New York’s rapper French Montana is the hottest rapper to come out of NY since the early 2000’s. Last year, this 28-year-old Bronx native signed a deal with Diddy’s Bad Boy Records. Montana started Cocaine City DVD, back in 2003. The primary focus of the DVD was to showcase his talents and give other up and coming artists a chance to let their voices be heard and talents be seen. The DVD also included interviews from major rappers from New York, Philly, Atlanta, Miami and New Jersey. Within the first few months of launching his DVD, Cocaine City grew and became one of the fastest and best-selling “Street DVD’s,” which nearly sold one million copies to date. The success of “Cocaine City” DVD series helped launch Montana’s career as a rapper. HipHopDX recently caught up with Montana. He talked about the old French Montana vs the new French Montana, how he is staying afloat, New York’s gangsta rap, working with artists in the South, beef and more. Below are some excerpts:
On being a new artist. Yeah, I feel like the old me died and the new me came out. I feel like that happens with a lot of artists.
On the old French Montana. The old me is just the person who’s trying get on; who’s doing everything and touching everything. The position I’m at now is like you’re on and you’ve got to prove yourself. So the old me that was trying to get on died. The new me that’s trying to prove himself is active right now.
On staying afloat. Just keeping my ear to the street and staying updated with everything. Keeping with people that’s grounded. There’s always new fashion, there’s new music, there’s new styles. Styles don’t stop coming out. If you’re a kid growing up, there’s always gonna be new jackets, new sneakers, new everything. So I switch my style. When the styles change, I change with it.
Follow me @donbleek88
NEXT PAGE: FRENCH MONTANA TALKS NEW YORK’S GANGSTA RAP, WORKING WITH ARTISTS FROM THE SOUTH, RAP BEEF, SIGNING TO DIDDY & MORE
On his motivational quote ” “Life started getting easier for me when I found my hustle. I feel like once you find your hustle and you stick to your grind, life will get easier. It may not get easier right away depending on your hustle, but it will get easier as long as you stay consistent in persistent in whatever you do.” Definitely, man. You shouldn’t do nothing you don’t love for the rest of your life. As long as you find something that you love out there and you just do it and stay consistent, you might reach levels that you never thought you would reach. I’m sure Kobe Bryant wouldn’t be Kobe Bryant if basketball wasn’t his first love. I feel like when people force you to do something or work somewhere that you don’t feel like doing you’re never going to reach your full potential. That’s how I look at. That’s my whole personal experience and I’m sure that’s your experience, too.
On New York being successful because of gangsta rap. Yeah of course. Ninety percent of the music that ever came out of New York by artists that were successful was the gangsta music. The other 10% might be Pop, but just look at it, man. Even if you go back to KRS-One to Rakim, everything that came out till now, you can probably name two groups that were Pop. And now they try to say that you have to be more than one thing. You’ve got to be Pop and Hip Hop. I don’t agree with that. I think that if ain’t broke don’t fix it. That’s history. All you’ve got to do is rewrite history with something new – new styles, new material, new movement. That’s what I think about it.
On working with artists from the South. I mean, I enjoy it. I don’t know how everybody else feels about collaborating with “down South” artists. I enjoyed doing a whole Lock Out mixtape with Waka Flocka. I enjoyed doing the whole Cocaine Mafia mixtape with Three 6 Mafia. I feel like all you’re doing is exercising your hustle, exercising your rhymes, exercising your style. I can’t see certain rappers from New York doing a whole down South mixtape. There’s not a lot of artists that could drop a mixtape with Waka Flocka together or with Three 6 Mafia together. I like doing shit out of left field, that people will be like, “Oh, he really just did this?” I think that’s what keeps it exciting. If that don’t keep it exciting, the closest thing you’re gonna come to that is dissing somebody to get attention. I came from a long history of doing that so I ain’t gonna do that no more. Everything’s working good.
On beefing with other rappers. Beefing is always gonna slow your money up. When you start beefing, everybody is gonna stop trying to spend money with you. You scare people away. It’s a lot of things that happen when you start beefing with people.
On why he signed with Diddy. Diddy is a billionaire. Let me brush shoulders up with a billionaire. Let me make a quick 300-500 million. If you’re smart enough, you might make more than that. I don’t look at Puff as a rapper. I look at him as a brand. He’s gonna guide me in the right way, let me know where the money’s at. He’s got time. He’s hands on with everything. He be on top of everything all the time. I felt comfortable. I just felt comfortable and didn’t care what people were saying.
Read the entire interview over at HipHopDX.