Mac & Cheese 5

Mac & Cheese 5

Longtime French Montana fans and mixtape aficionados know the Mac & Cheese imprimatur well. Within and beyond the Bronx, 2009’s Mac Wit Da Cheese and its successors—along with his other series and one-offs—made the Coke Boys rapper’s name in the streets. Over the years, the installments arrived with a certain amount of excitement and fanfare, with the ill-fated MC4 intended as his second proper album until 2016’s leaks made that an impossibility. Nearly eight years later, thankfully, he returns to the saga, defiantly and with perhaps its most robust entry yet. Reflective of Montana’s respected stature in hip-hop’s elite circles, Mac & Cheese 5 boasts features from a sizable number of recognizable names across its hour-long duration. Given his history and often star-studded discography, the presence of formidable figures like Westside Gunn, Buju Banton, and Kanye West here make sense. Even so, there’s something undeniable about what these features bring out in him as one of rap’s most cocksure performers, not to mention what he gets from them in turn. On the standout “Splash Brothers,” he forms a nefarious yet dope trio with Lil Wayne and Rick Ross. Another repeat collaborator, Lil Durk, joins in for the uncompromisingly dark yet brutally frank “Money Ain't a Thing.” Interestingly enough, the inveterate hip-hop curator gets some of his best bars off when his other famous friends aren’t around. On “Talk to Me,” he makes pointed punchlines out of hedonism and opulence. A fine example of betting on himself, “Casino Life 3” calls back to another Montana mixtape brand, exuding luxury and celebrity at every turn.

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