Evan Nabavian will run through your team like Jerome Bettis

Years past there came a rapper from lands distant who landed in America to reap the bounty of the South Bronx. He adopted its manners and dress, partook in the wares of its bodegas, and mimed local bards like Slick Rick and Tim Dog.

He took the name French Montana so that those who caught his name on the wind or found one of his mixtapes underfoot outside S.O.B.’s would know his debonair (“French”) and his love of 1998’s The Horse Whisperer (“Montana”). He toiled in anonymity as a battle rapper and as the portly host of the Cocaine City street DVDs, but he sought the opulence of kings.

Night upon night, he sulked on street corners wishing for jewels and liqueurs and the notoriety they afforded. One such lonely night, a djinn manifested from the sodium-lit atmosphere in a wifebeater, braids, and a powder blue Yankee hat.

“Haaannn!” said French.


“Caviar and courvoisier are fleeting pleasures!” roared the spirit. “I’ll grant your wish, but temper your avarice and seek instead long term relevance like E-40! Remember the fate of DMX! And Ja Rule! And B.G.! And Fabolous! And Xzibit! And Mims! And-”

“Haaannn,” said French, his hand outstretched. And when the djinn vanished in a puff of purple vapor, French felt in his back pocket an Activis promethazine bottle whose gold label promised chart success with each drop.

He drank a third of the bottle. Immediately he felt the resplendent sword of destiny within his reach and rushed to the studio to record “Shot Caller” with Harry Fraud. Unremarkable if not grating, the song nevertheless gave renown to the name French Montana and word of his exploits spread throughout the land. Mighty sovereigns like Rick Ross and Diddy sponsored him and showed him a world of privilege and comfort.

A year later, French found himself in need of another hit to satisfy the expectations of his patrons. So again he drank the djinn’s magic draught as he tried not to think about who was going to sign Chinx Drugz. A night and a day later, French peeled his face off a Versace pillowcase to discover that he had recorded “Pop That” featuring Rick Ross and Drake. Markedly more offensive than “Shot Caller,” “Pop That” brought unto French prominence such that he stood shoulder to shoulder with the potentates to which he once aspired. He selected a queen from the house of Kardashian — albeit not his first choice — and in a symbolic rite, the mighty Jennifer Lopez commissioned his talents for a track.

And even as French sat with the world at his feet, he felt the clawing undertow of sobriety while new phenomena like “Danny Glover” and the Shmoney dance carved at his kingdom. Defiant, he drank the last of his elixir and let the empty prescription cough syrup bottle slip from his hands. Without fail, French made “Don’t Panic” with the foremost hitmaker of the ratchet age, DJ Mustard. At its center was a catchy nasally squawk: “Real niggas getting cake. / Watch the fake niggas hate.” And another jewel was added to his crown.

Not long after, he and his comely Kardashian separated and French set about promoting Mac & Cheese 4. He took stock of his conquests, possessions, and admirers and tried to ignore his sickly misgivings about when or if his next hit might come.

We rely on your support to keep POW alive. Please take a second to donate on Patreon!