Lando Chill’s sound has always depended on interiors. Like fellow Chicagoan Kanye West, he knows how to examine his consciousness, and he knows how pitchy soul samples can represent warped memories of a childhood spent in front of a turntable. On 2016’s For Mark, Your Son, he used those beats to contemplate the death of his father, and now he’s preparing to release The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind, an album-length spiritual journey based on Paulo Coehlo’s classic The Alchemist.
Coehlo’s novel is built around a quest for love and meaning, but it ultimately proves to be about the importance of the quest itself. Likewise, The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind finds on a similar hunt, only to find that—spoiler alert!—the answers to his questions aren’t nearly as important as the questions themselves.
Which is heavy stuff, to be sure, but “No Paz,” which we’re premiering today, is hardly a drag. Chill works his way around a twinkling beat with an easy, loping rhythm, treating an uncomfortably common story—that of the relationship between the police and young black men—with the fury it deserves, but he also sounds at ease in a position he’s likely assumed for a long, long time: when he raps “I see no peace / The police bangin’,” he raps, and he sounds tired and annoyed and tired of being annoyed, while the beat behind him bubbles along, perturbed and aware but not willing to give in to anger.
“‘No Paz’ is a musical and social juxtaposition—one that details the weight pressed upon people of color by the police through violence and mass incarceration, against the defiance and beauty of the struggle against our oppressors, whether systemic or overt,” Chill says. “The view [from] which we see the world, there is no peace: just dead black and brown bodies strewn out in the streets like trash to the people in power.”
It’s a deceptively complex track that shows Chill in perfect harmony with the world he’s creating for himself, if not the world as it exists. Give it a listen below.
The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind is out June 23 via Mello Music Group. You can preorder it here.