French Montana

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About French Montana

When French Montana arrived in the Bronx from Morocco at 13, he imagined himself alongside the legends of the borough: KRS-One, Big Pun, Slick Rick. It was the late '90s, and he wasted no time immersing himself in the culture of his new home. “The Bronx is the Mecca of hip-hop. I landed from Africa with KRS-One on the left side, Slick Rick on the right,” he said to Apple Music, before adding, “You never would have thought hip-hop would get so big back then.” Yes, he’s talking about the genre as a whole, but he could just as well be awestruck by his own worldwide success. The rapper born Karim Kharbouch emerged backed by two giants of the industry; he inked a joint-venture deal with Bad Boy Records and Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group in 2012. Montana began his career as a battle rapper before releasing a plethora of mixtapes and, in 2009, a still-classic collaborative album with cult legend Max B. He earned the street cred, but now he’s a star. His 2019 LP, Montana, officially established the Coke Boys label boss as a genuine phenomenon in the hip-hop world. His success lies in a preternatural ability to synthesise gritty rap techniques into pop formats, skyrocketing him up the charts with hits such as the Swae Lee-featuring “Unforgettable” and the Drake-assisted “No Stylist”. Still, no matter how huge the shows get or the size of the private jet he takes to get there, French Montana will always be a Bronx boy made good.

Casablanca, Morocco
9 November 1984
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