Montage One is a soldier of the Gold Chain Military, a California collective led by General Planet Asia, consistently one of the most slept on emcees in hip-hop. As such I’m almost honor bound to give anybody that Asia considers family the time of day, and Montage certainly sports an impressive list of credentials – even if they’re fictional. He’s a self-described “10th degree black belt in MMA mic grappling” who is decorated with medals for fighting “the global war on lyrical terrorism.” Oh and did I mention he’s descended from Sun Tzu, William Wallace and Thor?
I’m not sure how the latter fact is even FICTIONALLY possible, but what the hell – if you’re going to dream you might as well dream big. What’s not fiction on “10.6.3 OGX” is the who’s who list of talent he brought in to rap with him, to the point that six out of seven straight songs feature an underground heavyweight. He teams with Strong Arm Steady on the aptly named “Strong Arm Spittery,” kicks it with Foreign Exchange on the silky smooth “Lie #1,” trades hot bars with Ras Kass and Guilty Simpson on the thumping “Beat 2 Def,” joins the Durag Dynasty (Killer Ben and Planet Asia) for the pissy drunk night club venue theme “Chain Sinatra,” gets down for a delicious dish of “Cornbread and Oxtales” with Oh No, and then hammers one of the hardest tracks of the whole LP with Evidence on “State of Emergency.” The only unfamiliar name smack in the middle of that run is Mark Noxx on “Scared 2 Live,” and I’m not hating on it.
For that seven song run along “10.6.3 OGX” would be worth the purchase price, but there are two other songs with cameos too – the Military family all guest on “Mafia Movement” and J-Ro joins the fun along with Styliztik Jones, Med and Phil the Agony for the finale “Likwit Assembly.” You could consider Montage a third or fourth generation Alkaholik emcee if you like, something he does himself in his own bio, and the fact he’s rapped with both J-Ro, Phil and Xzibit (sadly not featured here) does make a case for it. With so many songs featuring outside talent though, does Montage get lost in the mix? Thankfully no. “When U Find It” is a DJ Babu produced track where his voice shines through:
“(When you find it) let me know whassup cause I was wondering
Staring out a window as it’s thundering and lightning
I wish I had the answer and it’s frightening at first
So I’m writing this verse to bring light to the curse so that
(When you find it) you can know what to do with it
Most people never have a clue what to do with it
This is educational, not your recreational
concept for radio that’s non-confrontational”
Though he’s drowning in more hot guest stars than most up-and-comers can even pray for, and he’s got a lot to live up to by associating himself with both Gold Chain and Likwid Emcees, Montage One succeeds in not letting anybody down on “10.6.3 OGX” and makes me glad I invested the time in his album either as a critic or as a hip-hop head. You will be too.