Originally slated for release on August 19, French Montana's new album, MC4, will now be released on October 14.
According to Montana, the album is being delayed due to sample clearance issues, a hiccup many hip-hop artists have experienced right before their release date, but Epic Records chairman and CEO L.A. Reid tells a different story.
During a call into the Rap Radar podcast with hosts Elliott Wilson and Brian "B.Dot" Miller, Reid offered the following explanation:
"We still have some work to do. French is incredible and a beloved artist. He deserves a real moment of monster success. And that's what we're aiming for. And we didn't want a calendar to dictate that for us. We want it to happen organically and naturally."
So, basically, the label decided that Montana's new album didn't have enough buzz behind it and they were fearful that low first week numbers would be a PR nightmare.
Riding high off the success of DJ Khaled's No. 1 album and their magical charting trickery (compiling loosie single releases as a playlisted album), the label's decision to temporarily shelve the album (except at Target, oops) is understandable. The house that Reid rebuilt has had a tremendous amount of success in 2016, so if holding MC4 for seven more weeks will help it prosper then everyone involved, French included should support the move.
What's strange about this decision, though, is the perception there's no hype behind French. While the album's second single, "Lockjaw," only peaked at No. 73 on the Billboard Hot 100, the song has to date racked up 14 million streams on Spotify and it's accompanying video has been viewed more than 35 million times. If by October 14, a new hit single and video have not been released, this move might just backfire.
What's a rap artist signed to a major label not named Drake, Kanye West, J. Cole or Kendrick Lamar to do? Well, there's always the Frank Ocean route.