Lando Chill is the moniker of Chicago-born artist Lance Washington - who makes hip-hop music that blends a variety of genres, such as gospel, indie rock, and psychedelia. He released his first album in 2016 and his latest full length, Black Ego, is slated for a fall 2018 drop. Since 2016, he's been teaming up with multi-instrumentalist and producer, The Lasso. This new music is being touted as, “equal parts west coast funk and desert trip-hop”.

In anticipation of the new album, the 405 is here with the premiere of Lando Chill’s latest single, ‘Fauna’.

When asked about ‘Fauna’, he came back with an earnest and harrowing response:

“struggle taste better brown as a white hobby,
sound is a bank lobby bound by the trends,
black skills make it bend…”

“As with almost every song on Black Ego, there’s an undertone of black veracity and frustration juxtaposed against sonically groovy chords and a catchy hook. 'Fauna' is no different, emoting a Prince-like vibe that transports the listener within a specific mindstate - one that allows the theme of black ownership within the entertainment industry and the stresses that occur under the current climate of what hip-hop culture is today to be more than palpable, but relatable.

"Originality is something we as musicians pride ourselves on, but, unfortunately, the mainstream consumer base has a hard time telling the difference, lacking the willpower to do the legwork when it comes to the history of this genre - and as a result, paving the way for the erasure of many people’s contributions and milestones.

"The ‘Black Ego’ is a representation, physically and metaphorically, of the originality, authenticity, and ingenuity that is being commodified and packaged with the lack of ownership and constant appropriation being the backdrop of our struggle. Marijuana is and has been the temporary antidote for the black and brown mind when it comes to the inherent stresses of a euro-centric, legwork world; yet it has only recently become decriminalized within a few states. The spectrum of thought surrounding marijuana has shifted from a drug used by people of color and the poor to a medicinal substance turned multi-billion dollar industry that has left its incarcerated pioneers and users in the dust, mirroring the way the public perception of hip-hop has shifted within the last decade.

Just like marijuana, hip-hop had to become marketable and commodifiable. And for that to occur, there needed to be white dollars invested and white artists at the forefront to create a palpable enough version of this genre. This demographic shift of audience has been a boon to those gatekeepers who control what sells and what doesn’t; but to many underground, POC, women, and queer artists, it has done nothing but widen the gap between access and exposure and the mainstream as well as threaten the cultural integrity of our artform. The juxtaposition of music and marijuana in this song and in subsequent art is no accident, nor should either lose its integrity and originality to the dollar bill; especially whilst its black and brown creators, ancestors, and entrepreneurs are left to battle old misconceptions that continue to permeate mainstream entertainment and those who police it.”

The executive gatekeepers and silver-spoon thieves capitalize off the pain of marginalized groups to sell whatever they can twist to be marketable; to satiate an always hungry white audience that so often confuses exploitation for celebration.

‘Fauna’ takes a DIY approach, adding that earnest grit that only comes from lived experience. Change only comes if we listen first. Lando Chill’s ‘Fauna’ is a great place to start.

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