It is hard to imagine music without Drake.

For over a decade, he's been one of the most influential figures not just in Hip-Hop but in music period. He went from a child actor to Lil Wayne's protege to a G.O.A.T. in his own right. Drake's consistency and diversity are what keeps him at the top of the mountain.

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French Montana Is the Worst Rapper of All Time

The rapper claimed to have more hits than Kendrick Lamar, but his hits are popular solely thanks to his famous friends

French Montana is like the weakest link in a group project.

His fellow group members are always top tier workhorses, talented pop stars budding with inspiration and a relentless work ethic to match, and Montana is able to skate by with full credit. "Unforgettable," Montana's biggest self-proclaimed hit, features hardly any of the rapper at all, while Swae Lee's vocals do all of the heavy lifting. The song is a bop, but not because of Montana. "I got a hard head but her ass soft," Montana raps during his brief appearance. "Cause I pulled out a million cash told her plank on it."

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MUSIC

French Montana Is Still Bad at Rapping

"MONTANA" was meant to be his magnum opus, but the project is a slog, with Montana's celebrity friends overshadowing him at every turn.

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French Montana has forever bemused the public with his inconsistency.

On one hand, he's a scrupulous tastemaker and has an uncanny ear for hooks and instrumentals. His projects are historically bloated with guest appearances, but Montana has an arresting ability to bend artists to his will in a way DJ Khaled never could. "Unforgettable" established Swae Lee as an unexpected dancehall star, success he ultimately morphed into a successful solo career. "Lockjaw" proved that the now semi-canceled Kodak Black could be more than just a mumble rapper if given the chance to shine.

But on the other hand, French Montana has always been one of hip-hop's most tepid lyricists. His lyrics are usually either drowned out by layers of auto-tune gurgles, and the words you can hear are often cryptic metaphors devoid of any consistent thematic meaning to tie them all together. "Put the needle in your ass, keep they table green," he raps on "Montana," the intro to his eponymous third album. "Multi-millionaire, strapped like O-Dog, can't teach new tricks to old dogs."

MONTANA is a budding commercial success, but its best moments are when French serves as the project's conductor rather than emcee. "Writing on the Wall" is absolutely infectious, "Wanna Be" finds the post-hiatus PARTYNEXTDOOR in full command of his reggaeton sensibilities in a way not seen since 2018. Gunna's woozy vibrato floats effortlessly along the Harry Fraud-produced "Suicide Doors." But MONTANA's biggest strength is also its biggest flaw. The project actively caters to the talent it's hosting, and while it makes for a handful of satisfying radio-ready singles, the double-album is a slog that regularly stifles its host.

French Montana - Writing on the Wall ft. Post Malone, Cardi B, Rvssian www.youtube.com

"Twisted," produced by Juicy J, is a classic Crunk reinvention, and while Juicy sounds right at home, guest features from Logic and A$AP stumble as the emcee's try to navigate uncharted waters. "Out of Your Mind" reunites French and Swae Lee for what is essentially a carbon copy of "Unforgettable."

French uses MONTANA's grand scale to demonstrate versatility, but his identity gets lost in the excess. It's a problem the rapper faces often, and while his ability to unite an expansive roaster under one roof has earned him a substantial number of hit records, it still remains to be seen how much creative substance can actually be accredited to him. He's clearly doing something right; Harry Fraud, Max B, and the late Chinx are just a few of French's label mates that exemplify the emcee's brilliant ability to foster untapped talent, and he's highly respected within hip-hop's upper echelon.

French Montana - Wiggle It ft. City Girls www.youtube.com

Irritatingly, it's not as if the emcee doesn't have a plethora of interesting life experience to write about. He's a Muslim immigrant who recently returned to his home country of Morocco for the first time in 20 years. He's had a series of strange album mishaps, and most recently was hospitalized with severe stomach pain, nausea, and increased heart rate. The rapper and LACSD additionally refused to disclose any information as to what caused the illness, but Montana has since been placed on month-long bed rest.

"The most interesting material in his life gets misused or unmentioned," wrote Pitchfork of Jungle Rules, and unfortunately the same appears to be true with MONTANA. Vulnerability could be the emcee's greatest ally, but he instead often settles for braggadocios contention: "Stunt like Muslim, I don't eat. I cop the Lam'," he raps on "Saucy." "When I get hot head and cold feet, I got heat 'em up." The missed opportunities for reflection deflate his music into recyclable party tracks, but while he has plenty of awards and accolades that may disagree, the rapper has yet to release anything with staying power.

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Exclusive Interview | RedOne talks new song "Boom Boom"

RedOne collaborated with Daddy Yankee, French Montana, and Dinah Jane in this epic banger.

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"Life and good people. Positive people," inspire a song for RedOne.

We were fortunate enough to sit down with the powerhouse producer RedOne to hear his take on his new song "Boom Boom." Possibly one of the most epic collaborations I've seen, RedOne worked with Daddy Yankee, French Montana, and Dinah Jane on this one. The music video is equally epic taking place in Los Angeles, Marrakesh, among other places suggesting that this song will transport you to parties all over the world. The video follows two girls visiting parties in beautiful tropical places all over the world complete with jets with colored smoke, horses, and a lion. Daddy Yankee, French Montana, and Dinah Jane each takeover a part of the song showcasing their unique abilities but also fit seamlessly together in the hook. The mastermind behind the whole operation says that "life and good people. Positive people," inspire a song for him.

Specifically, "Lady" by Modijo inspired "Boom Boom" for RedOne. He says, "I always want to use part of an old hit and make it my own." Beyond his keen ear for music, in my opinion, his energy is what makes his music so special. He told me, "It comes from my personality. I'm all about positivity and spreading love and since I'm a musician, producer, and artist, I use it as my vehicle." RedOne also values the light and unique things his collaborators bring to the table. Of French, Daddy, and Dinah he says, "It's a blessing. It was amazing because everybody brings something different to the table and the mix becomes so unique and so special."

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This is in no way RedOne's first rodeo when it comes to collaborating and writer's rooms. Having worked with a laundry list of household names RedOne is responsible for a number of hits like Lady Gaga's "Just Dance," Nicki Minaj's "Starships" and more. I figured he'd have some pretty amazing stories from the writer's room. He says, "There are too many funny stories, but one of them is when Enrique [Iglesias] gets hold of your phone and starts texting people randomly and puts you in weird situations." Enrique Iglesias was featured on one of RedOne's recent albums and the two had collaborated before that as well. Clearly they have a funny relationship. With everyone knocking on his door to collaborate, RedOne says that he chooses collaborations based on the artist and on songs he's already written. "Sometimes the songs dictate who it suits, and sometimes the artist inspires me to start from zero and create something tailor-made."

RedOne grew up listening to everything which is perhaps part of the reason he can produce across so many genres. "R&B, Rock, Soul, Pop, Classical, Flamenco, African music to Middle Eastern," were just some of the genres he was drawn to, arming him with a catalogue of inspiration to chose from. He told me that he started his career as an artist in Sweden, but "had too much music in my head and the only way I could get it all out is to produce for other artists." Commonly seen on stage I wondered if he might have some pre show rituals or practices to help keep the nerves away. He says, "I always make sure I laugh, I relax, and I pray. And I keep my mind focused on what I need to do. And then I have fun with it!" Sounds like the best kind of plan to me.

We've seen RedOne for almost a decade and "Boom Boom," is proof that he's as versatile as ever and is always evolving. He tells me, "Life is always giving you new experiences and impressions and constantly influences your writing. You always grow and develop. Positivity and good energy is everything to me." This positivity shines through in his countless hits from "Born This Way" to "Stupid Love," and now in "Boom Boom." Everything RedOne touches is a celebration.

With such passion and positivity RedOne's definitely on my dream collaboration list. New artists rejoice, RedOne believes in developing new talent, "Right now I'm working with Enrique Iglesias, and Daddy Yankee, among others, and I've been developing some new talent that might be tomorrow's biggest stars. They have the potential to become the next big thing. Right now I'm focusing on hit singles, and that will eventually develop into an album." If you loved "Don't You Need Somebody" then definitely keep your ears open for their next collaboration.

Love RedOne? Follow him on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

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Rihanna "Work"

Sex sells cars, beer, music, Kylie Jenner lip kits, herbal teas, deodorant, toothpaste, HBO — pretty much everything...

Do you remember a time when you were underage and had to create a fake YouTube account so you could watch restricted music videos? Or do you remember getting kicked out of the computer lab for watching D'Angelo's "Untitled (How does it feel?)"? I do! Since the beginning of time, sex is the name of the game. Sex sells cars, beer, music, Kylie Jenner Lip kits, herbal teas, deodorant, toothpaste, HBO — pretty much everything, and music videos are no exception. It might look like Britney Spears is counting her steps, but really, she's using her impeccable abs to convince you to buy from an assortment of candy-scented perfumes. Conspiracy theory? I think not! I went ahead and did the dirty work for you and picked ten of the raunchiest music videos of the last decade.

N.E.R.D. "Lapdance" (2009)

Where are all my N.E.R.D. fans at? Star Trak! Star Trak! The Neptunes are responsible for a lot of early 2000's rap hits, some you might not even realize. "Lapdance" is one of their raunchiest songs from their debut album In Search Of. The video is sleazy and features a young Chad Hugo, Pharrell Williams, and Shay Hayley.

Christina Aguilera "Dirrty" (2011)

We know it's dirty because it's spelled with two r's. When Christina Aguilera isn't screaming at the top of her lungs, she's screaming at mid-range just in case you can't hear her. "Dirrty" was Christina's break into sleazy pop music, short, school skirts and caged boxing rings where women fight for equal rights! Just kidding, but maybe for equal camera time. Some critics said it was too much and an awkward transition into her adult persona.

Iggy Azalea "Mo Bounce" (2017)

I put "Mo Bounce" on the list because having a young girl dance in an otherwise sexually charged music video is WRONG. JUST WRONG IGGY! Someone forgot to tell Iggy that the presence of children on set doesn't somehow negate all of the ass shaking. If you can sit through her devastating "blaccent" at least you'll get to peep some exceptional backsides.

Miley Cyrus "We Can't Stop" (2013)

Remember when Miley Cyrus was on Disney as the wholesome country singer Hanna Montana? God, that wig was horrendous. It's not hard not to see why "We Can't Stop" is the classic good-girl-goes-bad conundrum, or more specifically, Disney-girl-makes-out-with-a-barbie-and-then-angers-several-moms-on-her-world-tour. Yeah. Miley found herself in the deep end before the life jackets were supplied.

Jeniffer Lopez "I Luh Yah Papi" (2014)

Folks, this is the female gaze. Jennifer Lopez flips the script in "I Luh Yah Papi" and puts the camera on men. If you're a heterosexual dude and it makes you uncomfortable looking at half-naked men, think about all the media portraying naked women. Ooo la la. Subverting sexism in the music industry is so naughty.

Robin Thicke "Blurred Lines" (2013)

"Blurred Lines" is a really creepy song that slightly promotes rape culture, along with Pharrell William's classic make-a-hit-for-summer formula. (And some argue it ruined Robin Thicke's career and marriage.) But with that aside, the video is also a creepy spectacle of the male gaze, some type of male fantasy where supermodels can't find shirts or hobbies outside of smizing for the camera. The unrated, NSFW version is only viewable on VEVO. You're welcome.

Rihanna "Work" (2016)

Is it me or does every Rihanna song rely on animal noises for the chorus? "Work, work, work, work, work, work!" "Wild, wild, wild thoughts!" "Ella, ella, eh, eh, eh." "Work" is a sexy song with a sexy video, so sexy I feel weird watching it in public. What's better than Rihanna in a mesh maxi dress twerking while staring at herself in a mirror? If you try to tell me motherhood, I'm coming for you!

Beyonce "Partition" (2014)

"Partition" is Beyonce strutting around for her man Jay-Z. What makes the video so provocative is that marital couples, especially power couples like Beyonce and Jay-Z, tend to keep their personal affairs private, and here we are given a very intimate look into Beyonce's and Jay-Z's sexual repertoire.

Nicki Minaj "Anaconda" (2014)

"Nicki, Nicki, Nicki, put it in your kidney!" She needs no introduction. We know Nicki for her cutthroat lyrics, outrageous style (which she's recently toned down), and her voluptuous backside. Let's just say in "Anaconda," Nicki isn't shy to show herself off or challenge sexual stigmas against women's bodies.

Kanye West "Famous" (2016)

Kanye. Oh sweet, sweet Kanye. He loves attention almost as much as we love giving it to him. And "Famous" is brilliant for breaking the fourth wall and observing the dynamic between fame, celebrity, and privacy. A naked Taylor Swift, Donald Trump, and wife Kim Kardashian are shown as eerie wax figures for our viewing pleasure. Someone get the popcorn, and someone print a copy of Laura Mulvey's "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema." Voyeurism has never been this much fun.

There's nothing wrong with a provocative art, nothing wrong with a little bit of skin, and nothing wrong with Nicki Minaj showing us her backside. I just recommend maybe not watching these videos in the computer lab while your teacher circles the room.

D'Angelo Untitled (How does it feel?)

Shaun Harris is a poet, freelance writer, and editor published in avant-garde, feminist journals. Lover of warm-toned makeup palettes, psych-rock, and Hilton Als. Her work has allowed her to copyedit and curate content for various poetry organizations in the NYC area.

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