Lamon Manuel is an independent rap artist from the southside of Chicago and founding member of the prolific rap brotherhoods Tomorrow Kings and FUTURE CULT LEADERS of AMERICA (FCLA).
Manuel is a writer’s writer whose art is a campaign for personhood, aiming to break the presumed rap binary: “positive, conscious rap” or “gangsta rap.” His sad-boy-adult-angst, smart-rap style is imaginative, humorous, richly poetic and is marked by gratuitous film and literary references. Some of his biggest influences are Atmosphere, members of Tomorrow Kings and FCLA, C. Bain and Rachel McKibbons.
Contrary to the current performance-artist paradigm which often accepts the sacrifice of writing for song beats and/or performance, Lamon Manuel has perfected a recording and performance style that is just as captivating as his writing. His beat taste is perfectly congruent to his writing style and larger than life performance. One may remember Lamon as the tall Black guy punching himself in the face while rapping, or perhaps being choked by women during the performance of his cult classic ‘Emily, Panic.’ Driven by the idea that any performance could be one’s last, Manuel melds rapping and an element of theater to performance to deliver an unforgettable experience for every crowd.
“Rapping well isn’t easy. Rapping well while punching yourself hard in the face or being choked hard by a woman definitely ups the degree of difficulty a bit.” – Lamon Manuel
Manuel recently described his work as “a series of choreographed panic attacks when played forward.” Padded beneath lush imagery, Manuel’s work presents as vulnerable. He invites an intimate look into topics typically cloaked in silence, such as Black mental health, the dissonance between non-Black fan enjoyment of Black art and real life engagement with Black people, substance and sexual abuse, body image issues, experiences in love from the Black male perspective, family dynamics, and male privilege.
After a breadth of collaborative songs and project releases over the years, Manuel stepped into new space to release solo project Music to Feel Like Sh*t to November, 22, 2016. Manuel mainly partnered with producer Analog(ue) Tape Dispenser to design a fitting soundscape, and additionally worked with AM Breakups, Dying Stars, AOI and DOS4GW. He also worked with acclaimed videographer Samantha Wakefield who directed and produced the cinema-worthy videos for ‘Skies’ and ‘Sh*t. Everything We Have Together Is Falling Apart.’ This project centers the narrative of love, the tumultuous end of a relationship with a woman he once thought he would marry, and its after-effects. Music to Feel Sh*t to shows promise to become a cult favorite, already receiving widespread praise from fans and ranking highly on esteemed hip hop blogs.
Lamon has shared the stage with artists such as Cage, Qwel, Maker, Psalm One, Mick Jenkins, Jamila Woods, Typical Cats, Rift Napalm, Serengeti, SABA, Billy Woods, Cult Favorite, B. Dolan, Elucid, Busdriver, Metasota, Beans, Moonlight Grammar, Joseph Chilliams, Baatin, Uncommon Nasa, Boogie Boy Metal Mouth, Karma Kids, Teddy Faley and DJ Addikt, A.M Breakups, Reservoir Sound, and many others.