It's not hard to get hyped listening to "Once in a While," the first track on Excuse My French. The moody piano chords and vocal samples have a certain epic drama to them, like you're about to experience something big. The drums merge more on good old-fashioned New York boom bap rather than the trap you were expecting to be bombarded with all album long. There's a Kanye West vocal sample. Max B, French's early collaborator and the undisputed father to his sing-songy, "wavy" style, calls in from prison with a co-sign — the kind of nod rare in rap nowadays. French rides the beat perfectly, with a fluid melody and a vastly improved agility.
(photos from left: John Ricard / BET, Max B/Myspace)