An Overanalysis Of A Rap Lyric: Monty in “679”
I believe I’ve found my new favorite rap lyric. The line I’ll likely be randomly singing in my head every day when idle for the next several weeks. The new Fetty Wap song “679” is the song any new rapper with a crew releases, generally the third or fourth single on an album, that introduces one of his boys. It’s where we hear the rapper Monty say:
“They like Monty can you be my baby daddy/ I’m like yeah”.
A lyric, at its face, that’s just nothing but rambling words. But whether on purpose or by accident, Monty may have uttered the most erudite line in the history of music.
It’s just so brief and to the point yet at the same time rich in the statement it makes, like reading Hemingway. The male character casts aside the assumed expectations of fatherhood and sees all this as something to be agreed upon on a whim. As though he knows that society won’t begrudge him if he just impregnates the young lady then moves on. He realizes the world he has grown up in, and that in an urban environment the single mother is not an outlier. He’s simply conforming to the societal norms that have been played out time and again. But he realizes this, and he realizes too that in perpetuating the cycle he creates a legitimacy for himself in the rap game.
That is what most rappers are seeking, is legitimacy. In this modern day where cynicism reigns over all, a man who can prove he was shot several times is somehow able to parlay that into riches by way of being a gangsta rapper. In a music genre that is driven by reputation, it behooves the creator to have a back story, something he can point to and say, “see, I’ve lived it.” In producing illegitimate offspring, perhaps Monty sees this as a way to seem more real, more of the streets. He sees his own absentee father, or rather doesn’t see him, and that of his compatriots, and assumes this is a path to follow to fame. So many great public figures grew up without a father figure and were forced into the crucible of life unprepared, forging them into iron strong enough to survive. Monty could see his act as noble, preparing these future offspring early for the misery of the everyday slog.
Perhaps that’s a misread though. Perhaps there is a maturity to Monty that we are ignoring unless we pay the right attention. Monty can’t be more than 22, 23 years old. Yet he’s so dead set on having a child, the way he so quickly says “Yeah” on her request to be the baby daddy. This conviction is admirable — I know I would practically laugh if someone asked me to be their baby daddy. I am a man child in the most millennial way possible. But Monty? He is here to propagate the species, have a child and spread his seed. Perhaps he has it right.
What is involved in becoming a baby daddy though? They say any man can have a child, but it takes something special about being a father. I assume this means to be a father you must be able to laugh at your child’s misfortune and assign terrible chores to those who want to do them least. One would hope that Monty, in agreeing to this verbal contract, has an idea already of the level of participation he has planned for the raising of this child. And the way he says “Yeah” to the question, asked by “They” and not “She”, you wonder if this has happened multiple times. Do we have the beginnings of megalomania on our hands here? Has Monty just admitted to impregnating dozens, if not hundreds of women to create his own army of child soldiers? The authorities should illegally hack his Netflix account and see the number of movies about child soldiers he watched. Perhaps “Beast Of No Nation” struck a chord with him and, like most men, also wants to be like Idris Elba.
For a man in this modern economy to be so ready to raise kids is impressive. One must either assume Monty is ill informed, which would be quite the assumption given his past experience as an international superstar Remy Boy, or believes in the future of the world. Where others see only the death and despair that leads the news every night, could it be that Monty, in his brevity, has realized the solution is ourselves? As Wu-Tang once said, the children are the future, and Wu-Tang is for the babies. Perhaps Monty was raised to believe this, and he will impart this love of life he so obviously has, this verve to live to the fullest as a Remy Boy, to the next generation.
The literary world has been wanting the next Great American Novel since the Great Gatsby came out. Or maybe Catcher in the Rye, who knows what that even means. But perhaps we’re not paying enough attention. Those that can truly evoke emotion, that helpless fear and unstoppable love that comes with fatherhood, the laissez-faire attitude that so encapsulates modern life, Monty is a wordsmith. Of that there is no doubt. This is the evolution of the written word for our Now world. He holds up a mirror to us in just one line, and bares all our wickedness, our pride, our goodness and our evil.