French Montana showed up at HILO last night for his Excuse My French listening party decked out in gold chains and dark shades. It’s a typical look for French, but this moment was extra special. “Thank you to everybody that came out tonight. Supporting the movement since day one” he declared. He continued by acknowledging the familiar faces that watched him grind from the bottom to the top.

After several delays, the definite date of May 21 is approaching. French wanted to throw a private get-together for all his friends and media types just weeks before his album’s release. The Ciroc was flowing—with flashing ice cubes in the glasses—and everyone seemed excited to hear the album live for the first time. Looking back at French during his years of moving Cocaine City DVDs in the streets to now, it’s clear that he's found his place in the upper echelon of hip-hop.

French didn’t mind that the speakers kept blowing out or that his microphone didn’t work all the time. When everything was a go, there were several tracks on Excuse My French that caught our attention. Peppering in his signature ad-lib before his obligatory explanations, the album has an adequate amount of hard-hitting bangers. In between French's celebration, XXL jotted down a few takeaways from his Bad Boy debut.—Eric Diep (@E_Diep)