“I want it to be known, through my music and action, that vulnerability is inspiring. Being a real human being means so much more than being the façade you’ve run with your entire life.“
I’ve been marinating in Lando Chill‘s artwork for weeks. I finally let go of the steering wheel and let something much bigger than me lead the direction of this piece. Why was it this challenging to pin down a direction for readers? Damn you, art. You’re reading weeks of beautiful struggle, a pleasantly frustrating process of assembling a telescope pointed at and tapping into my souls wiring. Something like that.
This year Mello Music Group announced Lando Chill, Lance Alan, as their latest signee. I shouldn’t have to give a crash course on Mello Music Group, but perhaps you’re a new listener. They are contemporary hip-hop’s life jacket. Put a hypothetical blindfold on and choose any one of Mello’s artists. Though the talent ranges tremendously, you’re guaranteed satisfaction in one way or another. Or, can atleast agree that it’s all quality and commendable music. Anyone with good taste shall co-sign.
Relocated to Tuscan, Arizona, Lance was born and raised in Chicago. 24 years young with a seasoned soul. Tender in a sense. Growing up in a house with instruments at hand and a mother who would nurture him under the greats while active in local choir direction, this would lead anyone’s introduction to music the right way if utilized. They would sing and play “name that instrument” together often. Whether he told us that or not, traces of older soulful and rhythmic influences are evident.
He described his sound as, “..imagine funk, folk, classical music, with 2005–2010 hip hop, and then you’ll get me.” Even with such a descriptive statement, I still find it challenging to pin down the sound. Maybe some things are better left mysterious, without definition – that’s fine. Afterall, this is art. I do, however, notice influence from Kid Cudi – which he is quick to agree on and is a fan of. Some of the best creations were left without explanation, leaving nothing but its aesthetic finalization for the earth to interpret. God I sound like such a hippy.
Let me put the gray areas of description down for a second and talk about what can be hoaned in on. How am I left feeling during and after listening to a Lando Chill record? Emotions are generally easy to identify as humans. It’s easy to talk about how we feel, right? It feels good and it feels right. Melancholic or uplifting, head nodding or still. It all ends up simply grouped into the “this just feels good” side of the field. Mello Music Group has a nack for finding some of the most transparent, vulnerable recording artists on the map. It’s certainly an element lacking in today’s oversaturated, cursive pool of rap music. But it’s here, right now – enjoy it.
Believe it or not, newjacks, your visual demonstrations reflect your music carreer. A quality roll-out of music videos is highly notable with Lance. You probably notice a lot of these new artists posting “it was a movie” followed by underwhelming camera emojis and red “100’s” when captioning their current video shoots. Lance’s videos are actually short films, theatrical snippets perhaps. They’re given thought, time and demonstrate quality direction. “Coroner” for example is layered. If you watched it on mute and hadn’t heard the record yet, you would have an entirely different experience. I could even see “Coroner” and “Save Me” looped, muted and projected on a white wall in a quiet, prim art gallery downtown. This brings me back to noting Lando Chill’s art. He is an artist, not limited to a recording artist. We sprinkled a couple videos throughout the article for you.
‘For Mark, Your Son‘, Lance’s forthcoming debut – interesting title, even if you’re unfamiliar with the album’s theme. It’s a 12-track dedication to his father who passed on when he was just three. Mark is the backbone of the record. Mark propelled the creation and direction. Lance is here to carry on his legacy, and we’re certain he is guiding his son’s every step, both inside and outside of the studio sessions. He describes it, “I wouldn’t necessarily say his life was what influenced the album, but his lack of life, or lack of opportunity to continue to live his; was the inspiration.” You can almost feel his spirit on record – once again noting Lance’s transparency and ability to narrate such emotions both directly and indirectly. It’s a refreshing and powerful approach that we believe so far is translating beautifully. “Save Me” is a more direct example of his father’s influence, which finds Lance slightly resentful at God for taking him away from us. Is he resentful? Or is he just being factual? Either way, he’s shedding layers and growing publicly – allowing listeners to mourn alongside. It’s a vulnerable position, which I believe is when you’re most susceptible to grow and connect with other humans. He does it well.
If the album sounds anything like the four released singles (“Proud” being the latest), we are all in for a treat this year. Nonetheless, highlight August 12th on your calendar after you read this.
I had the pleasure of exchanging dialogue with Lando Chill, which you can read below. Peace and love:
RESPECT.: Tell us a little bit about your father Mark and how he may have inspired the new album.
I wouldn’t necessarily say his life was what influenced the album, but his lack of life, or lack of opportunity to continue to live his; was the inspiration. Part of me wishes that weren’t the case, because instead of having an album to call my own, I’d have the past 20 odd years with my father. Which to me is a dope ass trade off. But that isn’t the case, so one has to make whatever they want out of the lemons that life grew for you to enjoy. Lemonade CAN taste good, right? But yeah, ‘For Mark, Your Son’ is everything he’s missed since he passed when I was 3; a letter to the dead from the living per say, & it was needed. For him and me.
RESPECT.: Unfathomable events occur daily that can make us question God’s existence. After hearing “Save Me” it’s evident that you’re resentful, which is understood of course. Some things are impossible to wrap our heads around.
Especially since we’re charged to find our own answers in a sea of silence that is faith. I was extremely resentful, & to a certain degree I still am. Holding on to grudges is my secret power, & I’m reeeeal good at it. But I’ve grown up. I’ve lived and loved and lost. I know now that asking for answers isn’t going to get one anywhere; that it’s up to us to find solace within chaos. Does that mean I’m not spiritual? Not at all. But the hierarchy; the political structure, the hypocrisy modern religion has created due to human influence hasn’t gotten us anywhere. To me anyway.
RESPECT.: On “Coroner” you write “..where everybody boasts through internet posts, a blue check mark means you’re better than most // the words of the fallen get forgotten, if it ain’t on the screen than homie it ain’t poppin””. Well said. Can you elaborate on the short attention spans and the need for validation a bit more?
It’s not only a need for validation, but it’s the constant need to be connected. You see, that constant need for connection has created this idea that everything should and can be instantaneous; & this ideology that technology has afforded us / we created is what drives popular culture. It isn’t the actual art or story, but the NEXT original piece or sound; the NEXT big story or hit; that has us forgetting what is real. What is real is the now. What is real is what positive effect you can have on something or someone. There’s a façade we like to create in order to control the “controllable” aspects of our lives. Faceboook, Instagram… they allow us to curate our existence in a way that only shows our highlights, never giving the whole side of the coin; because to us failure is bad and so is pain. But there is inspiration in the bad as well as the good. The struggle is what keeps us “real”. That blue check mark doesn’t care where you’ve come from or where you’re going. It’s a piece of written code set within a program. We have to remember this.
RESPECT.: You were picked up by Mello Music Group, which is excellent news. Were you listening to any Mello Music Group artists or releases prior to getting picked up by them? I feel like that’s all I listen to anymore – the talent is endless and the releases are consistent.
Haha, yes and no. I had peeped Oddisee a while back, & I had seen Apollo Brown & Red Pill on various rap blogs like 2Dopeboyz & HotNewHipHop, but other than that, nahhhhh. I was in a world of jazz & folk rock for the longest in college; interspersed with the newest rap release my roommate at the time, Alan Drake would show me. But you couldn’t be more on point. The talent level on the label is incredible, beyond anything I’ve ever been apart of. I’m just thankful, and humbled to be next to real OG’s in this game.
RESPECT.: In a short amount of time I’ve gathered that you are an open book. Would you say your vulnerability and transparency are beneficial to the world?
I’d really like to think so. I feel as though the façade I spoke about earlier is this ‘modern day shield’ we tend to, in order to walk throughout the different facets of society without feeling “less than”. There’s a status quo; a fine line that was made for us to walk, that doesn’t allow for true expression. It stunts the growth of the people, young and old, & shepherds us into boxes with glass ceilings that never break. I want it to be known, through my music and action, that vulnerability is inspiring. Being a real human being means so much more than being the façade you’ve run with your entire life. It’s the only way, as a world, we can start to heal the wounds our social and economic divides inflicted upon the oppressed people of this world.
RESPECT.: Your last few records offer a range of sound. Do you think you found your sound yet, or are you in an experimental stage?
Haha maaaaan… I don’t think I have a sound honestly. I have a voice; a message. It’ll always ring true through whatever genre they put me in, or whatever sound they say I have. I want to bring the feeling, the emotion, the power back to black music. We’re seeing in with Kendrick and Janelle Monae… it can’t just stop with them. So long story short, I’ll always be experimenting.
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