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. To some, this more-is-more approach won't be a problem; but as a sonic statement, some listeners may be left wanting less. For better or worse, there's something here for everyone, whether it's woozy trap, Drake-style hip-pop, and even a few nostalgia trips. The guest features add an impressive wow factor and provide many of the highlights. Rae Sremmurd's Swae Lee elevates the tropical dancehall "Unforgettable," a summery jam that borrows directly from the Drake handbook, while Pharrell Williams helps Montana nail the throwback spirit on "Bring Dem Things," which features vocals by the Kid Daytona on a track that resurrects the early aughts. Travis Scott, Quavo, and Future bring the trap to Jungle Rules, but Young Thug takes the crown on the booming "Black Out." Among this glut of trap -- serviceable jams but nothing listeners haven't heard before -- Montana takes a few chances with haunting atmospherics, like on the album-opener "Whiskey Eyes," which features Chinx and the gorgeous vocals of British singer Fe, and throbbing standout "She Workin," on which Marc E. Bassy lends his silky voice. Often, Montana gets lost in the guest shuffle, but of the six tracks where he's riding solo, he showcases his own skills well enough. The best of which, "Famous," is a nice break from the rest of the album, once again channeling Drake (this time, opting for the Canadian's talent for sensitive emoting set to an addictive beat). In the end, with enough highlights that could constitute a tighter and more effective track list, Jungle Rules suffers from lengthy playlist aspirations and not enough focus.
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AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung