Tag Archives: For Mark

How Rapping Allowed Lando Chill to Cope With His Father’s Death

Lance Washington
Lance Washington. Photo by Sergio Lopez & Kelly Rashka

Lance Washington doesn’t remember much about his father, Mark. He recalls the Christmas mornings, the Bulls games they watched together in southside Chicago. He was told his dad was especially calm, compared with his mother, who’s excitable.

“I remember his reassurance, I guess. [It’s] what his energy exuded,” Washington tells Bandcamp. “Just reassurance that life is good, everything is okay.”

Mark, an interleague basketball referee, died of a heart attack when Washington was 4 years old. Rapping—initially as Lando Chillrissian, now as Lando Chill—helped him come to terms with that loss. “There’s a void that even emotions can’t track,” Washington raps on “Unenamored,” a standout from his new album For Mark, Your Son. “I’d do anything to have him back.”’

“It’s the ‘sincerely, yours’ to my father; in this album, it’s a letter to him,” Washington says. “This album was meant to give him a window into my life.”

In For Mark, Your Son, Washington alludes to his struggles during his freshman year at the University of Arizona in Tuscon. A film study major, Washington was hooked on Adderall while battling depression, and was feeling aimless. But he had a breakthrough when his mother encouraged him to start writing poetry, “as a way, I guess to have that outlet but also find my own voice,” he says. Eventually a classmate asked him to write a song for a short film assignment. Soon, he connected with two unknown local producers—Duncan Odea and David “Jetlag” Manin—and wrote to their instrumentals for a year starting in November 2014.

Those songs became the basis of For Mark, Your Son, and how he was able to really see how his father’s death still affects him.

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