Friday, August 29, 2014
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Who is French Montana? 10 things to know

French Montana´s tour bus. (Alejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer)
French Montana's tour bus. (Alejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer)

After a shooting outside French Montana’s tour bus late Thursday, even the most rap-ignorant Philadelphians are hearing about the musician. Here’s a 10-item rundown on the rapper -- what he’s done, why you may have heard of him and past crime incidents involving him:

1. He was born on Nov. 9, 1984, in Rabat, Morocco, according to his official website. He’s now based in the Bronx. His birth name is Karim Kharbouch. 

2. Between 2002 and 2011, he produced 14 DVDs called “Cocaine City” that showed his work and interviews with major artists.

3. His first studio album, Excuse my French, is slated to be released on May 21.

More coverage
  • 1 dead, 1 injured in drive-by shooting outside rapper's tour bus
  • 4. The first single released from that album was "Pop That," which featured Rick Ross, Drake and Lil Wayne. It peaked at 36th on the Billboard Hot 100 chart

    5. His other singles you may recognize: "Marble Floors," which featured Rick Ross, Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz, a remake of Lil Viciouis' "Freaks," featuring Nicki Minaj, and "Shot Caller."

    6. How he got the name French Montana: He got the nickname "French" when he came to the United States at age 13, because that was one of the languages he spoke, the rapper -- who also spoke Arabic -- told USA Today. "Montana" comes from the drug-cartel kingpin Tony Montana, played by Al Pacino, in Scarface.

    7. He's gotten into several public spats with 50 Cent. In October, he told Complex.com that he thought 50 Cent "could have been a lot bigger." This is how he assessed the rapper’s career:

    "He never went platinum. So when 50 came up, 50 sold 10 million. Then after his first album he just kept on going down. You think 50 could come out and sell 10 million now?"

    In response, 50 Cent tweeted: "French Montana you ain't Sh!t boy. You out your league talking about me"

    In a radio interview the next month, Montana called 50 Cent a "donkey," and the two have traded barbs on other occasions.

    8. The first big thing Montana bought when he got rich was a Rolls-Royce Ghost for $1 million, he told Complex.com. In the first year he owned the car, he drove less than 1,000 miles on it.

    He said: "I had too much money. [Laughs.] I always had money, but I didn't have the money for me to wake up and be like, 'Look, I'm gonna buy it and not care, and not even drive it.'"

    9. Thursday’s incident wasn’t the first time someone has been killed in the proximity of one of Montana’s shows.

    In December 2011, a man was stabbed to death and six other people were injured in at a North Jersey hip hop party where Montana was slated to perform. Several fights broke out at the Middlesex County catering hall, and a man was killed during the scuffle, the Newark Star-Ledger reported at the time. Montana hadn't yet performed when the fighting started, and tweeted “Jersey is crazy” after cops arrived, according to the Star-Ledger.

    And in Las Vegas last week, a disagreement in the valet area of a resort after a Montana performance at a hotel nightclub led to a shooting and car crash that left three people dead, according to the Associated Press.

    10. Montana himself has been a victim of violence: As he tells it to Life+Times, he was shot in the head after leaving a studio in the Bronx.

    He saw two men and guns pointed "at my head."

    "Everybody started moving in on me," he said. In a video posted last week, he described the shooting as "years ago."

    Another person died in that shooting, Montana says, and the rapper told VladTV.com that he had been charged with murder in the case.

    "I beat my case cause I’m good," he said.

    But it appears that Montana was never actually charged. No homicide charge has ever been filed in the Bronx against Montana, under either of his names, according to the Bronx County clerk’s office. And a Lexis-Nexis search shows no public record or news coverage of the incident.


    Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

    Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

    Emily Babay Breaking News Desk
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