French Montana Talks New Music, Surprise Celebrity Fans and Khloé Kardashian

The rapper chats with PEOPLE about his new mixtape, featuring Lil Wayne and Chris Brown

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty

He’s most often in the headlines as Khloé Kardashian‘s on-and-off boyfriend, but French Montana isn’t new to the industry.

Working on a music career since the early 2000s, the rapper, 30, counts Lil Wayne and Chris Brown as friends and collaborators. Teaming up with them and more on his recently released mix tape, Casino Life 2: Brown Bad Legend, Montana (born Karim Kharbouch) chatted exclusively with PEOPLE about his music and lifestyle.

What’s the vibe like on Casino Life 2?

I haven’t dropped an album in two years, and this is part two to a project I dropped three years ago, Casino Life. I worked with different people, but it’s still the same vibe. It’s a mixture, like you’re reading a book, where nothing sounds off. Everything goes together.

What is it like collaborating in the studio with Lil Wayne and Chris Brown?

It’s great vibes. I’ve been working with Lil Wayne since I first came in the game. Me and him have great chemistry together in the studio, and Chris Brown, too. This is the first time I’ve worked with Chris and I’m really excited about it.

You’ve said before you’re pretty passionate about fashion. How does it tie into your life?

It’s just a lifestyle, you know? What you’re talking about in music also has to show in your videos and your lifestyle. I grew up in a generation where I was listening to Jay Z and Big, and that was the style for us back then. I’m from New York, and everybody who came out, there’s always some swagger in their music.

Have you had any surprise celebrity fans of your music?

I met Jay Z a couple months back, and he was just telling me about my whole album – what song I should have dropped, “You got to pop this and that” That was my first album, and it felt like a present. I’d seen him before, but we never spoke. He gave me the whole rundown and that was a blessing right there, like I graduated.

Your girlfriend Khloé Kardashian starred in the music video for “Don’t Panic.” Do you have plans to feature her in more, and does she get a sneak peek at your music?

Not for now, but I definitely let her see [my music] when I’m around. It’s always positive feedback. I like to keep my private life private because that works with my sanity, but she’s a good, beautiful person.

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