French Montana dropped a new mixtape with DJ Drama last week appropriately titled Cocaine Konvicts/Gangsta Grillz. If you have been sleeping on French Montana and his partner Max B, wake up now. They’re responsible for some of the most interesting mixtapes to come out of New York in 2009. Beyond the horrific, nightmarish images, violence, drugs and guns— we all like some gun shot sound effects in our rap music, right? The sound here is remarkable, cinematic, moody, and funny. French Montana was born in Morocco, and grew up in the Bronx. I came across a footage/trailer for one of his Cocaine City DVDs sometime in early 2008. Montana was pretty much under the radar as an emcee (known more for his DVD business than for his mixtapes, Live From Africa, etc.) until sometime last year when he linked up with Max B (poor Max B is currently holed up in a jail cell somewhere in Hackensack, NJ pending a 75 years or life sentence.) The two began collaborating on songs, both of them rapping and singing over beats by Dame Grease and other less known producers. Montana and Max released the mixtapes Coke Wave, Mac Wit Da Cheese (Montana), and Quarantine (Max B) this year. “In The Morning” is from French Montana’s Mac Wit Da Cheese mixtape and “All My Life” is from Max B’s Quarantine tape — easily two of my favorite rap songs of the year. The tracks here should serve introduction to Max & French. Both are at their best on these tracks, in my opinion. The first leak from Cocaine Konvicts/Gangsta Grillz “Playin’ In The Wind” continues the Coke Wave tradition (Coke Wave 2) brilliant sing-along chorus with great/good enough rap verses. French Montana recently signed a deal with Akon’s label Konvict Music. If only for a moment Akon would stop popping bottles with models and watching them drink, they’ll do a mixtape title Live From Africa part 2 or something. Look for French Montana’s album next year, and pray for Max B.