French Montana Cooking Up Mac & Cheese 4 With Macklemore

His next mixtape transforms into a sophomore album with Kanye West, Macklemore and Rick Ross.

Years before French Montana signed to Diddy or started hobnobbing with Miley Cyrus, the "Pop That" MC was building his buzz through hip-hop's underground mixtape scene, and now that he's made it, big Montana is looking to go back to basics.

Instead of dropping Mac & Cheese 4, the next installment of the popular mixtape series he started in 2009, as a free download, Montana has confirmed that the project will be released as his sophomore album.

"I'm going back to the essence on this album," he told Rolling Stone. "We're giving the fans that grew up on me what they want. When we made the other music, it was just to be a little different and not do the same thing over."

Montana's move is interesting considering the flack that many artists get when they release critically acclaimed mixtapes as a marketing tool to set up less-than-stellar albums. It's a criticism that rappers like Wiz Khalifa (Kush & Orange Juice vs. Rolling Papers) and Jadakiss (The Champ Is Here vs. Kiss of Death) have faced before. Even French's Mac & Cheese 3 was met with more praise than his debut album Excuse My French.

Don't think for a second, however, that French will short-change fans on the production value of the album. His penchant for having big-name features will continue with a Macklemore collaboration called "Nightmare."

French also revealed that he has upcoming collaborations with Rick Ross on his Mastermind LP and Kanye West.

"We're supposed to be working on a couple of songs together for [Kanye's] album. He got a special project coming out," French said, before wishing that his incarcerated mentor could join in on the action. "The only person I wish I could work with right now is Max B."