J. Monty on Meaning of ‘100 Bars Pt. 4’, Album Delay, and Testify Series [Interview]
J. Monty just dropped his new single “100 Bars Pt. 4” along with a music video. He took the time to answer some questions about the track and where he’s at with music.
What’s the central message of “100 Bars Pt. 4”?
“100 BarsPt. 3” was more of a lyrical sermon. The message was to the point. Part 4 is a bit more layered in the sense that the message can be interpreted through the production just as much as the lyrical illustration. Sonically, you’ll experience the song transition from dark to inspirational. That encompasses the theme of my life over the past 4 years; from broken to hopeful. The production also explores three different styles of hip-hop that I was heavily influenced by growing up, which points to the totality of my musical identity and my evolving pursuit as a student of Hip-Hop.
Lyrically, you’ll experience more of my testimony and my desire to see Jesus glorified. So the beauty of Part 4 is that it serves as the reflection of everything I’ve grown to be as a believer both in the production and in the storytelling.
You’ve become known for these 100 bar songs. How do you go about making these tracks? Are they verses pieced together or do you sit and pen that whole thing out?
“100 Bars Pt. 4” stands in its own class apart from parts 1-3. In parts 1-3 I bought 3 or 4 pre-made instrumentals for each song from YouTube producers and pieced them together. I wrote each 100 Bar song in 2 to 3 writing sessions, but for the most part, I strayed from using scattered verses to make one whole song.
“100 Bars Pt. 4” is the first of the series where I worked with one producer from start to finish and I was heavily involved in the musical direction of the record, and I didn’t just work with any producer. I worked with my uncle, Vikaden, the reason I started making music in the first place. I wrote the entire thing in 2 separate writing sessions and then we worked on the production on and off for about 5 months.
Is the track a prelude to something on its way or is this a standalone song?
There’s more music coming.
Last year, it was announced you signed with Sony. A couple of singles were released, an album teased, but nothing materialized. Are you able to explain what happened?
The industry is turbulent and has been in transition for a while now, which I think is clear to even the average onlooker. Combine a turbulent industry with an artist who specializes in creating music for an almost non-existent market and you’ll find some difficulty somewhere in there.
Assuming that you being the first artist signed to Sony’s Christian label will come with a learning curve, why make the decision to sign with a new label?
I’m a very spirit-led individual. I consulted with my Heavenly Father and was led to make the commitment. The greatest learning curve for me wasn’t understanding how to navigate my deal, it was learning that oftentimes what God leads us into doesn’t always have a glamorous middle.
He told Abraham he would be a father, then asked him to sacrifice his son. He told Joseph he would rule, then he was sold into slavery. He told David he would be king, then he became a refugee. He told the disciples to get in a boat, on the other side of their obedience was turbulent waters and violent wind. God told Jesus He was well pleased in Him after he was baptized by John, and immediately after that affirmation, Christ was led BY THE SPIRIT into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan.
Learning to accept that God might send me somewhere that hurts yet still helps was a contrasting concept that I had to learn was the formula through which God would shape my character and assert His glory.
Was releasing the weekly Testify series a way to produce content for your listeners and also keep your creativity flowing as you waited for an album?
What were these songs birthed out of and do you see yourself doing more exercises like this?
The songs I had released through Sony in 2018 were all written 2 to 3 years before they were released. Testify was birthed out of an aggressive desire to insert my voice into our culture and awaken more people to the truth.
I definitely want to bring Testify back one day.
You are outspoken about things you see in CHH, the community, culture, etc. Do you feel a responsibility to speak out on things as an influencer?
What’s the next step for you? How do you elevate and where are you going?
We will just have to watch all of that unfold as it unfolds.