday, ever? —Jasmine “Jazzi” Johnson (@bubbleMAMI)


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