Songs like this are not made every day or every year. From the chant-like hook, the piercingly cold voice that doesn’t deviate a single second from the script, the mystical sounds, the huge drums, Mona Lisa by Tall Kyle might just send you in shock, revive you, and send you back into it again. The artist raps in a savage, eerie manner that has you on the edge of your seat for exactly 2 minutes and 59 seconds. Tall Kyle balances the calming music elements with statements like “My last past life, I was Judas, now I’m King Tut/ Lickin’ blood off gold forks, y’all eating peanuts”.
The intro hints of a ’90s production style with what sounds like Boom Bap in slow motion. The sound lethargy in the intro paves the mood for the lyrics: “The witches brew concoctions that waterfall to a yeti/ The watchers change dimensions and show themselves when we’re ready”. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a rapper talking so seriously about occultism. What actually makes it scary is that Tall Kyle owns the instrumental, his lyrics, his voice, and he dives into depicting what sounds like the witches from the Army of the 12 Monkeys trying to impede the creation of The Red Forest (a dimension where time doesn’t exist) while The Witness haunts them in different timelines. And if that wasn’t enough for you, Tall Kyle goes much deeper: “Past life in Egypt I survived it”, “I’m the multi-layered lizard/ The dog food wizard”. To be noted how the artist transmits the mix of confessions and reflections to the public through his steady, homogenous flow. He must be related to Hov.
When the hook hits you, you get why I mentioned Hov. “I could paint a picture that mirrors the Mona Lisa/ Learn from Ayahuasca I would never need a teacher/ We all follow plants, we don’t listen to no preacher/ Smoke Bible papers till the false God speak up”, how is it possible his voice on the hook resembles that of Jigga’s so much??? Plus Jay would probably applaud this guy after 4 bars and one hook. Occultism meshed with history and pop references are his breakfast. We gotta give props to the flawless mix and mastering quality. The production allowed both the artist and the instrumental to shine individually and as a unity at the same time. If in many songs one or the other takes the precedence, Mona Lisa is 50% voice and 50% music. Perfect.
The second verse throws even more details on the table with Tall Kyle comfortably rapping about his past lives like he got it in a file when he was born alongside his birth certificate: “I’m the interdimensional being you scared to speak of”, “My last past life, I was Judas, now I’m King Tut”, “Human history is getting nutty as a praline/ Study human beings back then, we weren’t the same thing”. To all artists that we’ve ever called courageous, we might have to take that back cause this guy just took the meaning of being bold and daring to another level.
With his interdimensional flow, Tall Kyle ends the song with a sudden resurgence in attitude, a weighty lyrical punch, and plenty of pop culture references: “Used to not sleep due to glass shard and torches/ Then the Portuguese gave me shori for the forces/ I got to Dahgoba and train with Yoda when it’s over/ Master splinter in the winter, turn McKenna when it’s colder”. It is truly astonishing how he plans and delivers his bars in such fashion as to give many layers of meaning to every word he spits.
“A cosmic serpent on the wild elemental journey/ A vortex of fire with Indian chiefs searching/ My soul the most high, the old gods can’t hurt me/ Tested by the numbers of this realm till I’m worthy”, he does sound like he just shed an old layer of his spirit like a snake does but what is most extraordinary is the ridiculous amount of knowledge Tall Kyle proves to dispose of throughout the entire song.
If you look past the occultist terminology, Mona Lisa turns out to be extremely educative, and one could literally study a lot of our human history just by doing research in regards to every bar Tall Kyle delivers with his stern rap mannerism. The music is a huge part of experiencing this song being a mood on its own but completely reaching stratospheric acoustic levels when paired with the artist’s vocals.
Song Credits: Kyle Joseph Billeaudeaux (Tall Kyle) – writer, perfomer; Antonio Serapio Fuentes (ASF) – producer; Jason Michael Anderson-Ebener (Jsun the Prophesor) – sound engineer; College of Hip Hop Knowledge Publishing BMI – publisher.
Review by Mariana Berdianu
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