Salam Alaykum, the standard Arabic greeting translating to “Peace be unto you,” is the only track on French Montana’s latest album, Montana,with an Arabic title. Additionally, his whole album is one showcasing Montana’s consistent efforts in bridging his Moroccan roots with the music industry. The song begins with a fading angelic voice presenting a cryptic message for the audience before the drop of the song. No man’s a forest even if he tries to be/ I’ve seen your insides, they’re colorful/ But you’re not an island even if you try to be one with me/.
Montana has reclaimed his Moroccan identity with this album, as he has already shown to be more in touch with his roots after the releasing of tracks Unforgettable featuring Swae Lee and Famous in previous album Jungle Rules. Through this song, Montana is portraying his internal struggle with being Moroccan and bringing his music to the American public, however, he should never change himself to be something he’s not. The angelic voice could be representative of one in his head that is encouraging Montana to stay true to his roots as it is easy to fall in the trap of making music to be hip in the industry, one that may only bring temporary success. The unique experiences Montana has gained, and the culture he was raised in is something he is encouraged to take pride in and incorporate in his music.
By example, I lead/ Young legend when I leave ah/ Wallahi/ Shake, shake ‘ em up, shake / As-salāmu ʿalaykum/ That pressure don’t break/ It don’t matter what you do / Man, they still gon’ hate you
As one of the first rappers of the African Diaspora, and reclaiming his culture within America, he announces that he will be a legend because of it. Wallahi translates to I swear by Allah, and by him making that commitment, its vindictive of Montana’s commitment to the industry and staying true to his roots. While Montana might be criticized for his blending of his culture with American hip hop culture, he recognizes that people will be overly political everywhere and anything he does may be criticized by a certain group of people. The Outro is a child stating “French Montana, they ain’t gon’ like you.” Montana acknowledges this reality of criticism, however, and he has wished “Peace be unto them” and is going to continue to be a part of the music industry for his desires only.