Release Date: Jul 14, 2017
Record label: Epic
Genre(s): Rap, East Coast Rap, Hardcore Rap, Contemporary Rap
When MC4, which was meant to be French Montana's sophomore project, instead became his 21st official mixtape as a result of a distribution/retail gaffe, Jungle Rules inadvertently became a make-or-break album for the Moroccan-born, New York City-based rapper. Although songs from his debut record put him in the mainstream cycle, the single "Unforgettable" featuring Swae Lee put him onto a whole new world stage, creating an immense amount of hype that the new album has managed to live up to. At 18 songs, French delivers a cohesive cover-to-cover platter of flame emojis that traverse his range -- which now includes a world vibe that doesn't directly play into a forced reggae flow like "Freaks," off of his debut album Excuse My French.
How French Montana managed to survive the rugged terrain that is rap remains one of Hip Hop’s most interesting questions. Imagine losing both of your best friends -- one to an unsolved murder; another to a bottomless prison sentence -- while watching your sophomore album fall victim to a premature leak two months before its scheduled release date? Life, as you know it -- wins and all -- would appear dreary. No umbrella wouldn’t be able to weather that kind of shitstorm.
French Montana has spent a decade and several record deals trying to close the gap between his flamboyant lifestyle and his boring raps. The chromatic and gaudy world he navigates IRL isn't usually reflected inside his verses. French names exotic pets after Roman dictators and spends fortunes on luxury concept cars imported from his native Morocco to Calabasas.
Less than a year after the unfortunate rollout of what was supposed to be his sophomore LP, MC4, rapper French Montana returned with his second official album, Jungle Rules. Much like MC4 -- which was eventually issued as a mixtape -- Jungle Rules is packed with high-profile guests and boasts 18 tracks of varied hip-hop that find the Bronx emcee dabbling in sounds that might find their way onto a Weeknd or Drake album. In a similar fashion, Jungle Rules is as bloated and stretched thin as Starboy, Views, and More Life.
T he rapper's cohesive second album nods to 2017's most zeitgeisty sounds: swirling trap on Migo Montana with Quavo, sultry R&B on She Workin with Marc E Bassy, even dancehall with the air horn-heavy Formula, featuring Alkaline. Montana understands how best to capitalise on features - Pharrell rapping on Bring Dem Things is glorious - yet simultaneously, when drawing on his Moroccan roots with Arabic-style beats on Famous, this is an artist trying to keep a sense of his own voice throughout the cleverly curated party songs. At 18 tracks, Jungle Rules is too long, but provides the "playlist generation" with bangers to choose from.
Few rappers have mastered the art of remaining omnipresent quite like French Montana. The Moroccan sensation out of the South Bronx has come a long way since his humble beginnings as a DVD peddler, evolving into a bonafide rap star while gradually building his Cocaine City empire into one of the strongest movements in the New York City rap scene. Four years removed from his debut album, Excuse My French, Montana unleashes his sophomore album, Jungle Rules, a release that finds him attempting to bolster his standing in the mainstream market with a barrage of club anthems alongside a star-studded list of costars.
French Montana has always divided hip-hop fans; you either love him or hate him. The Bad Boy Records signee has enjoyed a steady growth via the underground; from his first incarnation as Young French with his popular 'Cocaine City' DVD series to a solid mixtape run over the past decade. However, the Bronx rapper has previously struggled with the official album format.
Karim Kharbouch b/k/a French Montana parlayed a successful mixtape career into a deal with Bad Boy Entertainment. In turn he parlayed that deal into his first major label relase with an album titled "Excuse My French." The album spawned three singles between 2012-2013 and sold 177,000 copies. Both Mr. Kharbouch and Sean "Puffy" Combs were hoping for more.