Senior Tyler Montgomery makes it to Spotify.

Nathan Roberts and Ben Cohen

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Hickman’s next big thing, Tyler Montgomery, also known as Mongo, has become the first Hickman student to make it onto the digital music service, Spotify. Mongo, now a senior, started rapping his freshman year. Busy with school and baseball, Mongo still finds the time to pursue his rapping career.

“My friend and neighbor Parker Costello made beats, and decided to see if I could go on it,” Montgomery said. “It just started to go off.”

From listening to some of his most valuable inspirations, like Grammy award winning rappers Eminem and Kendrick Lamar, to making his own lyrics in his home, Mongo’s career started to accelerate, and it never slowed down. Mongo has thirteen tracks on Spotify, ten of them on an album. The other three are hit singles.

“Personally I like Back Now, because it’s very short and because I wrote it in like fifteen minutes and recorded in like fifteen minutes,” Montgomery said. “That was really the one where I realized I was actually really good at [rapping]. That’s probably my favorite one.”

Producer and former neighbor of Mongo, Parker Costello, has been with him since the beginning.

Other students that pursue their passion for music normally post their works on SoundCloud, an online audio distribution platform, which enables people to upload their works and allows many Hickman students to share their mixtapes with the world. But for Montgomery, making it on to Spotify was a struggle.

“It was pretty hard. I started by putting it on SoundCloud, because you can immediately upload, but to get onto the bigger things like Spotify and iTunes and stuff,” Montgomery said. “That was hard and it took multiple months, instead of just recording and then instantly uploading. What I had to do was claim I was an independent label, copyright my music which was sick because my dad’s a lawyer, authorize myself as my own manager, and I had to make sure that every sample, every beat, and every lyric was my own. Eventually they accepted it and put it on there.”

Nick Parry, senior classmate and a collaborating rapper, first witnessed the musical capabilities of Montgomery a few months ago from one of his friends.

“There was one where I was able to collaborate with him called Lone Wolves and it’s my personal favorite,” Parry said. “It was an unrivaled experience. He was so opened to any ideas Sean and I suggested for the song and he made our visions a reality.”

But as a fellow rapper, Parry felt some intimidation while working with Mongo.

“He would just hop on the mic and effortlessly create amazing music. It was intimidating to try and do the same,” Parry said.

First taken as a joke by a few of his peers to now getting paid for his music, Mongo has really shown Hickman the definition of hard work.

“I have been getting royalties, which is pretty funny,” Montgomery said. “Right now I’ve made about $70. [Spotify] pretty much just transfer it through PayPal. That is probably the simplest part of the entire process. I don’t really have to do anything. They will just send it to me every month, and I pretend that I’m a professional.”

The main purpose of making it to Spotify was to prove to his peers that he was serious about rapping.

“At first the baseball team didn’t really take me seriously.” Montgomery said. “But when I showed my teammates that I had made it to Spotify, they started to think I was legit.”

Mongo promoted himself to Hickman by telling his friends in person, through texts, until some of the teachers started to catch on to the juicy beats of Tyler Montgomery.

“I received a text message [from Tyler] with a link,” friend of Montgomery and Senior Drew Gilliland said. “I knew Tyler had been cooking something up in the studio, so I clicked on the link. I plugged my phone into the car’s AUX and blew the speakers. I replied to Tyler with a fire emoji.”

Mongo plans to pursue his music career after high school, and doesn’t plan on stopping his passion for rapping any time soon.

“I am going to North central Missouri college to play baseball,” Montgomery said. “And I intend to keep making music no matter where I end up.”

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