Nestled in the middle of Brooklyn, Complete Rehearsal Studios are pretty quiet on a Tuesday evening besides French Montana's "Famous"—a personal favorite of his friend JAY-Z—playing on loop in one of the rehearsal rooms. French's dancers barely leave the room except for one who has to use the bathroom, and their choreographer Laurieann Gibson is standing outside in the February chill, wearing a fur while talking on the phone. The next day will be showtime, with French taking the stage with The Roots for a performance on Jimmy Fallon's "Tonight Show."
French and his longtime friend Cokeboy Max arrive about an hour later. French has his own brand of Ciroc vodka (French Vanilla), has been nominated for Grammys, and has a single song that's been streamed a couple billion times (yes, you read that correctly). Yet, when reflecting on his still-growing career, the Bronx-by-way-of-Morocco native says his proudest moment comes from philanthropy. Montana recently teamed with Diddy, Ciroc and few friends to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a hospital and take care of medical needs for women and children in Uganda.
"When me and Puff did our deal - shout out to Dia [Simms, president of Combs Enterprises], shout out to Erin (Harris, senior vice president of Blue Flame), the whole Ciroc team. Shout out to everybody that helped with the whole thing. They always believed in whatever I was doing outside [of music]. As far as the charity work I did for Uganda they were all the way with it.
"They were like 'whatever French Vanilla sells, we're gonna give some of the proceeds to all of the mothers and children that don't have health care,'" he continued. "When I went to Uganda, it touched me a certain way. I said whatever I can do, I'm going to come back and help these people. It was an experience that I felt was my biggest accomplishment to date. I gave a hundred grand, we gave them a hundred grand off of French Vanilla. Puff gave a hundred grand. The Weekend gave a hundred grand. And a lot of people helped. Now we're able to take these two rooms that were only able to help two people at a time, now we got a hospital that's three stories with 50 rooms that could touch 300,000 people. These are all women that were having traditional births and kids who needed the right health care. Me going to sleep at night knowing I helped that many people is a blessing."
In the rest of the interview, French Montana talks about his friendship with Jay-Z, reacts to the arrest of suspects for his friend Chinx's murder, and teases a secret joint project to possibly drop later this year. Watch the interview above.