Introducing ‘Notes from Mr. Sandman‘ – a column slapping a spotlight on lyricists overlooked, under appreciated, or just plain criminally slept on. Or like a man named Nas once said, “I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death.” Enter Mr. Sandman with what y’all missed while chasing the REM dragon; Photo: Josh Wallace

Lando Chill is a multi-faceted entertainer who excels in multiple art forms. He’s continuously testing his limits, and his unique vision is a refreshing reminder that rap is still growing in compelling ways.

As a lyricist, Lando is fearless and wise; an artist who draws equal inspiration from his peers and the forefathers. The juxtaposition creates an iridescent landscape that allows him to explore some of his deepest thoughts, everything from life and death to relationships.

Lando’s debut under the Mello Music imprint For Mark, Your Son, is an intimate letter to his father who passed away when he was just 3-years-old. It blends elements of jazz, soul and funk, and analyzes the lasting effects loss can have on a young and impressionable mind.

Over the course of 12 songs he expresses the ways in which he matured in the absence of his father. There were pitfalls and embarrassing moments, but it’s all part of what has made him a standout on one of the best indie rap labels around.

Floating to Nowhere” has Lando contemplating death. On paper it sounds morbid, but he utilizes a flip of Minnie Riperton‘s “Les Fleur” to keep it lighthearted. And that’s the epitome of what Lando stands for, someone who can take tragedy and turn it into triumph: [LISTEN]

Lando is an open book, and isn’t shy about sharing his hopes and dreams. That pursuit has him moving against the grain, and while his peers are rapping about earthly pleasures he’s focusing in on the alternative — personal enlightenment. The process has him confronting the growing darkness in his chest, and that internal struggle is the grounding force in his raps.

Lando’s follow-up album The Boy Who Spoke To The Wind is an extension of For Mark, Your Son. It’s an exploration of mortality, and his way of defining the human spirit. Sharing his point of view in such a candid way, allowed him to free himself of any unresolved feelings towards death and dying. It broadened his scope, and helped him find his place within a turbulent society.

Break them Shackles” has Lando addressing the litany of man made prisons out there, both the self-imposed ones and the ones forced upon people. It can be viewed as a political statement, but he delivers it in such a way that suggests it is more of a personal exploration rather than a statement made to rouse the masses: [LISTEN]

Lando’s success rests largely on collaborator The Lasso, who adds just the right amount of texture to Lando’s landscapes. On his latest album māyā. maia. mayu, he paves the way for Lando to examine the many facets of love. Unlike his contemporaries, Lando does more than glamorize sex and romance; he views it through a prism and captures all the ups and downs, embracing the idea that love is a force that is as difficult and hard to maintain as it is gratifying.

fck w/me” had Lando displaying his courtship ritual. Love is certainly on his mind, but he doesn’t veer too far away from what he knows most intimately, which is the mortality of all things: [LISTEN]

As Lando has grown, his perspective on life has only ripened. There is a tragic element that adds a macabre touch, but his ability to knit a silver lining into his lyrics makes him a paragon of optimism.

Since he was a child he’s experienced pain and heartache, but instead of letting it consume him he’s turned it into a source of empowerment. His style is rooted in contemporary sounds, but he blends a multitude of styles to make it his own; a generational lyricist poised for a long and decorated run.