Here to shake up the hip hop scene, LTtheMonk (real name Liam Tyndall) is an international talent who’s bringing clever rhyme schemes, funky tempos, and next level storytelling to the forefront of his music. The UK-raised, Canadian-based rapper offers a unique lens to his verses that’s rooted in metamorphic experiences and observations. Laced with spiritual undertones and a quench for the ultimate truth, LTtheMonk’s new album On The Wall questions how history affects the present in both his personal life and in the world.
Opening up with the psychedelic “2 Days in Brooklyn”, LT sounds an alarm to mark consciousness expanding, calling all with ears to listen and not just hear. It’s warbling synths gradually change pace, magically melting into a hypnotic dance-esque cadence. A minute and a half in, we already get a taste of the artist's fluid nature. Finding a sense of stability took time for the eccentric artist – who often balanced two worlds as a mixed Jamaican-Irish young man. It’s the same ability to embrace different spheres that helped LT juxtapose contrasting ideals, like on his song “Dark Italians”. The song and accompanying visual document the lives of Black men living in a white world. With a witty knack for shining light on social disparities, he brilliantly refers to the authorities as prosciutto (pigs), rhyming: “Hushed tones in the presence of prosciutto. More Moors coming through to get the kudos. We dark Italians, the blood line is puro in Racalmuto.” It's clear that LT is not just making tunes we can nod our heads to, but songs we can truly think about.
On the groovy “Devante (In Your Hands)” LT commands a pulsating house beat with ultra-confidence. Bringing a melodic side to his signature husky vocals, he reminisces on the magic that sparks chemistry in a relationship. C-walking in socks, LT and his crew facetiously dub themselves “The New New Edition”. A smooth criminal on his feet, LT is a walking sensation.
An ode to Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall,––the album that inspired this record––“Brothers on the Wall” celebrates the Black artists who paved the way for LT. Shouting out the MJ’s, Prince’s, Jay Z’s, and Nas’ of history, he recognizes that their crowns came with a cost and he’s ready to put in the work. Solidifying his place on the wall of fame for Black art with his manifesto, LT is a student of the greats, and bound to be a respected teacher, or rather monk, of the game. Throughout the rest of the album, LT schools us on the basics of philosophy. On curious, atmospheric tracks like “Who Do You Think You Are” and “Everybody Wants Some”, he breaks the essence of life down to its most rudimentary level. Listening to his anecdotes and hypotheses on what makes the world go around, you can't help but wonder, “Why do we complicate things that can be so simple?”
It's on the album's closing track, “Four Seconds”, that we truly witness how inventive LTtheMonk is. He takes us through each season, each representative of four phases of a relationship. With rose-coloured glasses, he first transports us to the summer months, capturing the excitement that comes with starting a new relationship. The optimism soon fades in the fall until a full blown snow storm comes our way in the winter. Things bloom once again in the spring, and hope for forgiveness and a fresh start are on the horizon. Each phase of the song has its own sonic soundscape and flow, reminding us to give thanks in all seasons. Directed and shot by Matt Azzarello, the video for “Four Seasons” is a superb testament of LT and his team's knack for creative storytelling.
A wizard of sorts with metaphors and anecdotes, LTtheMonk has a gift for lifting listeners’ level of consciousness. With a knack for c-walking in socks and changing the pace before we can even catch on, LT is as intentional as he is questionable. His ability to take the simple and make something thought-provoking is ever-present on On The Wall. Between brilliant storytelling, quirky idiosyncrasies, and sensational energy, LT is a promising MC with demonstrated innovation. With funky digital elements and creative rhyme schemes reminiscent of poetic giants like Slick Rick and Nas, one thing’s for sure, LT will make you wanna get up on your feet to dance, socks and all.