French Montana on Fame & Rediscovery

French Montana returned home to New York to celebrate the release of his second album, “Jungle Rules,” by performing in front of a packed audience during Samsung’s Made for Summer Live at 837 series. The album is currently number three on Billboard’s Top 200 charts. Prior to hitting the stage, I spoke with French about fame, fortune and rediscovery.

Q: So many people are loving this album. Even Lebron James is a fan. Is this the kind of response you expected?
French: But are you loving it?
Q: I am loving it.
French: Don’t lie to me.
Q: True story. I was a little hesitant. I know you because of the Kardashians, but I actually listened to your lyrics and there is depth there. You are Moroccan at your roots, and it shows thru.
French: So you like me because of that . . . (dating Khloe)?
Q: I didn’t say I liked you because of that. I said I knew you because of that. There is a difference. I listened to your album and really liked it. On this album, you are paying tribute to a couple of people you lost and I think a lot of people will be able to relate to that kind of pain.

Q: How personal is this album?
French: It’s not about one person. It’s about everybody that I lost and what I gained. I gained myself.

Q: Who are you?
French: French Montana.
Q: Tell me who French Montana is.
French: The face of the concrete jungle. Of the world. We global.

Q: You grew up in the Bronx here in New York. Did you ever think you would get out of the concrete jungle?
French: Honestly, it wasn’t because of one person. It wasn’t because of anybody. I feel like my album stands out for everybody whether it’s Chinx or Max B, whether it’s people who are still here. You don’t have to be locked up or dead to be dead and locked up. I feel like it’s hope. I want to bring hope.

Q: Where did that come from? That hope?
French: The hope comes from growth as crazy as that sounds. Especially dealing with somebody like Puff who lost Biggie and I lost Chinx. We both went thru the same thing, just coming up. As soon as you start getting hot, everybody starts hating on you. Everybody starts plotting on you.

Q: What does it mean for you to be introducing this album to NY and 837?
French: There’s love because my face is in everybody’s face. It’s like a mirror. I’m one of their only hopes of making it out because they can’t get in touch with anyone else.

Photo credits: Matt Eisman, Getty Images