Who is French Montana?
Karim Kharbouch, who is more popularly known by his stage name French Montana, is a Moroccan-American rapper. Also the founder and CEO of Cocaine City Records, Montana has released two studio albums in his career so far. His first album ‘Excuse My French’ earned much appreciation and popularity. It debuted at fourth position on the US Billboard 200. After four years, he released his second album ‘Jungle Rules’. Born in Rabat, Morocco, Montana immigrated to the US with his family when he was a teenager. He initially began his career by making street DVDs of his work. A few years later, he released his first mixtape ‘French Revolution Vol. 1’. Throughout his ensuing career, he has continued to bring out several successful mixtapes such as ‘Cocaine Convicts’ and ‘Cocaine Mafia’. He has made collaborations with popular rappers such as Max B and Rick Ross as well. He has named Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg to be among his favorite rappers whom he listened to growing up. He is an admirer of the works of English singers Adele and Amy Winehouse, as well as the American singer Lana Del Rey. He is also known for owning several exotic pets. He once bought two endangered Bengal tigers, though he shortly gave them up, as he found it immensely difficult to take care of them.
Childhood & Early Life
Karim Kharbouch was born on 9th November 1984 in Rabat, Morocco. From his early years, he used to be quite enthusiastic about soccer and rap music.
He left for New York City in 1996 along with his parents and younger brother Zack. Shortly after, his father left the family and went back to Morocco. His mother had to depend on welfare in order to support herself and her children.
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French Montana began his career as a battle rapper in 2002 while he was still a teenager. Along with a close friend, he created a series of street DVDs called ‘Cocaine City,’ which featured interviews with major rappers, as well as new and upcoming ones. It also focused on street music.
He used the DVDs to display his musical talent as well. The series, which he ran with the help of several childhood friends, ran for a total of eight years.
His debut mixtape, ‘French Revolution’ was released in 2007. It included collaborations with rappers Uncle Murda, Jae Millz and Tony Yayo. The following year, he released his second mixtape, which was named ‘Live from Africa’.
The same year, he collaborated on a mixtape, ‘Coke Wave’ with rapper Max B. It was released on February 2009. He continued working on, and releasing several other mixtapes over the ensuing months. His tenth mixtape ‘Coke Boys’ was released in September 2010. The track ‘Choppa Choppa Down’ turned out to be a hit in clubs as well as radio.
He collaborated with Rick Ross on his album ‘Self Made Vol. 1’. Along with rappers such as Jeremih and J. Cole, Montana also made a guest appearance in the album. Over the course of his career he made several other collaborations with other rappers as well.
In June 2012, he released the song ‘Pop That’ which was supposed to be the first single from his debut studio album ‘Excuse My French’. Along with his fellow rapper Rick Ross, it also included guest appearances from popular rappers Drake and Lil Wayne. It peaked at No. 36 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
His debut studio album ‘Excuse My French’ was eventually released on 21st May 2013. It debuted at number 4 on the US Billboard 200. It also sold 56,000 copies in its first week of release, becoming one of the most successful works of Montana’s career.
His second studio album ‘Jungle Rules’, which is also his most recent work, was released on July 14, 2017.
’Excuse My French’ was the not only the debut studio album of French Montana, but can also be regarded as the most significant work of his career so far. It was released in May 2013. The album featured several popular rappers such as Diddy, Drake, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Scarface, and Snoop Dogg. Debuting at number 4 on the US Billboard 200, the album was a huge hit. It sold 56,000 copies in its first week of release, and within three years it sold 177,000 copies.
’Jungle Rules’, which was the second studio album by him, was released on 14th July 2017. It included guest appearances from popular rappers Travis Scott, Young Thug, Max B, and Pharrell Williams. It featured singles, such as ‘Whiskey Eyes’, ‘Unforgettable’, and ‘Bring Dem Things.’
Awards & Achievements
French Montana has won the BET Hip Hop Awards twice, first in 2013, for ‘Best Club Banger’ for his song ‘Pop That’, and then in 2016, for ‘Best Collaboration’, for his song ‘All the Way Up’.
Personal Life & Legacy
French Montana married Deen Kharbouch in 2007. They have a son. The couple separated and finally divorced in 2014.
Montana was shot in the head in 2003, as he was leaving a recording studio. He survived, though he had to spend several weeks under treatment. He believes that he was set up by someone close to him.
In 2013, his convoy was the suspected target of a drive-by shooting in Philadelphia. The incident left one bystander dead and another one with injuries.
French Montana has an estimated net worth of $8 million.