Happy twenty nineteen to everyone reading this. Typically the first quarter of the year is pretty quiet but there are some artists out there already making noise. One such artist, Montythehokage, released a dope EP titled ‘Transparency’ at the end of January. This is a great project to start the year off with and you’ll see why as we dissect the 7 track EP song by song.
Monty starts the project off with the song “Crown,” a super boppy song to start the project off with and is very singy songy. Monty declares he doesn’t need a crown because he has blessings all around. This song has some very Chance the Rapper type vibes but I love the production for this song.Next on the project is “Gold” which starts with very airy and light production before the claps come in and then the drums come in. I enjoyed the, “I’m a shooter with the Word like ooh. Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!” This song is very joyful sounding and Monty is just celebrating life and stating his goals. This is another feel good song on the project. The third song is “Love.” This song sounds like some soulful 90s boom bap that somehow snuck its way into 2019. That’s not a bad thing, as it’s the perfect canvas for Monty to wax poetic about one of the most talked about subjects in all of music: love. This is the first song where we hear Monty rap rap without the sing songy cadence or inflections, making it one of the standout songs on the project.
One of my personal favorites on the EP is “Flow Killer.” This is another laid back song but it’s for a whole other purpose; to let Monty just rap his face off. One of the bars that caught my attention off top is, “shorty bad but she ain’t saved, that’s an altercation.” That’s a sermon right there, and it’s wonderful that someone as young as Montythehokage acknowledges the danger of being unequally yoked. Monty was rapping on this song and before he spit a word he said it was the first installment. Hopefully, Monty will do more Flow Killers on future projects where he just raps his face and heart off. This definitely has replay value. Next we have “Balance” a piano driven track. I really like the flow that Monty has on this track but the hook kind of throws the song off for me. Maybe he could have had someone else sing the hook, but this beat is so soulful he could have just let it breathe for a few bars. Monty sounds really good rapping on these kinds of beats, this tempo really suits him.
We turn the corner on not just the album but the tone of the EP with “Cheat Code” featuring Xay Hill. This is one of the most different sounding songs on the entire project and comes out of nowhere and it bangs. You get to hear what Monty sounds like rapping rapping without any sort of sing song cadence. This song lets you know that Monty doesn’t have to sing rap in order to kill the track. Xay kills his verse and is a great addition to this song, he shines on the track but doesn’t steal the shine from Monty, which is always what a well done feature should do in my opinion. The very last song is the double sided “Save Him/Transparency.” This has a very mellow and laid back vibe. He speaks of faking being happy when he feels the exact opposite. I love the switch up to the second half of the song as Monty says “Alright Church! Do your thing!” Then come the somber church piano chords as Monty then waxes eloquent on how He’s going to thank God for everything, and how he’s going to push this music until God tells him it’s time to come home. This is a great way to end the album.
In conclusion, Montythehokage was out to give us a story in reverse. The project takes us from where he is currently to where he used to be. Monty noted how every project starts off dark but ends in an upbeat fashion, so he wanted to do the opposite, thus the boppy upbeat feel of the first few tracks and ending on a solemn yet hopeful note. It was very unique way to structure a project in the way he did, because the last song leaves you with something to think about.
In my personal opinion, there is way too much Chance the Rapper on this project. I wouldn’t say that if this is how Montythehokage always rapped/sung on his songs but that is not the case. I listened to seven of his other singles, my favorite being “Collin,” and realized he didn’t do any of the Chance the Rapper type things he did on this project. Perhaps he was heavily inspired by him or wanted to experiment with the flow and vibe. I would advise Monty to stay away from this style, although his beat selection is very nice, because Christian rappers always get compared to secular or mainstream artists. And it really doesn’t help when your cadence, flow and inflections, sound almost identical to a very popular artist. If this was the early 2000s, a Christian magazine would say that if you liked Chance The Rapper you would love Montythehokage, but in today’s climate that is not a compliment. Nevertheless, Monty did give us a message of hope and he executed his songs very well. Montythehokage is talented and I can’t wait to hear more music from him and hear more of his own particular sound. Do yourself a favor and go check out Montythehokage’s ‘Transparency’ project for yourself and let me know what you think.