Originally published May 16, 2012 – 7:48 PM MST for Examiner.com
Moroccan born and Bronx bred MC French Montana is easily one of the most buzzed about new Hip Hop artists on the scene right now. Signed to Diddy’s label imprint and creating a debut album alongside Rick Ross he has most recently landed a spot on Drake’s Club Paradise Tour. Prior to the tour Drake told MTV News, “I want to go on tour with the most exciting artists right now, and I want to make sure that I have songs with all of them.” Good for his word, French Montana told me his first single will feature not only Drake but Lil Wayne and Rick Ross.
I had a chance to catch up with the hard working artist before he took the stage on a stop of the Club Paradise Tour on Sunday, May 13, 2012 in Denver, CO. The sold out venue was buzzing early in support of one of the most diverse representations of the new face of Hip Hop. French Montana welcomed me into his tour bus and candidly revealed his experience working with the industry’s elite.
Marian: I wanted to start by talking about your background and growing up between both the Moroccan culture and then the Bronx. How has the diversity in culture influenced you as an artist, if at all?
French Montana: “Oh, I think it’s the culture and the lifestyle that really influenced me. It influenced me in just being me, being unique. Coming here I had to get set with the hustle out here so now it’s making a lot of sense.”
M: Who was the first hip hop artist or mcee that you heard and inspired you to want to pursue a career in this industry?
FM: “I like a lot of artists but I think the one that touched me the most was probably Tupac, coming up. You know, cause that was my generation, so Tupac was mine.”
M: You’re working with Diddy and Rick Ross on your forthcoming album. What can you tell me about it and some of the inspirations and motivations behind it?
FM: “My album has just taken so long to get in a position, you know what I’m saying. And I’ve been really like, grinding all these years to get over here. So it’s kind of like we have a life story with it, with the album, especially with Puff and Rick Ross being involved with it. It just makes it so much of a big motion picture. It’s kind of like a movie of an untold story and you’ve got Steven Spielberg pulling it together.”
M: Is the release date still set for July?
FM: “Release is still set for July 17, 2012.”
M: You’re one of the most buzzed about new Hip Hop artists and you are working and touring with the industry’s most elite talent. What do you want this album to establish for yourself and your artistry?
FM: “I obviously want it to live forever, kind of like every big artist, every legendary artist that came up. I kind of want one to live forever like a Ready to Die, like a Doggy Style or one of those and kind of just set me apart from everybody. I want for it to just be like, he’s here to stay, you know, kind of like that.”
M: What is the lead single and when will it be released?
FM: “My single should be dropping real soon, like within a two week period. Shout out to Lil Wayne, shout out to Drake, shout out to Rick Ross, they all on it. It’s called ‘Don’t Stop’.”
M: What are some of the challenges you are facing currently or in this industry?
FM: “The challenge I’m facing recently is just balancing my family with the industry. It’s kind of like, you gotta stay out there doing your thing, doing whatever and it takes you away from your family. So it’s hard to balance it out but once you get it, it’s a lifestyle. You got to sacrifice to do what it is you want.”
M: Drake was quoted by MTV saying, “I want to go on tour with the most exciting artists right now, and I want to make sure that I have songs with all of them.” What has this tour experience been like for you so far?
FM: “I love it, cause all of us come out and do our own sets then we come back out with Drake when it’s all packed and it’s just that moment, I don’t know…It’s just that moment when all of us are on stage and you just be like, man! It’s when all the hard work pays off.”
M: Any more collabs in the works with Drake other than “Stay Schemin” as a result of touring and performing together on this tour?
FM: “Of course, he on my first single and we doing some other work, it’s going to be powerful man.”
M: What are your plans after you wrap up the Club Paradise tour?
FM: “Well, my album, I think I’m going to take time out and just work on my album. I think that’s going to be the time for me to just focus on my craft.”
M: Are plans in the works for a tour in the fall to support your album release?
FM: “Of course. Right now I just want to take time out and focus on my album and make sure, cause everything comes back to the music and I don’t want to take away too much from that. But again, on tour we’re doing too many things and not focusing on the music.”
M: What is your writing process like?
FM: “The most important thing is the vibe cause if you on a roll, if you feel it you just feel it. And it’s all about the atmosphere, the people around you, you know, everything. You got to be clear headed in that and have a perfect atmosphere.”
M: What are some of the messages that are going to come out in your album? Is it more thematic or a collection of songs?
FM: “It just, motivational music, it just motivate everybody out there.”