French Montana

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French Montana
Birth nameKarim Kharbouch[1]
Born(1984-11-09) November 9, 1984 (age 28)
Rabat, Morocco[2]
OriginSouth Bronx, The Bronx, New York City, New York, United States
GenresHip hop
Years active2002-present
LabelsCocaine City, Bad Boy, Maybach Music Group, Interscope
Associated actsCoke Boys, 2 Chainz, Diddy, Future, Juicy J, Max B, Maybach Music Group, Rick Ross, Waka Flocka Flame
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French Montana
Birth nameKarim Kharbouch[1]
Born(1984-11-09) November 9, 1984 (age 28)
Rabat, Morocco[2]
OriginSouth Bronx, The Bronx, New York City, New York, United States
GenresHip hop
Years active2002-present
LabelsCocaine City, Bad Boy, Maybach Music Group, Interscope
Associated actsCoke Boys, 2 Chainz, Diddy, Future, Juicy J, Max B, Maybach Music Group, Rick Ross, Waka Flocka Flame

Karim Kharbouch (born November 9, 1984) better known by his stage name French Montana, is an American rapper born in Morocco.[3][4][5] He is the founder and CEO of Cocaine City Records. In 2012, he signed a joint venture recording deal with Maybach Music Group and Bad Boy Records. Montana is known for his frequent collaborations with Max B, and more recently with Rick Ross along with his group Coke Boys, which consists of rappers Chinx Drugz, Cheeze and Flip.

His debut album Excuse My French was released on May 21, 2013.[6]


Early life[edit]

French Montana was born Karim Kharbouch in 1984 in Rabat, Morocco,[2] where he lived for the first 13 years of his life. Growing up, he was consumed by playing football and rapping, describing them as his two favorite childhood hobbies.[7]

French is also often reported as being of partial Somali descent. Asked about the rumors during a phone-in interview with Nomad Radio, a UK-based Somali radio station, he indicated that both of his parents were Moroccan but that he has Somali ancestry as well.[8][2]

In 1996, French emigrated with his parents and two younger brothers to the Bronx in New York City.[9]

Music career[edit]

2002–2011: Cocaine City Records[edit]

In 2002, along with his friend, Cokeboy Los, French created a series of street-flavored mix tapes called 'Cocaine City' after drawing inspiration from the 'Smack' DVD series. Under the name Young French he used the DVDs as a means of showcasing his talent as an underground artist. To gain a broader fan base, French incorporated interviews with major artists, as well as some up and comers. The first edition in the series included Pee Wee Kirkland and Remy Ma alongside French himself among others. What started out as simply a medium for developing an audience quickly grew into one of the top-selling "street DVDs".[4][9][10] The series ran for 8 years between 2002 and 2010, with a total of 14 editions being released.[11]

Between 2003 and 2004, French was shot in the head as he was exiting a recording studio in New York. He was rushed to the hospital after the incident and survived. Describing the shooting as a possible assassination attempt, the artist was subsequently involved in a murder trial in which he was eventually found not guilty. Rumors began to swirl that he had received settlement money from the case, which he then used to start his rap career. However, French later dismissed these claims as false in an interview.[12]

In 2009, French signed a deal with Akon's Konvict Muzik record label. He later left the company in 2011 due to album delays.[13] Montana was subsequently reportedly close to signing a deal with Rick Ross's Maybach Music Group (MMG).[14] There were also reports that he would join Kanye West's GOOD Music label.[15]

2011–present: Bad Boy Records; Maybach Music Group; debut album[edit]

In December 2011, French signed a record deal with P. Diddy's Bad Boy Records[16] and Interscope Records.[17] According to French, of the many major labels that were courting him, Maybach Music Group would have been his second choice had he not signed with Bad Boy.[18] However, on January 2, 2012 while in the studio with Rick Ross, French announced that he had signed a joint venture deal with Bad Boy Records and Maybach Music Group. Rick Ross and Diddy are set to executive produce his debut album.[19]

French was featured on XXL's Freshman Class of 2012 alongside Future, Kid Ink, Danny Brown, Macklemore, Don Trip, Hopsin, Iggy Azalea, Roscoe Dash and Bad Boy label mate MGK.[20][21] However, he later revealed to Sway Calloway on RapFix Live that he almost turned down the cover opportunity, feeling he "deserved it two years ago" and that he had surpassed the current crop of rap rookies.[10][22]

In October 2012, it was announced that French's debut album Excuse My French would be released on May 21, 2013. His mixtape Mac & Cheese 3 was released shortly afterwards, on November 19, 2012.[23] French also plans to release a mixtape titled Medusa with fellow rapper Future.[24] The second single is "Freaks", which features Nicki Minaj.[25] He was featured in Issue #82 of The FADER and appeared on the cover.[26]


According to French, the rappers Tupac Shakur, Nas, Snoop Dogg, The Notorious B.I.G, 50 Cent, and the Wu-Tang Clan were among the hip hop artists that he listened to while growing up.[27][28] He also considers himself a general music lover,[28] and is an admirer of the work of singers Amy Winehouse and Adele.[27]

Personal life[edit]

French is Sunni Muslim , having been raised in Morocco under the Maliki madhab, or school of thought. In an interview for Vlad TV which took place on the first day of the Islamic Holy Month Ramadan, French revealed that he participates in fasting during the month.[29][30] He also speaks several languages, including English, Arabic and French.[27]

In 2007, French married Deen Kharbouch. The couple later separated.[2] He cites being a father as one of his driving inspirations.[27] French also describes himself as passionate about fashion, investing in designer wear from Versace, Gucci, Fendi and Louis Vuitton.[27]


Studio albums


  1. ^ MidEast Dynasty (December 7, 2011). "French Montana is a "Shot Caller"". Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Hollywood Life - French Montana". Hollywood Life. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Letter, The (May 31, 2011). "French Montana recruits Jadakiss for a "New York Minute"". Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Mendez, Marisa (April 7, 2009). "Reviews: Top 5 Dead or Alive: French Montana". Retrieved April 23, 2010. 
  5. ^ "French Montana Reveals Nationality & Speaks On Bad Boy". Retrieved March 7, 2013. 
  6. ^ "French Montana's "Excuse My French" Pushed Back Again". Retrieved March 8, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Stupid Dope interview with French Montana". January 27, 2012. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  8. ^ "French Montana telephone interview". Nomad Radio. December 20, 2009. Retrieved March 8, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Mendez, Marisa (August 11, 2009). "French Montana: Akon's Bullet". Retrieved April 23, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b "French Montana Wasn't Gonna Do' XXL Freshman Cover". March 8, 2012. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  11. ^ Higgins, Keenan (January 2, 2012). "Who Is French Montana?". Retrieved March 26, 2012. 
  12. ^ French Montana Talks Record Deal, Ross & Akon
  13. ^ [1][dead link]
  14. ^ French Montana to Maybach Music?[dead link]
  15. ^ Harling, Danielle (October 21, 2011). "Pusha T Talks G.O.O.D. Music Compilation, French Montana Possibly Signing To G.O.O.D. Music | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHop DX. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  16. ^ "French Montana Officially Announces Record Deal with Diddy’s Bad Boy Label". January 27, 2012. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  17. ^ Interscope - French Montana
  18. ^ "Hip-Hop Rumors: French Montana Signed Joint Deal With Bad Boy AND MMG!!??". January 4, 2012. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  19. ^ "French Montana and Rick Ross Celebrate With Champagne From 1996". January 4, 2012. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  20. ^ "XXL Freshman Class of 2012". January 3, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  21. ^ "XXL Freshman Class Includes French Montana, Machine Gun Kelly". February 29, 2012. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  22. ^ Sydney Lace (March 9, 2012). "French Montana Almost Rejected the XXL Freshmen Cover!". Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Mixtape Release Dates: Curren$y, French Montana, Fabolous, Los". Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  24. ^ "French Montana Calls 50 Cent A ‘Donkey,’ Announces New Tape With Future". Retrieved November 26, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Check Out the Artwork for French Montana's Next Single "Freaks" Featuring Nicki Minaj". Complex. January 24, 2013. Retrieved March 8, 2013. 
  26. ^ "French Montana: Homecoming". 
  27. ^ a b c d e Peña, Loris (28 August 2012). "Monsieur Montana". STATUS Magazine. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  28. ^ a b Shull, Zac (February 6, 2012). "French Montana: Talks Indie Grind, Diddy's Business Sense & Max B". Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  29. ^ "VladTV: French Montana Speaks on Joe Budden". August 28, 2009. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  30. ^ "VladTV: French Montana". Retrieved January 7, 2013. 

External links[edit]