French Montana Talks Record Deal, Ross & Akon

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 10 years ago '09        #1
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French Montana Talks Record Deal, Ross & Akon


When did you first start rapping?

It was always something that we loved doing. It got serious during ‘05 or ‘04, but it was always a hobby. [It’s like] when you with your homeboys and everybody’s rapping. When I went in the studio and laid it down, it was a good experience. When you’re from the hood, and you love music, you’re always gonna be rapping. Hip-hop should be a part of your whole life. Everybody gonna think they can do it one time [in their life]. That phase just fades out.
Who were some of your musical influences?

Number one was Tupac. I liked Snoop, B.I.G., and Nas. That was my generation. It was a blend of everything [in '90s hip-hop]. That’s when Wu-Tang was hot. That was my era. I know they had the era of the Rakims, but that’s for everybody that’s 30+. My era is 30 and under with the Wu-Tangs, Nas, Big Pun—just that era.
How would you describe your style?

Musically, I’ll describe it as what you go through day-to-day. When you first start, and I feel like everybody goes through this, you try to read books and come up with the best words and lyrics or take in whatever you see. Then you get to a certain stage in your life you want to make music that you want people to feel like, "Damn, I just went through that!" That’s how I put my music. I want people to listen to it and be like, "Damn, that’s how I’m feeling today." When you wake up feeling like this, you throw on this song. That’s how I make my music—by what I’m going through or how I’m feeling.
OK, that's your music. What about your personal style?

We hear you have a closet full of minks. Where does that infatuation come from?

I love them. I’m African—King Jaffe Joe [Laughs.]! Since I been doing it, I see a lot of rappers are trying to bring them back. Stop swagger-jacking!

I hear you almost got k*lled early in your rap career. What happened? And did you really get your career started with the settlement money?

I got shot coming out of a studio. It was about ‘03-’04. I guess somebody had a hit out on me, and I came out the studio and got shot in the head. I ended up in the hospital. It was murder case that I was dismissed off. No, [there wasn’t any settlement money to start up my rap career]. People will spread all kind of rumors.
Have you kept in contact with Max B during his prison sentence?

Yeah, I spoke with Max B yesterday. He’s good. He’s f*ghting for his appeal. Hopefully he’ll be released soon.
How did you and him become friends?

Through a couple of close friends that we both knew.
Last year, you had a pretty public beef with Jim Jones. Is that dead now or is there still a little animosity there?

Nah. I’m getting money and he’s getting money. [The situation involving the hit on my head] had nothing to do with Jim Jones.

How did your Cocaine City DVD movement come about?

[Cocaine City started up] with me and one of my best friends, his name is Camz. One day, we were sitting down watching Smack DVD drinking and smoking, and we were like, "Man, we can do this." We knew a bunch of rappers that said let’s go get it. I did my first one with Pee Wee Kirkland, Remy [Ma], a couple of other people, and then I threw myself into the mix. After that, it was history.
You were signed to Akon’s Konvict Music label for a while. What ever happened with that?

Akon tried to help me out. He gave me a shopping deal. A shopping deal is when an artist takes a liking in you, and they try to take you to a label to get you signed. I was gonna go get signed to his label, but they were going through problems with Interscope, Akon’s label over there. [As a result], my deal was over with him, so I went and did my own thing.

You also have a mixtape with Waka, Lock Out. How did that project get started?

Me and [Waka Flocka] have the same management. That’s like my brother, so me and him just got together and was like, ‘Let’s drop a mixtape.’ It was an idea we had and we just did it [with Drama and Green Lantern].

What were those recording sessions like?

We was getting drunk and high. It was crazy. It was a lot of fun doing it.
How did you end up getting on the Maybach Music album?

Ross [extended the invitation]. We recorded in Daddy’s House one day. He just called me over. He let me hear the whole album. He said, ‘What song you like?’ I told him which one I liked ["Big Bank"] and he told me to put a verse on it. He called me three days after. like, "Look, I need your name on this." That was it.
Prior to your signing with Bad Boy, there were rumors that you had deals with Maybach Music and with G.O.O.D. Music on the table. Any of those factual?

My album is going to be executive produced by Puff and Rick Ross. It’s gonna be co–Bad Boy/MMG.
Maybach’s a part of my deal. [Other labels that pitched deals] was G.O.O.D. Music, Roc Nation, Sony, Def Jam, Interscope—if you can name them, it was on the table. [The decision to go to Bad Boy came] when I sat down with Puff. He let me get anything I wanted. He met everything I wanted. When I sat down with everybody else, they were still kind of like [hesitant on meeting my deal demands]. For Puff to bring Rick Ross to be a part of my situation was excellent for me. My album is going to be executive produced by Puff and Rick Ross. It’s gonna be co–Bad Boy/MMG.
Speaking of Kanye, didn’t we see you backstage at the Watch The Throne tour?

Kanye invited me there. Shout-out to Kanye. He’s definitely one of my inspirations and I look up to him. I appreciate everything he did. Definitely shout-out to Jay-Z and Kanye. They’re legends. I had fun that day. I was just kicking it with them since they invited me to come.
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 Who Is French Montana? | Complex


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