Originally from London, UK, LTtheMonk first fell in love with hip-hop at just eight years old, when the music captivated his young ears and ignited what would become a lifelong passion. Blended with constant exposure to reggae (via his Jamaican mother) and rock (via his Irish father), LT’s adventurous love of music and performing onstage would only grow stronger. That eclectic musical upbringing, coupled with discovering the music of Michael Jackson and becoming obsessed with the pop icon’s music and dancing in parallel with his foundational hip hop exposure, set LT off on a journey to becoming a musician himself. It’s also an intrinsic part of LT’s toolkit, with bantamweight Gene Kelly-meets-James Brown footwork and immaculate sport socks both indelible signatures of his persona as an entertainer. With a name that announces his meditative dedication to his craft, the artist describes himself as ‘London Made, East-Coast Trained’, a tribute to both his home city and the New York MCs who inspired him. LT began rapping seriously at 16 and dropped his first EP the next year. His 2015 debut full-length (Monk in London) and 2017 follow-up (The Dark Side of the Monk), offered intriguing glimpses of an emerging MC whose nimble wordplay and voracious interests hinted at things to come. Shaped by the influence of early-’90s genre touchstones and a relocation to Hamilton, Ontario, 2019’s Kinks, Drinks & Hip-Hop charted his rise as diligent lyricist, cultural critic, and thoughtful historian. The album also established LT’s credentials as a charismatic live performer, with tour dates finding him backed by his band, a trio of jazz players (keyboardist Santiago Rozo-Paz, bassist Cam Watson, drummer Lucas Hibbs). LT has since carved a reputation as a vibrant and compelling talent, and his standing is destined to grow with the release of his new album, On The Wall (out August 20, 2021).
The next step in his artistic evolution, the full-length honours ancestors even as it points toward alternate futures, and is further evidence of the artist’s ambition to push hip-hop forward.