Almost two years after releasing his debut album, Excuse My French, Morocco-born, Bronx-raised rapper French Montana dropped a second appetizer for his delayed follow-up Mac & Cheese: The Album. Indebted to the sound of Chicago's drill music, Casino Life 2: Brown Bag Legend is a collection of tough tracks that place his verses alongside those of Migos, Lil Wayne, Will.i.am and Lil Durk. Montana now says that the main course should be arriving in August, but in the meantime, he's trying to surround himself with as many zoo animals as possible.
How long did you have Casino Life 2 in the works?
I had about a hundred songs that were done for my album. I was working on my album for two years, haven't dropped no title in like two years. Then I had enough songs to just give the fans something – like when Lil Wayne did Sorry 4 the Wait 2. I just picked the songs that fit the sound of Casino Life.
There's a lot of Chicago influence and artists on the tape, like Young Chop and Lil Durk. What attracted you to the drill scene?
As far as Lil Durk, he's down with my team. As far as Young Chop, he had a certain unique sound I love, even from doing [Mac & Cheese 3 tracks] "Ocho Cinco" to "Devil Want My Soul." I love them and the Chicago sound. It's a sound that can go to either the East Coast or down South. It's a dope sound. The only other Chicago artist I've worked with is Kanye, but I'm keeping that one for the album.
Last year, you spoke about having recorded five tracks for the album with Kanye. Will there be just one making the final cut then?
We did 'em, and I completed the ones that I liked for my project. So those are ready-ready, and me and him are going to sit down and go over the tracks we did because I believe he's working on his project too.
How has your relationship with him evolved with him? I know you had a hand in "All Day."
It's a pleasure for me to be a co-producer of "All Day." Lord knows he's one of the biggest artists you can work with in our generation. Kanye was one of the first people who tried to sign me. We've had a relationship since then. For me not even signing with him and he's still helping me with the project, I feel like only real people do stuff like that. Usually if it's someone you don't sign with, they're like, "OK, you didn't sign with me. I can't help you with nothing. You should've came over here." So for him to still help, that's a blessing.
And another thing, too, is that just as far as the creative thing with him, he's just a genius. If you sit down with him, he's down for anything. The best part about is that he's so humble. He's not cocky when you sit down with him. He wants to hear everything you have to say.
Has your relationship with him changed because you've both been in relationships with Kardashians?
No. No my relationship has never changed with him. He's still the same person that I knew before I even met Khloe or anybody. We have our own relationship.
You just played with a bunch of expensive animals on the 2 Chainz web series Most Expensivest Shit. You also have your own pet monkey named Julius Ceasor. Are you looking to invest in any more exotic animals?
Oh yeah, of course! I love animals. They say that people who surround themselves with animals live longer. I don't know if that's true or not, but I love animals. I would own a little mini-zoo in my backyard if I can.
What other kinds of animals would you like to own?
A giraffe. Definitely a zebra. Baby tigers. Definitely a baby panther. Every animal has something special to them, so to have an exotic animal is just dope.
After the Most Expensivest Shit appearance and your time on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, would you ever consider some type of series for yourself?
Yeah, of course! It all depends on how creative it is. I feel like my character is made to entertain people sometimes. I just feel like if it's something that's not corny or that's not out of my character than I'd want to do it.
What would be the ideal premise for a show centered on French Montana?
It can be something funny. I love what 2 Chainz do with the animals. Something like that, creative. I wish I'd thought about that first, shout out 2 Chainz. I would have to think about it, but I'm not a fan of doing reality TV that's in my personal space. I love what T.I. is doing, but I can't do that. At the end of the day, it's to each his own. I would like just to do something that's in entertainment that's funny.
Do you find yourself leaning more towards being a private person when it comes to your personal life?
Yeah. I just feel like there's so much going on out there. Everything you put out there comes back negative. Somebody always got something to say about what you're doing. I just feel like you don't want to bring that into your life. It's like you on a boat and you're surrounded by water. Once that water gets in your boat, it'll sink your ship. That's how I look at it. I just feel like your own privacy should be kept away from the media.