The following piece is a part of our On The Radar series including individuals who have been placed on our radar, and we encourage you to have them on yours.
Wade-O Radio: Who is J. Monty?
I was really hoping you could tell me…I’m all out of guesses.
Wade-O Radio: Where are you from originally, and where do you live now?
Monty Man from Clay Co…I’m all about a Peso…
My Eagle flew away and came back with some Play-Doh.
One thang my mama taught me was to never give up.
I used to keep my loose change in a measuring cup.
Now my grey skinny jeans look like two elephant trunks.
& Plus I’m wearing it once then I’m selling this stuff.
Sorry… had a flash back… old lyrics… wasn’t saved yet. But I was born in Clay Co, never left Clay Co.
Wade-O Radio: When did you get interested in creating music?
Ever since I could write I was always interested in the creative process of anything art-related, including music. I don’t believe I got serious until I was about 12.
Wade-O Radio: What was your first Christian Hip Hop album?
Wow… umm, that’s a tough one. I’ve been walking with Christ since 2010, but it took me a while to give CHH a chance. I heard bits and pieces (mix cd’s – youth events etc.) but I don’t think I had a project on repeat until Da’ T.R.U.T.H.’s Love, Hope, War album.
Wade-O Radio: Do you consider yourself primarily an audio engineer, or a rapper?
I’ll put it this way… the only reason I promote myself as an audio engineer is so I can make a few dollars to support my rap career.
Yes & no… I put out a couple of CHH tapes before Level 54, but I just used them to minister to people on campus, in the hood, or in the church. Never really put anything out for critics, consumers, or anything beyond local appeal. I had fun with Level 54. I would consider it my first project.
Wade-O Radio: Let’s talk about this ‘Level 54’ Concept I read on Rapzilla. First of all, I think you have a bright future in theological arithmetic. How did you come up with that?
Hahaha! Yeah sooo… I try not to go too far into the explanation, because I’m fully aware of how crazy I sound, but 54 is the number that God used to confirm every sign He ever gave me before I got saved. I would wake up from a dream at 3:54am. Later that day the dream would come true. After this happened like a thousand times in a row I started to finally realize God was calling me. 54 just became God’s custom ringtone. Whenever I saw it…I knew He was calling…and then something supernatural would happen. Weird right? I know. It goes so much deeper, but I can’t explain it all here or people would call me a heretic lol. So you see, I didn’t really come up with the concept..My brain was just strange enough to process what I was seeing at the time.
Wade-O Radio: What’s your favorite song on the mixtape? Why?
“City On Fire” … there is not a song more relevant to my life on that entire project.
Wade-O Radio: Christian Hip Hop has gone through a lot of changes and growth in the last 5-10 years. In your opinion what changes have been positive and what have been negative?
The positive and the negative work together simultaneously…
I believe that any change made apart from the Holy Spirit is a change made for the worse. I think I’ll preach for a second.
“Please stand for the reading of the word.”
It’s evident that the Old testament is the New testament concealed… and the New testament is the Old testament revealed. So for every important historical document in the OT… we can find a manifested match in the NT.
I like to call it the mirror effect… glory… Let’s use the Tower of Babel for this example.
Tower of Babel OT mirror effect:
The whole earth had one language and one speech. #UNITY
Because of their unity, they were well on their way to building a city high enough to reach heaven..but because Christ had not been presented as an atoning sacrifice for sin yet, these people were not yet Holy enough to dwell in a heavenly place…so God confused their tongues and they all spoke a different language. #DIVISION
Because of their division, they were no longer able to work together to build that heaven bound city.
Tower of Babel NT mirror effect:
Church turn with me to Acts Chapter Number TWO.
When the day of Pentecost had fully come, Tongues of Fire appeared and landed on everyone in the upper room, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in the native tongue of devout Jews from EVERY NATION in the world. Here we see that for the FIRST TIME after God confused everyone’s tongue in the OT..He has given them the ability to speak each other’s language again. Because of this unity…Peter (upon this rock I will build) begins to preach…3,000 people are added to the church…next sermon….2,000 people are added to the church. Couple thousand years later…we’re about 4 billion strong.
Notice three things..
1. Jesus’ blood has been shed, we are now justified and considered blameless..we have the RIGHT to access heaven now unlike those men building the tower of Babel.
2. God touched their tongues in the OT to divide them…God touched their tongues in the NT to bring them together…but they did not begin to SPEAK each other’s language until they were FILLED with the HOLY SPIRIT, and immediately after, Peter preached and other people got saved. Or in other words the first ROCK (peter) was laid down and a bunch of other rocks were placed on top of him, to start a brand new tower that CAN reach heaven….the church! & we have not stopped building upon that first rock since then!
3. This type of unity can not work apart from the constant consulting of the Holy Spirit.
So I believe that CHH has become dependent upon itself. My evidence of that? Division. If CHH was dependent upon the Holy Spirit…I believe that we would all be speaking the same language right now…but because everyone has a different method…it’s going to be very difficult for us to move forward. We can create the illusion of progress through man-made accolades…but Godly progress is a completely different subject.
So Tragic Hero can put out a project…and I can put out a project…and we never say a word to one another during the process..and our sound may be different…but the heart behind our project is not…because we have both consulted the Holy Spirit who will give us unity of mind.
“You may be seated”
Wade-O Radio: What challenges have you experienced being an up-and-coming artist in our unique sub-genre?
Wow… the struggle. I have a wife and a 2 year old son. I love them with everything I am… because of that love there’s always a war within myself, “Use this money for music… or use this money for family.” Music is much more expensive to produce than people know. People demand quality, but don’t understand that on the cheaper side of things… each song costs $400-500 to produce as an indie artist..and that’s when you’re cutting corners.
Definitely a financial challenge. People don’t know what artists go through.
I struggle internally, wondering if I’m ever going to be more effective.
Plenty of nights in depression, in tears, asking God for help and direction.
It’s not easy & I’ve barely even scratched the surface.
Wade-O Radio: Where can fans keep up with you and your music?
On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram everything is @JmontyStudios, my website is www.jmontystudios.com, and of course my music is on Spotify, iTunes, GooglePlay, and Amazon.
Listen to Level 54 below: