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“I had serious family problems” (exclusive)

The “Unforgettable” rapper spoke to PEOPLE ahead of the premiere of his new documentary “For Khadija” at the Tribeca Festival.



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Before French Montana became a Grammy-nominated rapper, he was a boy who immigrated from Morocco to the Bronx, New York with his family and needed to find a way to turn his life around – so he turned to selling drugs.

Montana's Documentary For Khadija premiering Friday at the Beacon Theater in New York City during the Tribeca Festival, it chronicles the rapper's remarkable rise to fame and his mother, who sacrificed everything to raise her three sons after her family was abandoned by Montana's father.

Raising the “Unforgettable” rapper was a real challenge. From being rejected for a college scholarship because he was undocumented to becoming a drug dealer to help his troubled mother support the family, Montana still believes it was these obstacles that made him made the person he is today.

“Greatness starts beyond your comfort zone,” Montana, 38, tells PEOPLE. “I knew that everything I would do would be extraordinary and that I would have to make sacrifices to get where I needed to go. Sacrifice involved being on the streets because I hated seeing my mother working 12 hours for $100.”



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<p>Related: French Montana Helps Put a New Twist on a Kilian Paris Fragrance: 'We're Going to Win Big'</p>
<p>“I knew that after all the sacrifices I made, after all the drugs we sold, after all the sacrifices we made, there would come a time when I had to stop.” [I would] I just use all the capital to invest in myself to release DVDs or start a rap career,” he adds.</p>
<p>In the documentary, he explains that selling drugs gave him luxuries he'd never had access to before – but it didn't take long for it to catch up with him, and he ended up in the hospital after being shot.  Still, he always knew he had a bigger purpose.</p>
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<p>“I knew I was working towards something.  I wasn't just a stupid drug dealer who did all this because I wanted to buy a car to get a girl or this and that.  I knew I had serious family problems, that I had to break the chain,” says Montana.</p>
<p>The star added: “I had to do something for my family and honestly just be the first to bridge that generation gap.”</p>
<p>He also knew that he didn't want to see his mother – after whom the documentary is named – suffer.</p>
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Related: French Montana on how Mac Miller's death inspired him to start addiction health services

“The more you learn, the less you bleed. I think I just had my mom in the back of my mind when I met her and she was just crying and praying,” he said. “She was basically screaming for help, and I was just like, 'Yo, let me try to help.' And I think that was one of the moments where I just started taking risks because I knew I was doing it for the right reason.”

Montana hopes this documentary, which he began working on in 2017 after bringing his mother back to her home in Morocco for the first time in over two decades, teaches viewers that “miracles happen.”

“If it seems like it’s impossible, there’s a way to still make it happen,” he says. “You just have to let go, man, and have faith, like my mom did in the documentary. She prays and like I did when I had to make a decision if I was just going to focus on seeing. My mother sacrifice otherwise I would do something about it and make a change.

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Read the original article on People.

Anna Harden

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