Morrocan born Coke Boy/Bad Boy/Epic Boy French Montana, has unleashed his second studio album and he aptly calls this one Jungle Rules. The 18-track deep body of work is massively stained with a premium selection of features and highly anticipated appearances from late Chinx and Max B. If you’re struggling with the decision of whether to cop or not, this walk through might help to ease you into making a choice.
Right after establishing a jungle ambience and a Coke Boy celebration toast skit, the album opens up with Whiskey Eyes featuring late Chinx, Montana’s friend and fellow Coke Boy who passed on in 2015. The track is subtle and emotional with a soothing hook (sample?) from a yet to be identified female, coupled with lines from Montana that speak of his musical struggle and the light that came at the end of the tunnel for him. Appended towards the end of the track, is a 12-bar lifestyle-riddled verse recorded by Chinx when he was alive.This song works as the perfect eulogy and listen bait too, especially because everybody always wants to hear a verse from a deceased rapper, one last time.
If there’s any track that will make this body of work unforgettable, it is definitely Unforgettable. It immediately follows as the second track to clear the misty eyes that may have been caused by the nostalgia from Chinx’s appearance on the introductory track. Everything about this Unforgettable hits home. From the enticing instrumental that sucks you in before you realize it, to a stupendously precious hook by one half of the self acclaimed Black Beatles Swae Lee (keep your eyes glued to this kid people), all through to the heartwarming story behind the video.
Despite the super heavy presence of the guest artiste, French still holds his own as he spits a lyrical mix of wealthy love with a dash of decently autotuned melody lol.
French makes his first stand alone appearance with a deep trap ballad where he repetitively reminds us on the hook that he is not Trippin’ on a b**tch (just in case we all got carried away by Unforgettable).
The Weeknd and his usual sugar-sweet gloating self came through on “A Lie” with a hook that will stick real good (definitely not his best guest performance), but the stronghold of this track is hands down Max B with an ultra feel good sing-song verse that almost makes you want to forget that he is currently incarcerated.
Jump featuring Travis Scott gets its perfect description from Montana’s opening lines. This one is definitely for the “wave culture”. The sound direction of this track is Travis’ playground and he did his homework perfectly, synergizing seamlessly with the springy instrumental and French’s breezy gangster/good life lyrics.
Hotel Bathroom is one of the sublime artistic pieces on this project with elements that kinda give you a feel of what urban black spirituals may have sounded like, with the chanting and overall drag. The lyrics are picturesque of the depth of debauchery that happen in the hotel rooms of entertainers but with a lot of soul in Montana’s delivery. There’s a certain line that somehow just clings to your memory?.
“Free Life, Free Max B for one night.”
French and Pharrell Williams trade mean mugging bars over the tangy sample of Organised Konfusion’s “Stress” on Bring dem Things, making this 7th track an instant favourite for all “trap intolerant” hiphop lovers.
Bag happens to have been released by Ziico Nico in 2016 but it features on Jungle Rules as Montana’s own, with Ziico playing guest artiste. (Not sure why though but hopefully, a decent explanation will surface for this.)
Migo Montana comes in with its obvious, corny yet wavy title, featuring the Beyonce of Migos (Quavo). Same old theme- money making and girls but the track right after, might make people forget this one in hurry as French and Future stunt on the first official single off the JR album- No Pressure.
If you’re tired of hearing French brag about his cars and stash, you might want to skip this. Push Up does not hold any new lyrical enjoyment but if you are all about the vibe (and I mean deeeeep, sweet urban head bopping vibe) you might just be really pleased.
French’s mix of a few veterans and a healthy dose of new age guest artistes is a complete 10 and Stop It makes a wonderful example. Without losing the vibe described in Push Up, more awesomeness is poured into this with a spazzy verse from TI. Even in this pleasant drought of lyrical depth and subject matter, French still works up some interesting easy-to -memorize lines.
After blacking out from drugs with Young Thug on the 13th jam called Black Out, the album ascends into it’s 3rd and best phase with She Workin’ featuring a stellar performance by Marc E Bassy. This time, French is back in his lovey-dovey mood, talmbout loving some girl like Kanye loves Kanye.(Is this even possible?) The heavy R&B presence on this song will make it a very quick go-to for French’s female fan base.
The eargasm from She Workin’ is taken many notches higher with Formula’s feel good “whine pon da cacky” Caribbean riddim. Alkaline is another one to watch out for yo!!! Seeing his name on the track already told me what to expect and it was nothing short of the greatness I had envisioned. There’s no doubting that this one will reel in a lot of commercial success if it is eventually offered up as a single.
Formula trickles into another dance hall influenced tune called Famous BUT… this one is splattered all over with Montana’s emotions as he soulfully, fearfully and dedicatedly sings of his selfishness induced by his unhealthy love and admiration for a certain female. Truthfully, the album could have ended here but is seems like French would rather not wind down an LP titled Jungle Rules with the vulnerability that Famous exposes. Too Much and White Dress serve as the album’s dregs; both which play a decent soft landing from the lofty experience of this fine music ensemble.
This Hiphop DX post describes Jungle Rules as a “make or break album for French Montana” but if it comes to which side I’m on, it is definitely the “Make” side. For an album that has been long overdue, French definitely outdid himself.
As mentioned earlier, the sex-drugs-money-cars-crime theme (save for a few gems) was undoubtedly over-flogged but French’s ability to say the same things in different ways has to be applauded as genius. If you are looking to learn life lessons through complicated and thought provoking lyrics , I suggest you give your 4:44 and Damn albums a listen and skip this one BUT, in terms of relatability to the current state of pop culture especially in America, French sure followed a gaining plot.
In this trap season where all tracks on an album can conveniently sound the same, a few dynamics helped to save Jungles Rules from that ditch. The modulation in the track arrangement seems very well thought out and all the guests gave their very best on this project which really really says a lot about the album and French Montana too.
If somehow this album is overlooked in terms of charting and all, it would still be a heavy milestone in French’s music career. I’m not one to rate reviews but if this gets an 8 out of 10 anywhere, I wont even be mad.
That being said, if you have 64 minutes of your time to spare, then you can download the Jungle Rules Album by French Montana here… Rhyme Alert??
This is a complete aside but from this work, you can tell that French actually really enjoys singing…