Emcee Monte does more than just make great music! He’s a talented MC, producer, DJ, Songwriter, spoken-word entertainer, and all-around great artist whose currently making a major name for himself. You may think that many rappers nowadays aren’t equipped with the skill to be considered one of the greats. However, for Emcee Monte, he is known for his versatile rhyming and his powerful positive messages influenced by the pioneers of hip-hop.
This strong influence of his is resonating in the work he crafts as he released a phenomenal album this year titled “Jammin’ With The Boombox Vol 1: Birth Of Hip Hop”. Emcee Monte is catered to a wide range of hip-hop listeners. He’s classic enough for the old heads and trendy enough for the new culture of rap. Emcee Monte fits right in while remaining in his own individual lane separate from anybody else. This is what makes him an iconic individual and standout artist as a whole. He delivers a STELLAR performance with the essence of the originators and old school greats like Run DMC, Kurtis Blow, LL Cool J, and Rakim fused together with some of the contemporary front runners like Jcole, Common, Lupe Fiasco, and Missy Elliot. With a fresh and stylistic approach to his songs, Emcee Monte is the next big thing to come out the southside of Chicago and you don’t want to miss his blow up!
Listen to Emcee Monte's music here.
Welcome to Buzzmusic Emcee Monte! Tell us about your upbringing. How was it growing up in Chicago?
I was raised on the South Side of the city in a neighborhood called South Shore near the South Shore Cultural Center. Growing up in Chicago was special. Chicago is one of the most beautiful cities in the world! Lake Michigan was my backyard. My family migrated to Chicago from Mississippi so I am very grateful that my upbringing was in a city as cultured and diverse as Chicago because that played a major roll in shaping my adolescent years. Even though Chicago is very diverse, it is still segregated, so I was awakened to social injustice and inequality at a young age as well. My mom raised my brothers and me to work hard and take advantage of the opportunities Chicago has to offer. I attended Kenwood Academy high school located in the Hyde Park/Kenwood area which is very rich in black history, music and culture. That is when I truly fell in love with Hip Hop! Chicago pride runs deep in my blood and I would not trade my upbringing for anything.
Your album was a solid creation that showcased your versatility in rhymes, cadence, and influences! What was the major theme you were seeking in “Jammin’ With The Boombox Vol 1: Birth Of Hip Hop”?
The major theme of “Jammin’ With The Boombox Vol 1: Birth Of Hip Hop” is the history of the Hip Hop culture. The album takes place in a live setting. I am on stage at a concert addressing an audience of youth people and telling the story of how Hip Hop started through music and dance. The interludes throughout the album are live tapings of that show and are used to put the listener in the seats of the audience. The perception is that as you listen, you are transported to this live show and you see me on stage with my DJ, teaching the history of Hip Hop through storytelling and rapping.
I really wanted to tell a cohesive and historically accurate story. Honestly, this album has been in the making since I was a teen 1st learning about the history of the culture, I just fell in love with, from my mentors. Over time I have been learning, studying, reading, listening and retaining the knowledge of the Hip Hop culture so I can teach it, share it and know about my roots. Fast forward to 2017, I began to write and produce songs that would teach the history and development of Hip Hop in a way that anyone could understand and enjoy. Now it was time for me to creatively tell the story of Hip Hop in my own words in a way that nobody was currently doing. 1 challenge that I felt was how to make write and produce a themed album like this that would be appealing, dope as ever, make people interested or even care about the history of hip hop and still make it pop and still make people dance! Eventually, I figured out that I cannot force the process, I just need to make what feels right, what feels good and what made me want to jam. The history is the history, I just had to tell it accurately because I could not rewrite it to make it fit what I needed for the album. In the end, it all worked out. It does fit, and it does hit hard.
Which song off this album was a personal favorite for you Emcee Monte and why?
This is a hard question, I love the music I make and I never want to choose...but, if I have to I would say, Rock Steady. Rock Steady is definitely an anthem from the album. The message is uplifting and positive I think everyone can relate to it and it is dedicated to my grandmother who passed in 2018. I feel like more music like this needs to exist in the world and needs to be given the same push as a lot of the mainstream rap that we always hear on the radio nowadays. There is no balance. Songs like Rock Steady are fun, funky, make you want to dance, positive and for everyone to enjoy.
In your own personal viewpoints, what ways does your style stand opposite from the rappers that are currently out in today’s market?
My style, my message, my delivery, my swag, my lyrical ability, and my integrity all make me stand out and stand the opposite of 99% of rappers in today's current market. When they go down, I go up. When they go left, I go right. I strive to make music that touches people's souls, that makes them feel good, that makes them want to dance, that makes them think, that changes them in a positive way, that teaches about our people and the greatness we have created in America. When I rap I want people to understand what I am saying and when I write, I write rhymes that have a positive, inspiring message that brightens the listener's day. I tell stories that portray black people in glorious light and that uplifts women to be queens. When people hear me rap, they tell me that I am unique or different from a lot of other rappers they hear and I love that!
Reflecting on 2019, What was the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
The biggest lesson that I have learned in 2019 is that I am in the driver seat of my life and career. I can steer myself to success, I can make my own lane and I am in control of what I want to do. With faith, dedication, hard work, and persistence, I can do all things!