Experimental hip-hop artist & social activist Lando Chill is known for incorporating elements of funk, gospel, jazz, indie rock, psychedelic, and folk into his production work. A Chicago native, Lando (real name Lance Washington), first started rapping under the Star Wars-inspired moniker Lando Chillrissian, and later shortened it to Lando Chill. Bringing to mind groups like Spearhead and The Roots, his lyrics are highly introspective, reflecting on personal struggles and posing existential questions for his listeners, but even at his most cathartic he has maintained a positive, encouraging outlook. In 2012, he returned to the gift his mother bestowed upon him, writing poetry to help deal with chronic depression from never actually coping with death at an early age. A warrior-poet by nature, Lando’s goal has always been to bring the issues of political freedom, mental health, and police brutality to the forefront of his work and to the national conversation. Aimed at giving a voice to marginalized communities throughout the U.S., he is perceived as a man with one ear to mother nature and one to the plight of humankind.
Lando began writing material for his debut full-length album, For Mark, Your Son, in late 2014, with its final release appearing on Mello Music Group in 2016. The album was an intense self-examination inspired by the loss of his father, who died of a heart attack when the rapper was just four years old. For Mark was swiftly followed by Madera Canyon, an eight-song EP featuring line band recordings of tracks from the full-length as well as additional material.
His second full-length album, The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind, appeared in 2017 and represented a personal tribute to self-actualization, spiritual acceptance and social activism. Named #26 on Bandcamp Daily’s “100 Best Albums of the Year,” the project was heavily influenced by Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist, and contained more of an abstract, experimental sound than his prior releases. Musically, the album was a movement forward from his previous work, harmonizing the internal and external in a cathartic symphony. The instrumentation, unlike anything else, sprawled from classic lo-fi hip hop to high production scoring. As reminiscent of James Blake and Bon Iver as it is of Frank Ocean or Kendrick Lamar, Lando collaborated with producer The Lasso, bassist Chris Pierce, as well as other key session musicians, to bring the album to life.
His most recent release, Black Ego, explores the nuances of the black experience, touching on themes of cultural appropriation, privilege, and intersectionality. Drawing from a vast expanse of influences, this third album is equal parts hip-hop, indie rock, funk, psychedelic, and gospel. An impressive and intoxicating follow-up to his 2017 release, Black Ego combines seemingly equal parts of west coast funk and desert trip-hop, ultimately threaded together by Lando’s bold vision.