Moroccan-born, South Bronx-raised rapper/producer French Montana is currently riding the wave of his hugely successful new single ‘Unforgettable’ featuring Mississippi rapper Swae Lee. During a stop at 923 AMP Radio’s StubHub studio in his hometown of New York City, he detailed the impact the project has had on himself and all those involved.
The visual for the track was filmed on location in Uganda after French Montana was inspired by a dance routine video posted online featuring local troupe Triplets Ghetto Kids getting down to the single. He has also turned that video project into a complete documentary about his experience, called Project: Unforgettable Uganda “My Story, Their Reality.”
“Definitely with the video, I felt like there’s a lot of gaps happening in the world,” French Montana told AMP Radio’s DJ Toro, “and I’m trying to build bridges as far as going somewhere where there’s real talent and showcasing it to the world on my platform.”
For French Montana, building bridges turned into building the first hospital in the village where the video’s stars reside.
“It just touched me in such a way when I landed and went there, and drove three hours to find out they only had two [hospital] rooms for 300,000 people and there was just one ambulance — and they usually have 40 babies a month. So we just built 10 room floors and five floors, they’re almost done. So, they’re about to have 50 rooms. 200 mothers signed in just this week alone.”
“I could have done it anywhere,” he continued. “Hawaii, Bahamas, call some girls up. But I was like, let me go somewhere where I can use this to help — and it came out a lot better.”
Patricia Nabakooza, Ricia Nyangoma, Ashley Kavuma, Hassan Sseruwu (Kokode), Ronald Ssentongo (Ronnie), Isaac Tumusiime, Bashir Lubega (Ada), Fred Tumwesigye, and Hassan Kavuma Wassawa (Manking) comprise the dance troupe — all vulnerable children ranging in age from 5 to 16-years-old, primarily hailing from the streets of Kampala, Uganda in East Africa.
“I found out these kids’ dance moves were so crazy because they had no TV,” he explained. “So they created their own moves and somebody uploaded it. Then, when I went to go find them I found life over there. I found a lot of things that I needed to see and people who needed the help.”
That experience opened up new avenues for the artist to take on philanthropy, using his message and his own funds, to help those in need.
“Since we’ve been there I’ve opened up a hospital that I had everybody participate in, shout to my brother The Weeknd, and gave the kids opportunities. When I met them, the kids were dancing in puddles of water and mud and now their first performance is about to be at the BET awards with me performing ‘Unforgettable.’
“The whole song is ‘unforgettable moments’ — you know, doing things that you’ll never forget.”
Be sure to catch French Montana on June 25th on the BET Awards stage with his newfound friends, the Triplets Ghetto Kids, before dropping his new album later this year.
Another positive result that has stemmed from the project has been the emergence of the ‘Unforgettable Dance Challenge’ that has proliferated across social media. French Montana has also found inspiration from some of his favorite uploads, namely the clips posted by Fat Boy and Shiggy, and another by an inspiring woman named Nalie Agustin who had recently been diagnosed with cancer.
“I remember watching her video,” recalls French about the latter. “She was just dancing happy, like nothing happened. And that was one of my favorites because that shows you how powerful music is. Music can heal, music can travel, music can make you happy.”
“I feel like that video helped a lot of people in her situation.”
–Joe Cingrana/92.3 AMP Radio