On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN sat down with French Montana to discuss his career, relationships, and his new album.
Born and raised in Morocco, he moved to the U.S. and settled in the Bronx with his family when he was a teenager. After deciding to rap, he built a name for himself in the New York underground mixtape scene and released a series of DVDs in the early aughts called Cocaine City. In 2007, he released his first mixtape called French Revolution Vol. 1. From there, he tapped numerous DJs like DJ Drama and Big Mike to host his subsequent releases.
In 2009, he gleaned his first record deal on Akon’s Konvict Musik label. However, two years later, he left to sign a joint venture with Bad Boy and Maybach Music. After his commercial debut single “Shot Caller” charted at No. 24 on Billboard’s Hot 100 list, he released a string of successful singles like “Pop That,” “Freaks,” and “Ain’t Worried About Nothing.” His consistent string of hits soon transformed him into a mainstream star. In 2013, he released his debut album, Excuse My French, which peaked at No. 4 on Billboard. Then, in 2017, he achieved a major milestone when his single “Unforgettable,” which featured Swae Lee, became a global hit. Now, with more than decade in the music industry under his belt, he’s celebrating the recent release of his latest album, They Got Amnesia.
To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from the French Montana interview. Check them out below.
1. On “FWMGAB”
French Montana’s newest album They Got Amnesia is anchored by the single “FWMGAB.” On “Drink Champs,” the rapper explained that he created the song as a nod to his first commercial debut single “Shot Caller.” “First of all, it’s the 10th anniversary of me dropping ‘Shot Caller,’ so I made sure that I produced it the same way,” he said. “I made sure I had the horns in the beginning. You know, like New York music. I had to get back to the essence.”
2. On “Ain’t Worried About Nothin’”
In October, a popular meme circulated on social media that poked fun at Montana. Referencing the Netflix series “Squid Game,” the meme challenged fans to name five of Montana’s songs that don’t have any features. Montana later responded on Twitter with a list of his feature-less songs and promptly told his detractors to “eat a dick.” On “Drink Champs,” the rapper explained that he was facing similar criticism around the time he released his debut album. As a result, he made the track “Ain’t Worried About Nothin’” to officially silence his critics. “I think we was just going through a period where Max B got locked up and we was going through a lot of turmoil,” he said. “So, it was to the point where it forces you into a corner and you have to show them what you could do. I was feeling like the underdog. In order for me to lead New York, I needed to make something that would be a no brainer.”
3. On His Sobriety
Montana explained during the interview that throughout his career, he heavily indulged in alcohol and pills. However, he revealed that he’s officially been sober for two years and his wake up call came when he was too drunk to show up to a performance. “I think it was in Africa. I knew it was the first time that somebody paid me for something and I returned the money,” he said. “Because I felt like I was too drunk. Since I [arrived in the industry], I never turned down a bag.”
The rapper also revealed that shortly after that incident, he wound up in the hospital due to a combination of exhaustion and addiction. “The doctor told me that if I drink [again], I’ll die,” he said. “We was going hard for years.”
4. On Akon Giving Him a Fake Watch
Prior to his deal with Bad Boy, Montana was signed to Akon’s Konvict music label in the early 2000s. On “Drink Champs,” he told a story about the time that Akon gave him a watch as a gift that later turned out to be fake. “As soon as I got it, I went straight to my jeweler to trade it in,” he said. “My jeweler was like, ‘You trying to get me or something?’ He was just like, ‘My dog, this ain’t it.’ So, I was like Akon gave it to me, so it got to be right. So, I called Kon [to straighten it out]. Man, I’m still waiting.”
5. On Doing a Verzuz Battle
Though Montana has never officially participated in Verzuz, he battled Torey Lanez last year on Instagram Live shortly before the series formally launched. When asked by N.O.R.E. who he would take on if he ever participated in Verzuz in the future, Montana explained that he’s open to battling anybody. “When you talk about Verzuz, you talking about 20 songs,” he said. “I don’t care what type of catalog you have, we gon’ go song for song. And I feel like I can go up against anybody with that.”
6. On Reconciling with Jim Jones
After feuding for over a decade, Montana and Jim Jones officially buried the hatchet last year. Montana spoke about making amends with the Dipset Capo and said their beef caused them to miss out on getting bags together. “[Squashing the beef] felt good because we missed out on a lot of money,” he said. “We missed out on a lot of things we could have made history together and we could have made the culture even better. We missed out on 10 years.”
7. On “Splash Brothers” Being Pulled From His New Album
Drake and Montana have teamed up on a laundry list of tracks over the years. The pair worked together once again on a new song called “Splash Brothers” that was slated to appear on Montana’s latest album but it was apparently pulled by Drake before the project’s release. Shortly thereafter, it was reported that Drake pulled the song out of respect to the families of those killed in the Astroworld Festival tragedy. On “Drink Champs,” Montana confirmed that the reports about Drake pulling the song were true. “At the end of the day, Drake is like my brother,” Montana said. “It’s just unfortunate that [the Astroworld incident] happened and [Drake] gotta live his life. And the record wasn’t fully done yet. I didn’t expect him to get in the studio and fix the record. That would be selfish of me.”
8. On The Kardashian Curse
Montana dated Khloe Kardashian in 2014 and the couple called it quits just months later. Over the years, fans have claimed that there is a “Kardashian curse” that affects the men that the famous family gets involved with. When asked about it, Montana shot it down and said his career has continued to prosper despite his affiliation with the family. “I didn’t even know what they was talking about with a Kardashian curse,” he said. “I wasn’t [affected by] nobody’s Kardashian curse [when] I had ‘Unforgettable’ out. They’re great people.”
9. On Keeping His Dating Life Private
In addition to dating Kardashian, Montana has reportedly been linked to numerous other celebrities over the years like Trina, Iggy Azalea, and Sanaa Lathan. While the details of his previous relationships were often displayed in the media in the past, he explained that these days, he’s keeping his dating life private. “When I went through a lot of those famous relationships, it was starting to feel like I was a reality star,” he said. “And that’s when French Montana was becoming like a Hollywood thing. I was like if I’m sniping, I had to do everything on the ‘Underground Railroad.’ So, ever since then it taught me that I’m not broadcasting whoever I go out with.”