French Montana Confirms That Kanye West Tried To Sign Him Just Hours Before Diddy

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 6 years ago '06        #1
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French Montana Confirms That Kanye West Tried To Sign Him Just Hours Before Diddy
 

 

The prolific rapper explains how has found peace to be far more lucrative than beef. He also states, "90% of the music that ever came out of New York by artists that were successful was the gangsta."

Donít underestimate French Montana. The Uptown emcee has been running for nearly 10 years, making money off of music through his pioneering Cocaine City DVD series. Heís been through the trenches, beefing with major artists and still came away clean. Since 2008, heís released 13 mixtapes, put the conflict behind him, and just recently signed to Diddyís vaulted Bad Boy imprint. French Montana has logged his 10,000 hours and accumulated boundless insight. Now heís primed for the limelight.

In this interview, HipHopDX spoke with Coke Boys captain about New York Cityís ďgutter music,Ē collaborating with down South rappers, why beefing in the industry is never a good thing, and what surprises him about Hip Hop.
French Montana Explains Evolution From Cocaine City DVDs

HipHopDX: To many, French Montana is a newer name on the scene. But you started the Cocaine City DVDs in 2002 as a platform for you to get your music out. Youíre almost a decade in. Youíve clocked your 10,000 hours. Do you feel like a new artist?

French Montana: Yeah, I feel like the old me died and the new me came out. I feel like that happens with a lot of artists.

DX: What would you consider the old you?

French Montana: The old me is just the person whoís trying get on; whoís doing everything and touching everything. The position Iím at now is like youíre on and youíve got to prove yourself. So the old me that was trying to get on died. The new me thatís trying to prove himself is active right now.

DX: You have a level of prolificness that I think is difficult for a lot of artists to maintain. Youíve dropped 13 mixtapes since 2008. Your hustle is apparent. How do you continue to stay creative?

French Montana: Just keeping my ear to the street and staying updated with everything. Keeping with people thatís grounded. Thereís always new fashion, thereís new music, thereís new styles. Styles donít stop coming out. If youíre a kid growing up, thereís always gonna be new jackets, new sneakers, new everything. So I switch my style. When the styles change, I change with it.

DX: Thatís like that line in the Social Network: "fashion never ends. Style never ends."

French Montana: Yeah, style never ends so you have to keep with people that are still in style. Iíve got the best of the best with me. My team is just everybody thatís down with everything.

DX: At the end of the ďShot CallersĒ video, thereís a scene where youíre sitting down in the back of a bodega with a mop in your hand. Youíre kind of daydreaming. It feels like youíre daydreaming about what life will be like when you get on. Then the manager comes over to you and questions why youíre sleeping on the job, asking, ďYou still trying to be a rapper?Ē

French Montana: That scene right there kind of reflects for everybody thatís trying to rap but still has a regular job and they keep telling people, ďIíma start rapping,Ē but theyíre still working there. Theyíre still trying to prosper. I felt like that [scene] right there touched a lot of people. I feel like, just because you have a regular job and Hip Hop music ainít paying yet, you shouldnít quit because it can kick in when you least expect it. As far as me, for the time that I was grinding, I feel like some people get it the easy way and some people get it the hard way. I was one of those people that had to work hard. I donít mind it because I appreciate it. I ainít gonna make the same mistakes that I wouldíve made if I had got on two years in. I feel like everything played out the way it was supposed to play out. Nothing ever happens when you want it. It happens when itís supposed to.

DX: You did an interview with HipHopCanada.com and they asked you if life is getting easier for you. Hereís what you said: ďLife started getting easier for me when I found my hustle. I feel like once you find your hustle and you stick to your grind, life will get easier. It may not get easier right away depending on your hustle, but it will get easier as long as you stay consistent in persistent in whatever you do.Ē Thatís a pretty motivational statement. Itís an unrelenting way to look at progress as a whole.

French Montana: Definitely, man. You shouldnít do nothing you donít love for the rest of your life. As long as you find something that you love out there and you just do it and stay consistent, you might reach levels that you never thought you would reach. Iím sure Kobe Bryant wouldnít be Kobe Bryant if basketball wasnít his first love. I feel like when people force you to do something or work somewhere that you donít feel like doing youíre never going to reach your full potential. Thatís how I look at. Thatís my whole personal experience and Iím sure thatís your experience, too.
French Montana Claims That New York's Success Is Because Of Gangsta Rap

DX: Absolutely. I think youíre a lot more insightful than people give you credit for. Especially with street music, I donít people appreciate the insight that goes into the music first. Especially right now. If you look at Billboardís Top 20 HipHop/R&B songs, there are not many artists that are confined to the street music space. You said this next statement in an interview with Good Fellas Media: ďI never knew no music to come out of New York except for the gutter music. So I was raised on that. If you look at everyone from Big Pun to Wu-Tang [Clan] to Fat Joe, I donít think weíve ever had Pop music in New York. So itís kind of like Iím just following that same step.Ē You forced me to really think about that one. You have artists like De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest for example, who are certainly not Pop, but I wouldnít classify them as ďgutterĒ either. But for the past 15 years or so - especially when considering new artists from New York who broke on a national level - you make a solid point. Is that a handicap to a degree?

French Montana: Yeah of course. Ninety percent of the music that ever came out of New York by artists that were successful was the gangsta music. The other 10% might be Pop, but just look at it, man. Even if you go back to KRS-One to Rakim, everything that came out till now, you can probably name two groups that were Pop. And now they try to say that you have to be more than one thing. Youíve got to be Pop and Hip Hop. I donít agree with that. I think that if ainít broke donít fix it. Thatís history. All youíve got to do is rewrite history with something new - new styles, new material, new movement. Thatís what I think about it.

DX: Youíre getting a lot of traction collaborating with artists from the South. Youíre managed by Mizay Entertainment with Waka Flocka Flame and Gucci Mane. New York was initially cold on the Southís prominence in mainstream music. But now it seems like New York artists are having more success coming with a Down South sound. A$AP Rocky for example, or yourself, or even The Diplomats. Dipset made a joint in 2004 called ďCrunk Muzic.Ē Even Nicki Minaj, whoís probably your closest contemporary from a strategic standpoint --

French Montana: -- I mean, I enjoy it. I donít know how everybody else feels about collaborating with "down South" artists. I enjoyed doing a whole [Lock Out ] mixtape with Waka Flocka [Flame]. I enjoyed doing the whole [Cocaine Mafia] mixtape with Three 6 Mafia. I feel like all youíre doing is exercising your hustle, exercising your rhymes, exercising your style. I canít see certain rappers from New York doing a whole down South mixtape. Thereís not a lot of artists that could drop a mixtape with Waka Flocka together or with Three 6 Mafia together. I like doing sh*t out of left field, that people will be like, ďOh, he really just did this?Ē I think thatís what keeps it exciting. If that donít keep it exciting, the closest thing youíre gonna come to that is dissing somebody to get attention. I came from a long history of doing that so I ainít gonna do that no more. Everythingís working good.

DX: Is that really left field, though? It it really left field to gravitate to a sound thatís popular everywhere?

French Montana: Of course. Thatís like if you saw a blog that said, ďFrench Montana and E-40 are doing a mixtape together.Ē That would be crazy! I just like trying different things, tapping into everybodyís market. I still look at it as a hustle. I donít look at it like how everybody else looks at it: if youíre nice you get on, if youíre wack you donít get on. It donít happen like that. Talent is one thing, but if you work hard, you can beat that challenge.

DX: Does that equal longevity in your opinion? Is hustle the formula for longevity? There are a lot of rappers who have a nice run and I think if there is a ďnewĒ artist that has the potential to achieve longevity in this environment it would be you because youíve already achieved it. Youíve got ten years already. But is hustle alone the new formula for longevity?

French Montana: You have to understand, a lot of these rappers get comfortable. The reason why a lot of these n*ggas ainít hot is because [they arenít consistent]. Whenís the last time youíve seen some of these cats drop mixtapes? Now thereís one like every six months. Everybody thatís on right now, you donít see nothing about them on the Internet. Thereís nothing. People arenít following you. For me, I never stopped; they just grew with me.

DX: It is refreshing to see your strategy. I canít think of another New York artist off top thatís done a mixtape with Three 6 Mafia or tracks with Trae Tha Truth.

French Montana: Nah. And then every time I do anything, everybody try to do it right after. I ainít tryna throw no shots at anybody, but I come out of 106 & Park with the mink vest. I look on the Internet a week after and everybody got a mink vest on.
French Montana Says Beef Makes You Less Money

DX: So what happened to drama king French Montana? You spent a lot of time in the middle of last decade beefing with artists, f!ghting in clubs. What prompted the change?

French Montana: Beefing is always gonna slow your money up. When you start beefing, everybody is gonna stop trying to spend money with you. You scare people away. Itís a lot of things that happen when you start beefing with people.

DX: Were there any positive effects? From a distance, it seems like many people were introduced to you when your conflict with Jim Jones and Hell Rell started.

French Montana: I think a lot of people were introduced to me through beefing, but when did I get more popular?

71 comments for "French Montana Confirms That Kanye West Tried To Sign Him Just Hours Before Diddy"

 6 years ago '06        #2
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DX: Right. It makes sense. You did an interview with Jenny Boom Boom before you announced the Bad Boy Records signing. In that interview you said you wouldnít sign to a rapper. You said: ďIím hotter than them right now. If you really look at it, you might have more money than me, but if you really look at the Coke Boy movement, it is what it is.Ē You were talking to a number of labels. You had the shopping deal with Akon that didnít go the way that it could have. What was the defining reason that solidified you getting down with Bad Boy?

French Montana: [Diddy] is a billionaire. Let me brush shoulders up with a billionaire. Let me make a quick 300-500 million. If youíre smart enough, you might make more than that. I donít look at Puff as a rapper. I look at him as a brand. Heís gonna guide me in the right way, let me know where the moneyís at. Heís got time. Heís hands on with everything. He be on top of everything all the time. I felt comfortable. I just felt comfortable and didnít care what people were saying.

DX: Have you been in the studio with Puff yet?

French Montana: Yeah, definitely. We did the ďShot Caller RemixĒ together.

DX: Have you had one of those Diddy moments where he just starts screaming on his artists like The Band or something?
French Montana: Man, hell no! [Laughs] I think me and Diddy got a different relationship, you know. I think me and him got a different relationship.

DX: You mentioned that Kanye West called you up before you signed. Was he trying to sign you or was that just a temperature check?

French Montana: Nah, he was trying to sign me. Every label was trying to sign me before I got with Puff. So that goes to tell you that I was really comfortable with what he had on the table for me.

DX: Youíve got the album, Pardon My French on the way. Youíve mentioned previously that youíd love to work with ďweird charactersĒ like Cee-Lo and Coldplay. What is the album going to sound like, and how will it compare to those 13 mixtapes over the past three years?

French Montana: My thing is that it doesnít matter who I work with. I could work with anybody. Carrie Underwood, anybody. As long as I keep the music the way it sounds, that gutter music, I donít feel like Iíll ever disappoint my fans.

DX: This weekend, tragically, Slim Dunkin was murdered down in Atlanta. How has that affected you and how are things in the Mizay camp?

French Montana: I think it affected everybody. He was our bro. I think thatís a real emotional subject. I think itís affecting everybody.

DX: That was a real solemn announcement in such a big week for you; in such a big week for the camp. I was sad to hear that and my condolences go out to you, Waka, to the crew, and to his family of course. Itís also been a really big year politically speaking in North Africa and in the Middle East with the Arab Spring uprisings. Youíre from Morocco originally. You moved here when you were 13-years-old. Has any of that had any effect on Morocco from what you know of or from any of your family thatís there?

French Montana: That ainít got no effect on me.

DX: You did an interview with The Village Voice and Philip Mlynar asked you whatís the biggest surprise between Morocco and New York. And you said, ďThe drugs.Ē

French Montana: [Laughs] Yeah, it is. Over there, itís not as much. Over here theyíre more loose with it. Over here itís crazy.

DX: Now youíre officially mainstream now. Youíre signed to a major label. Youíve got all the access that only four or five companies can offer. Youíve got investment, which is one of the biggest part to solidifying your hustle. Youíll have national access to radio play. Youíll have access to Carrie Underwood. Does going major have any role at all in Cocaine City or Coke Boys or French Montana? Do you expect have as much control as youíve been able to flex over the past 10 years?

French Montana: Yeah. That was part of my contract. I have to have the same thing.

DX: You donít expect any concessions? You hear the story of the independent artist made good gets signed then all of a sudden the musicís changed.

French Montana: It always be like that, but that goes to getting signed and they put whatever it is they want on your contract. It comes with a lot. But I donít expect that.

DX: Are you signing Uncle Murda to Coke Boys?

French Montana: Me and [Uncle Murda] is talking. Definitely, heís like my brother. So I definitely want him in the movement. Weíll pull it together.

DX: This last question is a standard question I ask anyone with perspective. I think perspective comes when youíve had a career and have actually had a chance to do this. Regardless of whether this is the first time people are hearing you, you absolutely have perspective. You understand all of this from an angle that youíve kind of pioneered: the DVD as a platform for the album. Youíve been through the trenches and now youíre signed. With everything that youíve seen, what still surprises you about Hip Hop?

French Montana: I donít really think nothing, really. I think itís exactly what I found out about it. I think what a lot of people donít understand is that it took me however long to get on just to realize that the machine is what really controls this whole sh*t. It was no way that I missed out on a lot of sh*t that I missed out on last year or the year before that. It makes you think that youíre not good enough. But you are good enough. Youíre just not with the right people. Thatís what I think.

 6 years ago '07        #3
Root Of Evil 56 heat pts56
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good read..
 01-11-2012, 09:57 AM         #4
Dos-effect 
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and yo stupid a.ss when with Raping U records....over Kanye?...Dumbest move ever
 01-11-2012, 10:02 AM         #5
TheMob 
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Kanye after listening to that verse on stay scheming prolly like ;


[pic - click to view]



 6 years ago '11        #6
CamoBoxers 20 heat pts20
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[pic - click to view]

 6 years ago '05        #7
Garnet & Gold 42 heat pts42
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Thank God that didn't happen.
 6 years ago '11        #8
pbballin 20 heat pts20
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thank you lord he didn't sign with Ye!!!! After diddy fu*ks up him and his money in a year....he will try to get back at Yeezy like uh you remember that time u wanted to sign me?
 6 years ago '11        #9
Officer William 7 heat pts
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kanyes better than that
 6 years ago '05        #10
Bobby's World 9 heat pts
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"I don’t look at it like how everybody else looks at it: if you’re nice you get on, if you’re wack you don’t get on. It don’t happen like that. Talent is one thing, but if you work hard, you can beat that challenge".

And this is where I exit the thread and disregard the rest of this conversation. Thanks.
 6 years ago '10        #11
SoFresh170 27 heat pts27
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10 years and he just got signed? sheesh i aint know that. i just heard about this n*gga maybe like 3 years ago
 6 years ago '11        #12
The One N Only 16 heat pts16
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not saying i wanted it to happen but french montana is dumb as fu*k to choose diddy over kanye
 6 years ago '07        #13
Sleazy 2 heat pts
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Bold the part in your title n*gga I ain't trying to read a whole novel on this wack emcee.
 6 years ago '06        #14
realgunta 704 heat pts704
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french montana is TRASH
 6 years ago '11        #15
ZeusSlaps 774 heat pts774
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Free Biggaveli

 01-11-2012, 01:51 PM         #16
soulsociety28 
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that n*gga is the new hook king !
 6 years ago '05        #17
GUNIT-FINEST 
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not one rapper beside biggie has ever been something with diddy what a fool man i take damn near anyone over diddy .
 6 years ago '05        #18
A~team 1 heat pts
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i fu*ks wit french he makes enjoyable music..n i doubt he gon let diddy fu*k his money up i think he's smarter than that.
 6 years ago '09        #19
trock34 93 heat pts93
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thank you Diddy
 6 years ago '11        #20
DRAGONFLY JONES 131 heat pts131
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im quite sure he had lawyers to read over the contracts to make sure he aint gettin r*ped..i do think diddy will promote the hell out of him and have his album out asap..unlike what kanye is doing with the artist on his label..and diddy probably offered him the most money up front..dude aint wanna be up under another rapper he wanted to be on his own ..so i aint mad at him

the difference between him and other badboy artist was them n*ggas was thirsty when they got signed and took what ever diddy offered them...hes already on so diddy had to step up and give what he wants

even the LOX considered going back with diddy at one point but they buzz died so it didnt happen
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