Montana of 300 - "Fire in the Church" May 22, 2016 21:12:09 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on May 22, 2016 21:12:09 GMT -5
Fire in the Church (2016)
By: Montana of 300
By: Montana of 300
"It don't make you real cause there's diamonds inside your damn watch, or never left your hood and you always reppin' your damn block. And it don't make you savage cause you be totin' no damn glocks, or popped it at no ops or you ran away from no damn cops. Or sold a buncha grams or be standing over them damn pots, or you stay in the field like them little niggas off "Sandlot." If you don't want your momma to see you up in no damn box, just aim straight, for that ain't cool (ankle), like Ken Shamrock. I used to watch 'Rap City,' had dreams to be at the damn top. Now labels on my dick, with hopes they can get my John Hancock. Nobody famous reached out to me or gave me no damn shot. Lately, I'm adding dough to my knots until rubber bands pop." - Montana of 300, "Fighting Demons, Dropping Jewels."
Highly anticipated, long-delayed, and a potential game-changer for the state of independently released rap music, Montana of 300's debut album and sophomore effort release Fire in the Church storms on the scene boasting some of the hottest bars, the coldest topics, and the most introspective tone of any rap release this year. If you only listen to one rap project of the entire year, make Fire in the Church that project.
Following up Montana's debut mixtape Cursed With a Blessing from 2014, but not too closely to suffer or affect much in a comparison sense, Fire in the Church affirms precisely why I've been calling Montana of 300 the strongest rapper in the game right now. Nearly every song of the eighteen-track album boasts incredible, sometimes unfathomable, lyrical richness and complexity and thematic urgency, as Montana shreds layers of vulnerability and years of troubled experiences no matter the speed or the intensity of the production.
Combining songs that might make you break a sweat with their lyrical depth and vocal delivery, R&B ballads that might have you crooning and appreciating that special lady, or anthemic tracks that are as flashy and cocky as Montana can sometimes be, all while asserting the prominence and underdog status of Montana's Fly Guy Entertainment (FGE) moniker and self-proclaimed "Rap God" status, one can only affirm his desire to be hip-hop's redemption.
The album boasts a compelling, doomy religious subtext to its often lively yet minimized production, giving Montana's vocals the forefront on most tracks. Consider the opening track "Heat Stroke," where Montana spits a series of humorous yet cut-throat and unapologetically brutal lines whilst assuming four or five different flows. His simile/metaphor-game, something that Montana is known for and what ultimately won me over from the start, has scarcely been stronger than on this particular track here and has one craving more just five minutes into such an amazing release.
Following up the ostensibly immeasurable intro are the previously released drill tune "Land of the Dark," which has Montana assuming a slower, slightly more melodic flow as he reflects on the violent and tumultuous side of his past, "Mf's Mad, Pt. 2," a sequel to the standout track from his collaborative album with longtime friend and labelmate Talley of 300's album Gunz & Roses, which makes for an exorbitantly boastful and fun listen, the mellow, cloud rap-induced "WTS Now," that emphasizes some enthusiastic and skilled vibes from Montana's go-to producer Charisma 808 to make for a song that emphasizes the fakery Montana has seen since he "made it big," the slightly electronic but throwback jam "Robo Op," as well as the reflective and personal "Down Here" where Montana doesn't hold back as he recalls his younger years - "life's a bitch down here," he wails.
Other songs that boast features are sprinkled in throughout the album, such as "Goonies," which, while presenting a contagious Montana flow, features an almost-terrible Kevin Gates feature, making this collaboration nothing shy of disappointing, "Bad as Hell," one of Montana's trademark love tunes that covers good ground with the crooner Jalyn Sanders chiming in with his buttery pipes, though not being nearly as graphic or as explicit as Montana is by himself in "Wifin You," and "FGE Cypher, Pt. 2," another sequel-track to a song on Gunz N Roses that showcases many of the FGE crew. This time, Talley, J Real, as well as the younger but equally promising $avage and No Fatigue turn out for a song that, while sporadically compelling, doesn't showcase the group as well as it could. Look for a better profile, specifically for $avage and No Fatigue, on the second-to-last track "Bang Bang."
Other songs serve as sequels to formerly released tracks without having to denote it, such as "Angel With an Uzi" being more-or-less a followup to Montana's famously vicious, industrial hip-hop track "Holy Ghost," and "Fighting Demons, Dropping Jewels" being a brisk, rarely honest five-minute diatribe to those who think toting glocks makes them hardcore gangsters that could pleasantly succeed the honesty brought forth in the Cursed track "Game of Pain." With that, the album ends with "Here Now," Montana's proclaimed "dedication" to hip-hop, calming the fears of all of its current, resilient fans saying there's no need to worry now that hip-hop has an independent, fearless voice on its side.
Montana of 300 has been both hip-hop's anomaly and poster-child for years. Not signed or assisted by any major label, Montana has successfully commanded top spots on iTunes charts and went from rapping in basements to sitting alongside producer Rick Rubin and Kanye West in ostensibly no time. Fire in the Church serves as a huge milestone and a testament not only to Montana himself, but the power of word-of-mouth and quality, uncompromising talent and content. The work winds up being a brash, aggressive statement that has Montana wearing his relationship with God (not religion) as a bloody badge of honor and his unfathomable rap skills as a deservedly cocksure brand that only he can adequately bear. The only serious question that remains is what could Montana possibly follow up what could very well be his defining opus to the rap game. The Lord only knows at this point.