Karim Kharbouch (born November 9, 1984), better known by his stage name French Montana, is an Moroccan–American rapper, singer, songwriter, hip hop recording artist. and record producer, and entrepreneur, businessman Born in Casablanca ; Morocco, he immigrated to the United States with his family when he was 13. He is the founder of Coke Boys Records, and its predecessor Cocaine City Records. In 2012, he signed a joint-venture recording deal with Bad Boy Records and Maybach Music Group.
Kharbouch made his mixtape debut in 2007. In 2010, he had his breakthrough with “Choppa Choppa Down”. He released his debut studio album Excuse My French on May 21, 2013 In July 2017, Montana released his second studio album, Jungle Rules, which peaked at number three on the Billboard 200. The album was supported by the single “Unforgettable“, featuring Swae Lee, which became Montana’s first song as lead artist to reach the top 10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
Karim Kharbouch (Arabic: كريم خربوش Karīm Kharbūš [kæɾiːm χɑʁbuːʃ]) was born on November 9, 1984, in Casablanca, Morocco. He grew up at the family estate outside Casablanca where he lived for the first 13 years of his life. Growing up, he was consumed with soccer and rap, describing them as his two favorite childhood hobbies, before getting into basketball in his later teens.
In 1996, at the age of 13, Kharbouch left Morocco with his parents and younger brother for New York City, where they settled in the South Bronx. Kharbouch spoke only his native languages Moroccan darija and French when he first arrived, and learned English in the streets and in the Bronx high schools of Lehman and Roosevelt. After struggling for two years, his father decided they would move back to Casablanca, but his mother opted to stay back with their children citing lack of opportunities back home. His mother was pregnant with his youngest brother at the time, who was born in the United States shortly after his father departed for Morocco. With three children, his mother was dependent on welfare for financial support. Kharbouch eventually found himself the primary breadwinner for the family.
In 2003, two gunmen shot at Montana as he left a recording studio in New York, striking him in the head. He survived and was hospitalized for several weeks. One of the gunmen died during the incident, in what is believed to be a case of “friendly fire” by one assailant against the other. Montana was investigated for the incident, but the case was eventually dismissed. In early 2013, Montana visited the site of the shooting with a camera crew from Life+Times as he recalled the near-death experience and his life growing up in the Bronx. This was the first time he had visited the location since the attempted murder ten years earlier. According to French, he was set up by someone close to him and his circle.
French has been the owner of a number of pets, ranging from dogs to exotic animals such as tigers and a monkey. On April 22, 2013, French Montana posted an Instagram picture with the caption “Got so high last night bought 2 baby tigers”. The picture was of French outdoors holding two tiger cubs, one on each arm. The tigers, named Ike and Tina, were prominently featured in French’s music video for “The Gifted” featuring friend and singer The Weeknd, released later that year. In 2014, the rapper noted he had given up the two tigers shortly after getting them, citing the difficulty in feeding and caring for the animals.
Since late-2014, French Montana became the owner of a pet monkey named Julius Ceasor. A video of the animal was uploaded on December 18, showing French and record producer Mally Mall entering a private-jet with French then cradling the infant monkey in his arms.
French Montana describes Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., Nas, Snoop Dogg and Wu-Tang Clan among the hip hop artists he listened to growing up. He considers himself a music lover in general, and admires the work of English soul/R&B singers Adele and Amy Winehouse, the English rock band Florence + the Machine, and American singer Lana Del Rey, several of whom he has sampled in his music.