“Montana of 300,” better known as Montana, is a promising American rap, drill, and hip-hop singer, and songwriter. He was born Walter Anthony Bradford, in a Chicago neighborhood, and witnessed poverty, violence, and racial tension while growing up. Many of his songs contain symbolism about survival, faith, and healing, weaved into powerful metaphors and dual-meanings that add an unprecedented spiritual tone to the rap genre. Long before he released his first solo album, he had a solid online support base. By 2006, he had garnered a strong online fan following for his remixes that were released primarily on ‘YouTube’ and shared across social media platforms. Montana’s fans love him for his ingenious rap style that borrows heavily from trap, drill, and R&B genres. His lyrics are also appreciated for their deep metaphors and striking themes that often deal with faith. His songs are mostly about overcoming challenges and maintaining perseverance in adverse circumstances. Montana has reportedly said that he wants his lyrics to reach out to people from all spheres and regions, instead of being stereotyped as rap forms typically associated with poor African–American neighborhoods in Chicago. He formed a band called ‘300,’ inspired by the 2006 film of the same name. He often jams with other artists, especially with former band member Montelle Talley, better known as “Talley of 300,” and is prolific with his compositions.
Childhood & Early Life
“Montana of 300,” or Montana, was born Walter Anthony Bradford, in Illinois, Chicago, in a large, impoverished family. Reports suggest that his family was dysfunctional and that both his parents were addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Little is known about his early years, except that he began songwriting and rapping in his early teens. Unconfirmed reports suggest that he had two brothers and three sisters.
His troubled childhood left a deep impact and possibly pushed him closer to religion. Many of his songs contain religious symbolism and themes. He also advocates his young fan base to stay away from drugs.
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Montana is known for his innovative rap style and dance moves. He incorporates other genres, such as trap, drill, and R&B, into his music. He started remixing, songwriting, and singing in his early teens.
He is said to have idolized Lil Wayne, Tupac, and DMX, as a kid. Speaking about Lil Wayne’s style, he stated, “His uniqueness and out-of-the-box thinking is what I admire.”
Since 2006, Montana began using ‘YouTube’ and other social media platforms to release his remixes of popular songs. He has a strong presence on ‘YouTube,’ ‘Twitter,’ and ‘Instagram’ and had garnered a huge fan following even before his first solo debut.
In 2008, Montana formed a band called ‘300,’ with his school friend Montelle Talley. The band was the namesake of Zack Snyder’s critically acclaimed war film, released in 2006 and starring Gerard Butler.
Montana named the band ‘300’ because he was inspired by the motto of the film ‘300’ that said, “No Surrender, No Retreat, Only the Hard, Only the Strong; Against All Odds.”
The band disbanded in 2014, but Montana and Talley have retained the suffix ‘300’ and often collaborate together. Their music is still available on ‘YouTube,’ ‘MySpace,’ and many other social media platforms.
In May 2014, Montana’s remix of ‘Chi-Raq,’ originally sung by Nicki Minaj and Lil Herb, attracted millions of online views. ‘White Iversion,’ ‘Mask Off,’ ‘Ooouuu,’ and ‘Bodak Yellow’ were some of his other popular remixes.
Most of Montana’s works have been released in a digital download format. In December 2015, Montana and “Talley of 300” released a mixtape called ‘Gunz and Roses.’
Montana released his first mixtape, ‘Cursed With a Blessing,’ in December 2014. It contained the songs ‘Ice Cream Truck’ and ‘Holy Ghost,’ both of which garnered millions of ‘YouTube’ views.
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Montana’s debut studio album, ‘Fire in the Church,’ released in May 2016 and climbed to number 95 on the ‘Billboard 200’ chart. This has been the highest rank in the Chicago-based singer’s career to date.
On February 10, 2017, Montana released the album ‘No Surrender No Retreat.’ Montana’s third solo tape and second album, ‘Don't Doubt the God,’ released on May 20, 2017. Before the release, Montana was arrested and jailed.
On May 17, 2017, a message on his ‘Facebook’ and ‘Instagram’ accounts urged his fans to buy the upcoming album, but it did not reveal the reason for his imprisonment or the location of his incarceration. Montana was released from prison on July 1, 2017.
His fourth studio album, ‘Pray 4 the Devil,’ is slated to be released on May 20, 2018. Montana is active on social media and interacts with his fans regularly, regarding his work, and encourages feedback from them too.
Montana has established his own record label, ‘Fly Guy Entertainment’ (FGE). Clothes and other accessories and merchandise are available on the official ‘FGE’ website.
While Montana has enjoyed popularity throughout his career, his albums ‘Fire in the Church’ and ‘Don’t Doubt the God’ have been major hits. The former reached the 95th position on the prestigious ‘Billboard 200’ list.
His remix tape of ‘Chi-Raq,’ originally performed by Nicki Minaj and Lil Herb, also broke the internet and has had more than 23 million ‘YouTube’ views.
Montana closely guards his personal life. He loves his own space, enjoys his freedom, and is reportedly not dating anyone at present. He has two children: a son and an infant daughter. The identity of their mother/s is not known.
Having witnessed the devastating effects of drug and alcohol abuse on his parents, during his childhood, Montana has a strong aversion to drugs and urges his fans not to use drugs.
There was a controversy shortly before the release of his album ‘Don't Doubt the God,’ in May 2017. He had shared a message on social media that said he had been jailed.
Neither the location of his jail nor the reason for his arrest was immediately revealed. Later, in an interview, Montana said he was arrested for driving on a suspended license and for providing a false identity upon detention.
In September 2015, Montana played a cameo in ‘Empire,’ a popular TV series that revolves around the music industry. In an interview, he said he was roped in for the show by a talent agent after she saw the ‘Chi-Raq’ remix video.
Montana is said to have become acquainted with Rick Rubin, record producer and former co-president of ‘Columbia Records,’ because of his stint in ‘Empire.’ Chris Rock recommended Montana to Rubin and that paved a way for Montana’s career prospects in Los Angeles.
Soon after connecting with Rick Rubin, Montana was said to be collaborating with rap giant Kanye West. A ‘Facebook’ post by Montana, in which he shared a video of himself at Kanye’s house, got the rumor mills running.