Moroccan-American artist French Montana’s Sunday evening set at the Sahara Tent at Coachella quickly escalated into a full-blown party on weekend two of the festival. At one point, the rapper had the biggest record of the year. Not only did “Unforgettable” featuring Swae Lee gain Frenchie nationwide recognition, it also solidified his tenure in the rap game.
Clocking in at over 673 million views and counting, the record’s accompanying music video sees Frenchie bringing nothing but feel-good, positive energy to Uganda, where he recently opened a hospital that will serve a phenomenal 300,000 people.
AND he found time to make his own vodka.
L.A. Weekly: For those who don’t know, who is French Montana?
French Montana: A world citizen.
What makes your French Vanilla Ciroc Vodka different from the rest?
I made it with love. I’m sure you've seen a lot of people that don’t even drink, making liquor. It doesn’t go nowhere. I just feel like I made it, like it’s something that I would drink if somebody else made it.
I saw you thank Puff on your last post. Talk about your relationship with Puff Daddy.
He’s a big brother. He’s somebody that showed me the ropes, saved me a lot of years that I could’ve fucked up with making the wrong moves. I’m just happy that to find somebody that don’t do shit from like a money standpoint. It’s from love. He definitely supports me to the fullest, like his little brother. All of us need a big bro, you know? Him, Sal [manager and best friend Wassim “Sal” Slaiby] — those are the people that been through the ropes before me. Show me how to do things the right way, so I don’t go through the same mistakes that they made. And I love that.
Coachella weekend two, how does it compare to weekend one?
I love this weekend because last weekend is just … it’s almost like doing something twice. Like having sex with a girl for the first time. You’re always going to be nervous. Second time, you’re like, “All right, cool.” We’re going to start doing backflips and shit like that.
How does the crowd out here compare with your hometown in New York?
I feel like it’s the same love. With me, I don’t try to perform new songs and do different kind of songs. I just go straight to the hits, man. I’ve been in the game for over 10 years just making music.
“Lockjaw” is my favorite, so thank you for playing that.
Thank you. Did you hear what she said, Sal? I just feel like when somebody tells me to put 18 projects in 45 minutes, I feel like you can’t even ... you know?
What do you say to the hip-hop heads hating on Lil Pump?
Honestly, you got to respect every generation of hip-hop. I love what Lil Pump is doing for the game. I love what Tupac and Biggie did for the game, I also love what Run-DMC and them did for the game. I just feel like the game just changes. I just feel like right now, there’s more rich rappers than back in the day. Right now it’s more … it became a lifestyle. It just shows growth. Whoever don’t like him, why you listening to him? There’s still lyrical rappers out here. Whatever kind of rap you want to listen to, go listen to it. I love Lil Pump’s music.
Aside from your performance, what’s been the biggest highlight of Coachella?
Biggest highlight for Coachella for me was having my brothers with me. Having my family with me is my biggest highlight.
Your music video with Tinashe and Ty$ is already at almost 8 million views. Talk about working with the two artists and the making of the visual.
Working with both of them, they’re both real talented artists. Tinashe, I’m a big fan of her. Ty Dolla $ign, me and him got a lot of records. It just feels good. I make music because I love the music. It’s not even about the money thing for me no more.
Are you planning on getting a separate crib for your plaques?
What did you do with your first advance?
Put it in the bank. Already had everything I wanted before I signed.
What are three essentials things you need on tour?
My family, French Vanilla Ciroc, and love.
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What’s your favorite song to perform during a set?
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Who’s your dream collab?
My dream collab would be me and Sal.
[Correction: In the original version of this article, French Montana's birthplace was incorrect. He was in fact born in Morocco, not the country of Uganda. We regret the error.]