French Montana Explains Album Delay: 'Can't Rush Something That's Gonna Last Forever'

Shareif Ziyadat

Best Bets Albums 2013, French Montana

French Montana has pushed his debut album back five weeks, to May 21. But the Moroccan-born New York rapper promises that "Excuse My French" will be worth the wait.

"I kind of threw the label back a minute when I did that," Montana (nee Karim Kharbouch) tells Billboard, "but to be really honest, I feel like you can't rush something that's gonna last forever. So I felt like a few more weeks is worth something that's gonna last for 300 years."

Montana certainly has every reason to feel confident about the prospects for "Excuse My French." Already a chart hit staple thanks to features with Rick Ross, Akon, Wale, Meek Mill, Kiko Bangz and others, he's had a No. 2 R&B and Rap smash with "Pop That" (featuring Ross, Drake and Lil Wayne), while the newly released "Freaks," with Nicki Minaj, is beginning an ascent that certainly won't be hurt by Minaj's twice-weekly appearances on "American Idol."

"When I made my album, I was just focused on making good music," Montana explains. "I was trying to make music for everybody. I wasn't trying to make a New York kind of sound. I wasn't trying to make a Down South kind of sound or a West Coast Kind of sound. I just made music. Getting so much love from everybody in the game and everybody embracing me like they have, people haven't seen anything like this in awhile. I feel like it's just a breath of fresh air and something the game needed. I just appreciate everything and just love all the love people are giving me, and I'm gonna keep runnin'."

Montana says he's particularly excited that the dancehall-flavored "Freaks" is getting a chance to shine.

"That was a record Wale had and he didn't have an album date. I had an album date and he gave it to me," Montana recalls. "And Nicki Minaj being from my home town, we were talking about doing something together, and this record was it. I wanted to do something different, especially with Nicki on the record with me, and Rico Love produced it. The game hasn't had a dancehall song, a Jamaican song like this in so long, and Nicki being from Trinidad and me being from Morocco, that record is international."

Montana says that with the momentum from his successes so far, "sometimes I have to catch myself and realize I'm still a rookie and I still have to do the baby steps." But after touring with Ross (who co-executive produced "Excuse My French" with Puff Daddy), Drake, 2 Chainz and others, Montana starts his own headlining run on Feb. 26 in Washington, D.C., and is looking forward to showing off what he's gleaned from his support experiences.

"I'm just learning form all these people that have been in the game before me, that have multiple albums out," Montana notes. "There's certain things people can tell you and certain things you just have to learn as you're being a hustla and being a student of the game. You have to watch people and learn. I feel like I've graduated with a master's degree."