Watch the exclusive premiere of the video for "Jungle," co-directed by Emile Rafael & Alex Da Kid.
If “Jungle” seems familiar, you’re not wrong. Right now, the song is going strong via a string of crafty placements. X Ambassadors and Jamie N Commons’ thumping track has featured in Beats' “The Game Before The Game” World Cup clip, which has had more than 10 million views and counting. The song has also served as the soundbed for the “Orange is the New Black” Season 2 trailer, which has notching up more than 8 million hits, and it has been synced to the “Welcome to Yesterday” film trailer.
Now, Billboard exclusively premieres the song and its video in full. Co-directed by Emile Rafael and Alex Da Kid, "Jungle" catches a close-up view of the various sub-cultures bubbling away in L.A, from punk rock girls to guests at a Baptist church and midnight riders.
“Jungle” is the fruits of a collaboration that brought together Brooklyn-based four-piece X Ambassadors and Jamie N Commons, a British blues, rock and folk musician with producers Alex Da Kid and Mike Del Rio. Alex Da Kid is the glue that binds the project. Jamie N Commons and X Ambassadors are recent signings to his KIDinaKORNER label, a subsidiary of Interscope, and Mike Del Rio is signed to KIDinaKORNER publishing.
It’s a muscular work, with a drum-beat reminiscent of Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” That is precisely what Alex Da Kid was trying to achieve. "It was my goal to write and produce an anthemic song that would resonate with anyone that has grown up in or been around underprivileged surroundings,” he explains. “I am completely overwhelmed and excited about the reception this song has received and the connection people seem to have to the emotion of it."
At its heart is this theme of the less-prosperous, the disadvantaged. X Ambassadors drew from experience. Keyboardist Casey Harris is blind. When the pair relocated to New York City from a small town upstate, the Big Apple wasn’t particularly accommodating. People would walk over Casey's cane, and “push past him, sometimes yell at him for getting in their way,” recalls brother and bandmate Sam. “He would tell me horror stories about getting clipped by cab drivers in the street, having people completely ignore him when he asked for directions on the subway platform, and overall just feeling frustrated with the heartlessness of it all,” the singer explains. Those bleak experiences have been converted into inspiration. “Every day out there was a battle for him,” he says. “But my brother is a warrior. I admire him so much for that.”
As the soccer World Cup kicks on, Jamie N Commons is thrilled to play his part in the World Game’s biggest tournament. “Jungle” powers Beats’ new promotional short “The Game Before the Game,” which features Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and a who’s who of soccer stars. “Being a huge football fan,” he explains, “it was amazing seeing some of the world’s best players warming up to the song.” “Jungle” appears on X Ambassadors’ latest EP “The Reason” (KIDinaKORNER/Interscope Records).