Explosive yet refined, breaking sonic barriers with a refreshing sound yet nostalgic, the Washington Heights native has struck gold with his new collab EP with James Burns ROOM 44, which channels the genius of LIFEOFTHOM’s creativity in his most potent offering yet. This project is a culmination of gaining clarity, authentic collaboration, and the embodiment of the sound of the future told by the same hand carrying the torch for this unstoppable uptown movement.
I was first put onto LIFEOFTHOM in the most authentic way possible while attending a Lord Sko show this past summer at New York’s underground hip-hop mecca, that is, SOBs. I was posted side-stage, camera in hand, and prepared to capture whatever was going to grace the stage next, or so I thought. Upon introduction to the stage, we were met with Thom abruptly sprinting into our view, mic in hand, while wearing an unblinking eyebrows-furrowed stare as he paced the stage, scanning the packed venue as the instrumental of the first track rose from the monitors. You could visibly see him charging up the energy he was about to unleash during his performance, and wow, the rest is history. The passion he brought to that performance was palpable, leaving an inexpressible impression upon me and the other attendees that existed far beyond what I could capture through the narrow frame of my camera’s lens. Thom has mastered every level of his art, from his stage presence to his compelling visuals to the music itself, and ROOM 44 is an exclamation point to that. With all that being said, it’s only a matter of time until the rest of the world catches onto the force that is LIFEOFTHOM.
Since then, Thom has been on fire, a constant, inescapable, bordering inevitable presence in the New York City music scene led by an unbreakable focus fed by his ultimate goal of ‘world domination.’ On Room 44, we’re met with an intense collision of sounds that melt a plethora of genres and influences together, presenting glimpses of art-rap and psychedelic alternative sounds, yet ultimately standing tall with its sturdy backbone of concrete hip-hop scored by the immensely talented production of James Burns. The relatively concise 22-minute project packs a hell of a punch as Thom soundtracks his real-life surroundings that he bears witness to in his daily life, articulating his experience from an observant and vigilant eye. On the daily, he’s subject to witnessing everything from, “the old ladies screaming ‘roach spray’ to the old men running back-to-back games of dominoes,” Thom uses his surroundings as inspiration to tell his story, and the resulting product is just unmistakably that. Despite being years deep in the industry, he remains humble and centered on where everything began for him, a sentiment apparent in track 6, “CRACK JEANS” in saying, “ Ayo the Heights hold a lot Imma own up to my doctrine, my soul stamped uptown like Kendrick & Compton.”
Beyond that, though, his genius runs even deeper, as he has his fingerprints on almost every level of his creative output, from directing his insane visuals to mixing and mastering his tracks and even being the mind behind the creative direction of everything. Furthermore, he has this unique ability to facilitate productive collaboration, and he does it in such a refreshing and compelling way that speaks to everyone’s strengths while still staying true to his own sound and creative vision. For example, beyond Burns’ classic production, we’re met with a refreshing medley of contributions from a rare verse from AKAI SOLO on “EZEKIEL” to a heavenly chorus and backing vocals from Haile Supreme on “COPACETIC.” Thom is just doing everything right from every angle you look at his work, and when I asked him about his approach to collaboration, he explained how integral it is to the creative process because, at the end of the day, “just create, f*ck the politics!” LIFEOFTHOM and James Burns have one with ROOM 44, and I can’t wait to see where it takes them.
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A genuine perspective