Music

Lyrically Speaking: Lando Chill’s The Boy Who Spoke To The Wind Meets Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist

What does it mean to speak to the wind? On Lando Chill’s upcoming record, The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind, communing with nature is synonymous with communing with the soul. Inspired by Paolo Coelho’s acclaimed novel, The Alchemist, Lando’s new album catalogs his own internal pilgrimage. The novel’s protagonist, Santiago, quests through the desert in hopes of becoming the wind and freeing his soul; a quest that is driven by an innate desire to fulfill his Personal Legend—his destiny.

For Lando, the greatest takeaway from The Alchemist is coming to terms with the fact that not every question has an answer, yet your fate is still in your hands. “The most poignant line from Coelho’s novel [for me] is: ‘the greatest lie one has ever believed is that he or she is not in control of their own fate,’” he says, footnoting that major portion of his Personal Legends relies on “breaking the stereotypical boundaries in mainstream hip hop.”

Photo Source: tucsonweekly.com

Speaking specifically on how the novel gave him this sense of control, Lando feels “as though the story of

“as though the story of The Alchemist altered my perception of who I could be and why I was limiting myself in every respect, because I thought I was stuck on the track of life. When in actuality, what I could control was me—and in turn if I could know myself and control how I interpreted life’s good or bad, then I could control my own fate, or path.”

The influence is intricately woven into the fiber of his album, from the lyrics right down to his own self-painted artwork. “You see the book throughout the album—not necessarily always in tone or imagery—although it is present,” he adds, “but how I interpreted the realization that one’s purpose is created from within and how to manifest your dreams just as I have manifested mine.”

The influence is intricately woven into the fiber of his album, from the lyrics right down to his own self-painted artwork. “You see the book throughout the album—not necessarily always in tone or imagery—although it is present,” he adds, “but how I interpreted the realization that one’s purpose is created from within and how to manifest your dreams just as I have manifested mine.”

Going track-by-track, Lando Chill highlights which verses were directly inspired by The Alchemist with UGHH, as we dissect the verses’ relationships to the novel.

Break Them Shackles

Chorus

Say we gotta look good when we break the shackles one day,
We finna look good when we break the shackles one day,
We boutsta look good when we break the shackles one day,
We finna look good when we break the shackles one day,
I spokes to the wind and I’ll tell you what the sun say.

These shackles represent any system that keeps someone from their Personal Legend; instead trapping them in a state of helplessness. Just as The Alchemist’s Santiago hopes to transcend the physical world and become the wind, Lando Chill wants to emancipate himself from the claws of institutional racism, depression, toxic masculinity, and any other affliction that is holding him back from his Personal Legend.

Discussing shackles, Lando explores the dichotomy of constraint and progress:

“Understanding that our imperfections make us beautiful, but that they should not shackle your growth into becoming that better person—not just for yourself and the people around you—but for this land we pillage and the water we poison. All is one and one is all, and until we speak to the wind, and see ourselves as the water and rock, we will perish. And the world with us.”

Lando also references the pivotal book scene, where the wind blows up a sandstorm so Santiago may speak to the sun. The sun is the only natural force that can see the “Soul of the World”: the spiritual energy that unifies all living beings. Speaking to the sun is critical for Santiago, because only after he communes with the desert, the wind, and the sun can he finally turn himself into the wind. This cut details the benefits of taking a spiritual and emotional journey: self-love and a greater understanding of the world. It is the landmark for Lando Chill’s departure as well as his arrival into self-actualization.

The King of Salem

INTRO

Keep it,
Realer than silicone,
For real is never home,
Be bottle our melatonin,
To barter for better phone,
Kick fodder with the thing you call god for a better home,
Now piety makes him deaf,
So we gotta use megaphones,
Now,
Quiet as kept for our souls we forever own,
I’m skipping some steps on this highway to martyrdom,
Leaving a mark upon heart made of many stone,
Maybe ya life would feel right if ya love was strong.

This intro plays on the complex relationship of religion and spirituality within the novel. Though Santiago has haunting, recurring dreams about being in the sacristy of a ramshackle church, in order to pursue his Personal Legend, he must forgo the church in order to explore the world. God, as we understand it, manifests in the novel through communing with nature and listening to the desires of one’s soul. As Lando notes, strict piety seems to fall on deaf ears. In order to be heard, one must speak “The Language of the World,” which can only be understood and spoken once the “language of your soul” is understood. This “Language” represents the unity of all things, empathy, and the force that links all of humanity. The Alchemist implies that people must look inward and invoke their own spirituality, as opposed to relying solely on organized religion.

No Paz

Verse 1

Said the G men lurk at the edge of our turf, warfare where them shots aim fair as the system,
Box every nigga in a cell,
Get a check in the mail so them head count numbers ain’t dippin’,
While the motherfuckin’ police trippin’,
Tippin’ the scales, in favor of the rich politic type stiff who would rather bullshit with his gifts right quick than ever try to listen,
To the plight of the poor, whatchu fightin us for? With them four-door tints and them canines,
Boy step down for they hit you with that slave mind,
No prob to kill just to save mine,
With them blue C notes in a gold cash clip with some shit that the police took from the drugs crimes,
Gats from the back leave you loose from the C9,
And deader than the Amazon’s grapevines.

While this track is grounded in the gross reality of systemic inequalities, the novel’s key motif of fear is present when we take a closer look at this verse. Across the novel, Santiago is no stranger to hardships—constantly threatened with death, being captured, and grappling with a crippling fear of loss. Similarly, Lando’s lyrics about the lurking government agents hunting Black men summon those same anxieties of innocent life hanging by a thread at the hands of outside forces. However, fear does not permeate Lando’s flow or his bars, “because true men of the desert are not afraid.”

“No Paz” is a testament to Lando taking the same sage advice given to Santiago: “Don’t let them see that you’re afraid,” because fear will only act as another shackle to steer you away from your Personal Legend.

O Sicario e o Padre

Verse 2

Figured that limitless is closer than what we think it is,
A modest life leads to the smoothest route,
I guess as smooth as dad’s heart that shit petered out,
Metered like a boxing bout,
It’s when life takes that dive in the 10th is what you see what life’s really about.

The final few bars on this verse refer to the character of Santiago’s heart and have Lando assuming the cautionary role of the Alchemist. He warns against living a life with no risks, embodying the Alchemist’s adage: “wherever your heart is, that is where you find your treasure.” All throughout the novel, Santiago feels deep anxiety over his heart, at one point admitting to the Alchemist that, “my heart is afraid that it will have to suffer.” The Alchemist constantly assures Santiago that he must follow his heart despite his fears, or else he will miss out on the great treasures of life. He must pursue his Personal Legend, because the mundane fate of being relegated to a simple shepherd’s life will be an even greater loss.

The Boy Who Spoke to The wind meets The Alchemist

Wind & the Rain

Verse 1

I guess I’m destined for defeat,
Said that land to the sea,
The sun smiled in pain,
While that moon, it wept to sleep,
Every soul that ever stirred,
Simultaneously,
Took that great sigh of sadness for that,
Land of the bleak
I guess the meek lead the meek like them
Shepherd-less sheep,
Guess these people legislate behind that
Suit and a tee,
Let’s be that sweeping decree,
A dead prophet who’s got love for that sea,
Not to part for parting means the end of life within we,
Said that land to the sea,
And the moon to that deep,
See that sun die in pain,
Now while that moon wept to sleep.

Let’s imagine that fear does dominate one’s psyche; what would that look like? Sheep. Santiago’s sheep are a major motif throughout The Alchemist, representing all those who are imperceptive to (or directed away from) their Personal Legends. Because these sheep do not pursue their Personal Legends, they’re unable to appreciate the beauty of the natural world. By slighting the elements and their own souls, these “sheeple” only propagate the sickness of ignorance. Hence the sun’s pain and the moon’s tears. Moreover, should Santiago abandon his Personal Legend, he will return to the placid life of a shepherd. Should Lando accept defeat and shy away from his destiny of creating art, he must return to the monotony of being another sheep, following the very systems he is aiming to unravel with his music.

O Alquimista

Spoken word

The sky and ocean,
Brother and sister,
Meet at the horizon to speak about why people pout,
When such a place they before them,
A land forsaken by the many who forget its name,
Who spread blame with hot knives over oil slicks and human shit,
Fed to our indentured orange jumpsuits with numbers for names,
You see they were people before the system failed them,
And raised your profit margin,
Like the nigga jargon you cop for them likes,
You see,
The sky and ocean,
Brother and sister,
Meet at the horizon to speak about why people pout,
When the water runs clean and they dream about bullshit,
Not if they can make it through the night alright,
You see the sky and ocean,
Brother and sister,
Meet at the horizon to speak about why people pout,
When such a place they before them,
When such a place they before us.

As no good hero goes unchallenged, The Alchemist’s main antagonist manifests in the form of the desert. The desert represents all of the obstacles that bar people from realizing their dreams and desires. In that respect, Lando Chill invokes the symbol of the desert while exposing the evils of institutional racism. The desolate imagery on this cut references the symbol of the desert. With the desert in mind, we get a clear narrative: these fraught systems are the obstacles standing in the way of Black Americans. Just as Santiago must listen to the desert to free himself, Lando Chill must track a magnifying glass over these systems in order to dismantle them and gain greater control over his fate.

O Alquimista translates into “The Alchemist,” one of many songs that was directly inspired by the writing of Coehlo. Not only is the title a reference to the Alchemist that the boy Santiago meets as he is nearing his journey’s end, but also to the cryptic clarity bestowed upon him by the Alchemist and subsequently, the wind.

Per Lando, “It’s the duality in life; the fact that many of us are coming into this world with a death sentence—not at the fault of the mother who brings life, or the father who seeds it, but at the hands of those whose only motive is the money. Colonialism, white supremacy, an oppressive patriarchy, conquest, and manifest destiny; these are our true enemies, built by the brokers in a broken system. The only constant is death, with the fleeting finality of life pushing one forth upon a path paved with privilege or pain; yet it is truly what you do with what experiences you find in life that shapes the cobblestone road toward the grave.”

Heartspace

Real Outro

We’ll never call,
You’ll never know,
And when we die young,
And nobody grows old,
Just cherish your journey,
And try to stay gold,
And when the time comes,
All you’ve got is your soul.

In the context of the novel, gold becomes synonymous with knowledge and the time needed to achieve your own Personal Legend. In fact, the Personal Legend of all metal in the novel is to eventually be transmuted into gold. As the Alchemist explains to Santiago, tooling lead into gold requires patience and a deep knowledge of evolution. There is no progress without self-awareness. The practice of evolving dingy metals to stunning gold mirrors Santiago’s own growth as he achieves spiritual clarity. On the final verse of the album, Lando fulfills his Personal Legend by placing the journey into the listener’s hands, hoping they learn something from this project and pursue their own Personal Legends as a result.

This album is a testament to Lando Chill taking the Alchemist’s advice: “You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.” By listening to his heart, giving a voice to those who struggle, and exposing the systems that plague our society, Lando demonstrates his ability to speak “The Language of the World.” Speaking and hearing “The Language” is what ultimately allows Santiago to become the wind, and gives his soul the freedom he’s been questing for.

In tandem, using this album as a study of the world as he knows it, Lando Chill goes from being The Boy Who Spoke To The Wind, to becoming the wind in his own right.

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