Our slave owning forefathers envisioned an America where HENNY body could migrate here from their native country in search of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. No one embodies this story of achieving the American dream better than French Montana. Born in Morocco, French has gone from a 13 year old immigrant to one of Hip-Hop’s best hit makers.
One would think that having a RIAA certified platinum single, in addition to a gold single featuring megastar Drake, is enough to have a successful roll-out of your second album.
We can thank Target for that.
After having his original sophomore album MC4 leak two months early, Bronx rapper French Montana returns with his first Billboard Hot 100 single and officially drops his second album Jungle Rules. Known for bringing in a “who’s who” of the game’s top artists, French recruits The Weeknd, Travis Scott, and Swae Lee– just to name a few.
If the Shmoney Dance was your shit, then you’ll love Jungle Rules’ opening track “Whiskey Eyes”. The Ben Billions produced record delivers the perfect New York bounce for French to reminisce on his journey to success. The track features French’s late friend and fellow Coke Boy Chinx, who delivers a verse about his marriage to the game. As one of the standout tracks on the album, you can only imagine the amount of music French and Chinx could’ve made together.
The next few tracks are complete with top notch features, and make up a solid first half of the album. Travis Scott appears on the album’s fifth song “Jump” and the modern day vampire Pharrell Williams takes a break from designing sneakers to hop on the Harry Fraud produced “Bring Dem Things”. French brings another longtime friend, New York rapper Max B, along with The Weeknd for Jungle Rules’ second single “A Lie”.
Included in these songs is Montana’s chart topping single “Unforgettable”. Using an Afro inspired beat, French brings Rae Sremmurd’s Swae Lee to his homeland of Africa where the two sing about a woman who they can’t get off their mind. Arguably the album’s best track, French has used the success of “Unforgettable” to change the lives of nine Ugandan dancers by the name of Triplet’s Ghetto Kids. Not only are they featured in the video, but they performed with the Montana at the BET Awards and he’s purchased visas to allow them to travel and tour.
Jungle Rules begins to falter during the second half of the album. Outside of “No Pressure” featuring Future and “Black Out” with Young Thug, the rest of the tracks could’ve been left off in my opinion. French steps outside his trap beat comfort zone on the tracks “Formula” and “She Workin” but they’re in no way shape or form as good as “Unforgettable” or any of the other of the album’s first nine songs.
Although French brought in some banging guest features, this may serve as one of the album’s biggest weaknesses. Not because the artist didn’t deliver, but because French tends to get lost in the sauce. On a number of occasions, “Jump” and “Black Out” being examples, French sounds like he’s the guest artist. This is a trend I’ve noticed all throughout the rapper’s career.
All in all, Jungle Rules is a solid album. The production and features are the album’s strengths. However, French doesn’t consistently capitalize on these opportunities. Jungle Rules did little to move the needle on my viewpoint of French’s music but it’s still a solid project.
Don’t forget to comment your thoughts on the album down below as well as share this review on Twitter, Facebook, Blackplanet, etc… See you back here next week as we will be reviewing Meek Mill’s third studio album Wins & Losses.