French Montana returns after a four-year hiatus with his sophomore album, ‘Jungle Rules.’ The MC and the album have their respective moments.
After a four-year hiatus, French Montana returns. He released his debut album, Excuse My French back in 2013, fueled by anthem, “Pop That.” In 2016, he was scheduled to release MC4, but scrapped it as his sophomore album. He’s finally back with Jungle Rules, an 18-track affair that is all over the place. Clocking in at 64 minutes, Jungle Rules gives the listener lots of French Montana, which is good sometimes but too much at others.
#1 “Bring Dem Things”
“Bring Dem Things,” the seventh track off from Jungle Rules, is the record to beat. It features strong production work fueled by a loop and superb drum programming. “Bring Dem Things” samples both Charles Mingus and Paul Simon – awesomeness. Kid Daytona delivers a fantastic hook. Pharrell offers the best rap verse of the track, going hard “for the first time in forever.” He outshines French Montana, but French holds his own on one of his best verses of the album.
“Unforgettable,” featuring Swae Lee, has a case for the #1 ranking on Jungle Rules. Swae Lee is the star of the show, clearly outperforming French. The tropical vibe is successful. The main rub is that this sound is getting old because it’s been overused. While the ginormous success of “Unforgettable” is surprising, it’s understandable why the record has been successful in itself.
#3 “A Lie”
“A Lie,” brings The Weeknd and Max B for the show, securing third place by a nose. The Weeknd plays true to his style, tackling the pop-rap infused melodic line like a champ. He ends up singing the first verse and the chorus. French Montana adds some contributions to the chorus, rapping the full second verse. His flow is sort of predictable – more of the same – but he has his moments. Max B finishes the meat of the song with the third and final verse. The production is good, not “the second coming.”
#4 “No Pressure”
“No Pressure” represents one of the better moments of the album, possessing a strong case for the third place spot on Jungle Rules. The production work is superb, with a hard, malicious quality. French Montana takes a more dominant, assertive role here, which is a pro. Future, who raps the second verse, sounds respectable – don’t call it a tour de force though.
#5 “Black Out”
Bizarre might be the best way to describe “Black Out,” our choice for fifth-best song from Jungle Rules. The production is a pro – quite malicious sounding. The one-of-a-kind Young Thug delivers the hook, which Is a trip. While French Montana leads the charge on the verses, he is assisted by Young Thug, which is an intriguing experience. “Black Out” is a standout, perhaps mostly because it’s so unique.
All said and done, Jungle Rules has its moments – primarily the aforementioned picks. Yes, the phrase has been used a couple of times to describe French Montana, but it perfectly captures this album as a whole. This is not a great album, but there are enough enjoyable moments and vibes. French Montana still needs to develop an identity as an artist. He assimilates well, but the question still remains, who is the real French Montana?
Gems: “Unforgettable,” “A Lie,” “Bring Dem Things,” “No Pressure,” “Black Out”