French Montana - Letting the Music Create Its Own Path on "Jungle Rules" - Extended Interview

Extended - July 24, 2017 - French Montana 07/24/2017 Views: 28,007

French Montana talks about trying to avoid watching the charts for his album "Jungle Rules" and explains why he wanted to perform with Ugandan children at the BET Awards. (8:10)

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Please welcome French Montana.

(applause and cheering)


-Welcome to the show.-How y'all doing tonight?

We're doing good, man.We're doing real good.

-(applause and cheering)-What's up, bro?

We're doing real good, but notas good as you are doing.

Congratulations. Your single,"Unforgettable,"

-currently number five on thebillboard charts. -Thank you.

-It's going up.-Thank you. Thank you.

-(applause and cheering)-Congratulations on that.

Thank you. We justgot that news today.

Yeah. When you...when you make an album,

I've always wondered this.

I mean, there's the one partof you that's going,

-"I'm trying to makea good album." -Mm-hmm.

But is there a part of youthat watches the charts

the whole time, as well?

Yeah, it's like a sicknessthat everybody have.

You know, it's, like,you watch the charts,

-see where you...where land and that. -Right.

-But I think it's a bad disease,you know? -(laughter)

I feel... I feel likeyou just make music,

-um, you know, on what you love,you know? -Right.

Then let it make its way.

Like, when I did"Unforgettable,"

I really made itof me loving the song.

You know, and I felt like that'swhat got it to number five

-and soon-to-be number one,you know? -We hope so, man.

-We hope so. You, um...-(applause and cheering)

You have...

You have a story that's moreinteresting than most,

not just because of what you do

-and how successfulyou've become... -Mm-hmm.

...but because of whereyou came from.

-You were born and raisedin Morocco, right? -Mm-hmm.

-And you moved to the U.S. whenyou were 13 years old. -Yes.

-Like...-And then got into hip-hop.

Like, how? I...

Like, is it just a universallanguage? Is that...?

No, honestly, honestly,I tell everybody this.

You know, I feel like, um,music is the only language

-that people speak in the wholeworld, you know? -Right.

And I feel,when I was listening to it...

That's what helped meprobably make these.

Like, "All the Way Up,""Unforgettable." -Right.

Like, all them, "Pop That."

It's that medleythat the whole world speaks.

So it's like, me comingfrom there, not knowing...

not even knowing Englishbefore I came here,

just loving music, loving...

loving the, um...the rush I get when I hear it,

is totally differentfrom making it,

if I just knew Englishand knew, like, you know?

I hear what you're saying.What were you...?

What were you listening towhen you were a kid before

you could speak English?

I was listening to, um,Cheb Hazni.

-And I was listeningto Moroccan music. -Right.

Was there any American hip-hopyou were listening to?

-'Cause, I know, like...-Yeah, I was. Of course.

Like, my cousin was a, um,huge Tupac fan,

but he couldn't speak English.

So, then, my cousinwould walk around,

in one of the placesin South Africa,

a place called Tzaneen, right?

-Yeah. -And he was, like,he was a gangster in his mind.

-Yeah. -And so we'd be,like, pushing a wheelbarrow,

going to the river--this is no joke.

-(laughter) -So, we'd be pushinga wheelbarrow to the river,

and the whole wayhe'd be walking,

he'd be like:♪ And all my enemies...

(singing hip-hop indistinctly)

And I... and then I would sayto him, I'd be like, "Wow,

your English gotreally good, Norman,"

and he'd be like...(speaking foreign language)

And it's the weirdest thing.

Do you, like... was there,like, an American artist

that you listened to even thoughyou didn't understand?

-Tupac had a gift of speakingto Africans. -He did, right?

I swear, he spoke to everybodythat was, like,

that don't speak English.


-Tupac had a gift of speakingto Africans. Uh... -Yeah.

I-I don't think anyonehas ever said that

in the history... of language.

Let's talk about what you'vebeen doing with this album,

because this is somethingthat's been really impressive.

You made the album,you know, we saw you performing

at the BET Awards, and you had on stage with you

-uh, a troupe, a dance troupe.-Yeah, Triplet, um,

-Right.-Triplet Ghetto Kids, right.

-From Uganda.-Yeah.

Now, you went out to Uganda,but I still struggle

to understand the full story.

How on earthdo you end up on stage

performing with Ugandan kidsin the United States?

Um, it goes backto African music,

when I was, like--you know, I usually just go

and, like,listen to keep up to date,

-Right. -I just saw this videoof these kids, you know,

and, um, when I seen it...

I just fell in love with it.

'Cause I was lookingfor something new.

-I was supposed to be in Hawaiishooting my video. -Right.

I'm like, I already didenough of this.

I want to, like, you know, Iwant to do something different.

So... I'm watching this videowith these kids.

I never seen nobody dancelike that. You know?

So when I'm watching it,I'm like,

why are these kids dancinglike this?

Then I found outthey don't have no TV's.

That's amazing.

So all their moves was original.

Like, they created their moves.

And they all live together--there's 20 of them.

They all lost their parents.

They all, like...It was this one guy

that keptall these kids together.

You know, Uganda's, like,

half of the countryis under 15 years old.

-You know...-That's insane.

Yeah, so it was kind of...

So, let me tell you something.

I don't know why I did it,but I did it.

There was, like,there's Hawaii two hours ago...

I mean, two hours away, thenthere's Uganda 30 hours away.


And you were like, "Uganda.

Uganda, here we come."

Yeah, I don't know what,like, you know...

-And you went, you went on tofall in love with Uganda. -Yeah.

Like, you didn't just go...

It was the best decisionI've ever made in my career.

Yeah, because I-I know manypeople will go to Africa

and be like,"Oh, I loved it so much."

And-and then it's-it's done.

But you have now stayed in touchwith Uganda with the people.

You-you're involved in-ina project now with Mama Hope,

-I think it's called, right?-Yeah, Mama Hope,

-shout-out to Mama Hope.-Yeah. What is Mama Hope about?

Nonprofit organization.

Um, shout-out to Global Citizen.

These are people that helppeople around the world,

um, you know, to, um,make a better place

for children and mothers,you know?

I feel like every mother andevery ch-- every child...

(cheering and applause)

should have, you know,

the right, the right care,you know?

And, um, and ever since I'vebeen involved with them

it feels really great, you know?

And honestly, I thinkit's got a lot to do

-with me being from Morocco,-Right.

and me really living there tillI was, like, 13 years old.

And when I saw these kids

I saw my-my face in their body,you know?

So it was like,it was kind of like...

That's the only reason whyI took the 30-hour flight.

-Right. -'Causenobody else would do it.

But, no, so when I went there,it kind of really touched me.

You know, um, we started-- theyhad two rooms in the clinic.

Now, these-these two rooms

is for 300,000 people, right?

So when I got there,after a 30-hour flight,

I drove three hours,so 33 hours.

So when I got thereand I saw this place,

it really, like,made my heart heavy.

Because you have two rooms,and usually they have about--

they give about 40 a month--

-women give birth, you know?-Wow.

So it was like...

So sometimes there might befive, might be six,

but they only have two rooms,you know.

Then there's like-- it's liketoo many-- like, there's...

There's just too muchwith two rooms

and one ambulance, you know?

So when I went thereand I came out the clinic,

I saw a bunch of beautiful kids

just standing outside smilingat that clinic.

And you know, so when I came out

I said I got to come back hereand just do something, you know?

But, honestly,me building that with, um--

And shout out to the--I-I can't take all the credit.

Shout out to The Weeknd,he helped.

Oh, yeah, yeah.

Because this-this is,this is, honestly...

(cheering and applause)

This is hon-honestly one of my,one of my favorite stories,

because you saidI'm going to help

-build up this medical facility.-Mm-hmm.

-Get more peopleto-to be treated. -Yeah.

I think it went upfrom treating--

having the capacity to treat 50

to now going to 250 and above.-Like 300,000.

Yeah, up to 300,000 people.-Like 300,000 mothers, yeah.

And-and what I found amazingwas you were like,

"I'm gonna donate the money."

And then The Weeknd was like,

"Oh, I'm also gonna dropa hundred grand on this."

And I was like, I was like,is this gonna be like the new,

-like, thing in hip-hop?-Yes.

Where, like, guys-guysare gonna be bragging.

-Instead of "bottles in theclub," they're gonna be like,

-I was exactly gonna say that.-I got a hospital in Africa ♪

♪ A hospital in Africa

♪ I got...

You could make it a thing.

-You could make it a thing.-Yeah, I hope so.

I hope so.Yeah, definitely.

Definitely shout outto The Weeknd, and, um,

ever since then,you know, we almost--

It went from two rooms,now it's almost 50 rooms.

Wow. Wow.

So thanks a lot for that.

-Yo, man.-Thank you, bro.

Thank you so muchfor what you're doing.

Congratulations on the music.

-We wish you the best. -Jungle Rules.

Mama Hope, check it out.

Jungle Rules is available now.

And for more information aboutthe #Unforgettable movement,

go to

French Montana, everybody.

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