The best part of a Song of the Summer candidate is just how low the stakes can be. French Montana, a B or C-list New York rapper whose best work can be found on free mixtapes, is an MC with a mush-mouth delivery and an unremarkable persona. Yet here he is, quietly releasing one of the best songs of the year — “Choppa Choppa Down (Remix)” — and watching it finally pick up the momentum it deserves. French can thank his more famous friends for the boost, as Rick Ross (whose Maybach Music Group could be French’s next home) and Wiz Khalifa deliver verses that lack depth but more than make up for in form and attitude.
But back to those low stakes. “Choppa Choppa Down” is all tough talk, a sledgehammering hook and little else. It’s an ode to machine guns yet it thrives in large part because of its chorus, a hook of pure horsepower. Essentially, it's an incessant chant that sounds and feels like an adrenaline rush. French hits every "Choppa" and "Down" with such force while Wiz adds a simple dose of drawn-out melody to create a brilliant night-and-day effect. What I like most about “Choppa” is it's proof that a song doesn’t need a shimmering, million-dollar hook or lyrics about fun in the sun to transcend to summer-anthem status. It just needs to encapsulate a top-of-the-world feeling that ultimately leads to less inhibitions and more dumbing out. When we look back at this summer, “Choppa” probably won’t be remembered as 2011’s “California Gurls,” but it’s a nice, darkhorse addition to the annual race.