French Montana was born in Rabat, Morocco on November 9, 1984. He spent the first thirteen years of his life at a family house outside the city of Casablanca. Growing up, Montana, whose real name is Karim Kharbouch, enjoyed soccer and rap music. His family moved to New York City in 1996, settling in the South Bronx.
After struggling in the Big Apple for two years, his father decided to go back to Morocco, while his mother refused to come along with him. She stayed behind with her three children, raising them on her own while depending on welfare for financial support. Montana eventually became the breadwinner for his family.
He kicked off his career as a battle rapper in his teenage years under the name of Young French. In 2002, Montana and his close friend Cams produced a series of street DVDs called "Cocaine City", which featured interviews with street hip-hop artists in Bronx. He started making his original music, freestyle and collaboration and showcased them on the DVDs. The first volume in the series featured Pee Wee and Remy Ma among others.
In 2003, Montana suffered a gunshot after he was confronted by two armed gunmen while he was leaving a recording studio in Bronx. He was rushed to hospital and managed to fully recover after spending several weeks receiving medical treatment. He later found out that he was set up by someone close to him.
After years being a street rapper, Montana finally released his debut mixtape "French Revolution Vol. 1" in 2007. The effort featured collaborations with Uncle Murda, Jae Millz, Mazaradi Fox and Tony Yayo. A track called "Waavvy" off the set was his first collab with Max B, while a song titled "Quarter to Eight" marked the first of his many collaborations with Rick Ross.
Following the release of his joint mixtape with Max B, "Coke Wave", in 2009, Montana signed a record deal with Akon and his Konvict Music label. The two had been collaborating on several tracks, including "Married to the Streets" off Montana's seventh mixtape "Cocaine Konvicts", which was released later that year.
In 2010, Montana released "Mac & Cheese 2" mixtape, which featured guest appearances from rising hip-hop stars, such as Wiz Khalifa, Nicki Minaj and Big Sean. He later signed a deal with Atlanta-based management company, Mizay Entertainment, in November. Following the management deal, Montana adopted trap influence on his music.
With Montana's growing fame in the South, he was tapped by Florida-based rapper Rick Ross to hit the studio together. He was said be coming to the studio "at like three in the morning" to listen to Ross' album "Self Made Vol. 1". The collaboration sparked speculations that Montana would be signing to Ross' label, MMG.
Montana's song titled "Short Caller" gained massive success as it became one of the most-played tracks on New York radio in 2011. By the end of the year, P. Diddy announced that Montana had signed a deal with Bad Boy Records, an imprint of Interscope Records. However, in January 2012, he signed to a joint-venture between Bad Boy Records and Maybach Music Group, making him a part of both labels.
While gearing up for the release of his debut studio album, Montana released some tracks off the set in early 2013, including Nicki Minaj-assisted single "Freaks" and a collaboration with The Weeknd, "Gifted". After being delayed for a quite long time, the debut LP titled "Excuse My French" arrived on May 21, 2013 and landed at No. 4 on Billboard 200 chart after selling 56,000 copies in its first week.
In the following year, Montana teamed up with Jennifer Lopez for her comeback single "I Luh Ya Papi". The song soon became an international hit as it was among the most played tracks on rhythmic contemporary radio. He later joined Ross, Meek Mill and Jay-Z on DJ Khaled's summer banger "They Don't Love You No More".
Despite his success in music industry, his love life wasn't going as smooth as his career. Montana's divorce from Deen Kharbouch was finalized in 2014. The two were married for five years before calling it quits in 2012. Following the divorce, Montana dated Khloe Kardashian, who also just split from Lamar Odom. However, their relationship didn't last long as it ended by the end of the year.
On May 5, 2016, Montana's contract with Interscope and MMG ended. He then signed a joint record deal with Bad Boy and Epic Records. Following the deal, it was revealed that the rapper was going to release his second studio album in October. However, it was later canceled. The intended album, "Mac & Cheese 4", was released as a mixtape instead.
While the long break was not intentional, Montana managed to make a grand comeback in 2017 with a hit song called "Unforgettable" featuring Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd. The song was a platinum-selling single as it bowed at No. 5 on Billboard Hot 100, marking Montana's first top 10 solo music on the chart. His sophomore LP, "Jungle Rules", was finally unleashed on July 14. It featured a number of A-list hip-hop artists, such as Travis Scott (II), Quavo, Future, Young Thug and T.I.