On his latest mixtape, Wave Gods, rapper French Montana rhetorically asks the question “Why isn’t street rap selling like Kendrick?” The reference is obviously towards Kendrick Lamar, who has become a sensation in hip-hop over the past five years but especially in the year since the release of his Grammy-winning 2015 album To Pimp A Butterfly. That album’s topical subject matter seemed to touch a nerve with music fans and tap into anxieties surrounding race, poverty and other social ills, but during a recent appearance on The Breakfast Club, Montana was critical of the Kendrick phenomenon.
When asked about the line, Montana told Charlemagne The God that the industry is selling Lamar to the detriment of hip-hop.
“Because they position him, like they did at the Grammys, as the new music.” Montana said. “It’s not that it’s not the right thing to do, but you see like the whole thing was like Kendrick night. That album don’t sound like nothing that’s out – the whole hip-hop game don’t sound like that… They put him on that platform so they can shift music towards that direction.”
Lamar was nominated for 11 Grammys this year and took home 5 statues and his performance of “Blacker the Berry” and “Alright” during the show was arguably the night’s most talked about moment. After the Grammys aired, sales of Lamar’s …Butterfly spiked by more than 400%.
But don’t expect French Montana to throw his hat into that arena. When asked if he could see himself going in a more socially-conscious direction on a record, Montana offered this:
“You definitely wanna grow outside of your own comfort zone, to see what you capable of. But I’ll never jump somewhere where I can’t come back from.”