French Montana returns to his native Morocco for the cover of FADER‘s annual Photo Issue. The magazine drops October 9th.
Born Karim Kharbouch, French Montana spent his first 13 years on a sprawling family estate just outside Casablanca. He left with his mother, father Abdela and little brother Zack for the South Bronx when he was 13 and, until today, has never been back. The young Karim learned English in the streets and in the Bronx high schools—Lehman, then Roosevelt—that he attended before dropping out. His father lasted two years in New York before returning to Casablanca. His mother was on welfare. Whatever other money they had came from Karim, and he did what he could to provide, legally and illegally, risking not just jail but deportation. Today he’ll show you the twin scars on the back of his head where the bullet that nearly killed him entered and exited. “You do dirt to people and people try to do dirt to you,” he says philosophically, and that’s about as specific about that day as he’s willing to get.