LTC a.k.a. Lightning the Cape Verdean is a hip-hop artist representing strong for his state of Masachusetts. He was born in Cape Verde, grew up in Boston, and has lived in both Roxbury and Dorchester. If this makes you think of Edo.G, Akrobatik, Esoteric & Mr. Lif that's undoubtedly what LTC was going for in his bio. The Massachusetts hip-hop scene has always been very strong but largely underrated, with a not unnoticeable current of resentment when Bostonians make it big by relaunching their rap careers in New York. Only a select few artists like Guru of GangStarr fame have been able to maintain strong ties in both markets, but these days the Massachusetts scene is stronger than ever and increasingly visible through the underground and the internet. Nobody needs to relaunch their career in NYC these days and certainly not LTC, a man so proud of his heritage he proclaims that he switches back and forth between rapping in english and Cape Verdean, a dialect unique to his birthplace.
Self-produced and self-written, LTC's "My Turn to Shine" is a short eight track CD with seven full-length songs. It's enough time to showcase LTC's style to the audience, starting with the lead single "White Girl." LTC provides a helpful but unnecessary explanation in his bio that "White Girl" is slang for cocaine. Really! I'll venture to say with no disrespect to LTC that a lot more people have heard Young Jeezy's song with USDA by the same name than his, and that all of them figured out he wasn't talking about the REAL Christina Aguilera. Nonetheless let's take a look at the verbiage displayed by LTC on his top track.
"I'm lookin for my Snow White
I haven't seen her since last night
I bet my girl took her, she gonna pay, that little hooker
She's so jealous of my white girl
A hundred percent pure, white girl
I can't forget the first day I met her
When I see her, I knew I'd get her
She makes brains so tight, keeps my dick hard all night
I take her everywhere I go
I taste her, before every show
I'm so hooked, my mouth so numb
I don't wanna quit her, I gotta get some"
Honestly the explanation seems even LESS necessary after the first verse. LTC is not aiming for subtlety in his rhymes in any way shape or form. As for the track itself I'm not sure about the potential it has as a single. The background melody has the snake charmer stylee but starts to feel a little annoying and ear-piercing after being looped enough times. The beat's aight though, which helps save the track on the whole. "Gorillas in the Mist" is a far better introduction to LTC's self-produced rap style, and only really old school heads will even question whether or not he's recycling Da Lench Mob. Not to worry, LTC's on his own shit on this one.
"Baby I made you a mixtape
So why did you cry rape?
Why did you scream my name?
He's in the game...
For lunch we in London in a plane so private
We could fuck and not hide it
I make gold like Midas"
After a while you pick up on the fact LTC's style is intentionally off-beat and awkward, akin to R.A. the Rugged Man without the gruff vocal tones or intentionally vulgar lyrics. Thanks to a slapping bass and well mixed raps, the style works well on this track. Less successful is "Bluntz N Beats," LTC's attempt to shed his polite beatnik poet image on a track with the words "I smoke blunts, got beats, I'm hard on these streets." The echoing vocals and minimalistic production are interesting, but the idea that LTC is "hard on these streets" is not very convincing. LTC is both helped and limited by the sincerity with which he delivers his lines. He seems very dedicated to his craft as both a producer and a rapper, but both the beats and rhymes border on the simplistic. Concepts like "Hip Hop Techno Music" are to be lauded for being experimental, but that doesn't necessarily make the track any easier to listen to. One would rather have an all-techno or an all-rap song by the end, not a poorly fused mixture of the two.
While a couple of songs stand out on "My Turn to Shine" from the aforementioned "Gorillas in the Mist" to the album's short and soulful closer "Anita," LTC seems like a very rough rapper who has not yet developed to his fullest potential. If "My Turn to Shine" is in fact the peak of what he has to offer, that's bad news for his career. If on the other hand the fact his album's tracklisting immediately popped up on iTunes when I put the disc in (and many independent artists and labels do not) shows how serious he is about getting his style out there, this Cape Verdean may be at the beginning of his journey instead of the end. With more polished production, a more developed lyrical vocabulary, and a willingness to be cutting edge while avoiding cornball mistakes, LTC may shine much more brightly in the years to come.
Music Vibes: 5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 5 of 10
Originally posted: February 10, 2009