In a game ruled by being hard, onetime TW cover star Lando Chill refuses to conform. Yes, he writes from a place of vulnerability, without the posturing or the boring braggadocio. Instead of enslaving his vision to the form, whether sung, spoken or rapped, Chill's music is an organic extension of self. It is real and open-hearted, rivaling Brother Ali in clarity and sincerity, but instead of preaching, he asks questions. He'd never be so gauche to profess to have the answers. More reminiscent of a modern-day Maya Angelou than any hit-seeking rapper, on "Save Me" his feelings of abandonment by a lover uncover the true reason he feels lost; "My dad would've raised me, but God took him from us." In the African-American tradition of storytelling, he explores legends and personal struggles at once; he is the boy who spoke to the wind, and the kid who wonders, "Pops am I making you proud?" Confessional and sincere, Chill's an original, offering unironic glimpses of a gentle soul. A Tucson gem.
2. Cash Lansky
3. Big Meridox