RACSTL-Grantee Mixes Psychology with Music in New Album

July 2, 2024

Sitting quietly in a bedroom, you can find St. Louis native chandler, also known as thatdudechandler, putting ink to paper, matching words to a beat to create a one-of-a-kind, stream of consciousness song. 

“I have always wanted to rap. It was my favorite activity, and it stemmed from poetry. I always loved writing, so it was a natural progression from poetry to rapper; they are one and the same.” 

The Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis proudly supported chandler with an Artist Grant in 2023. Applying for a grant was something he had never done before and he didn’t know what to expect, but when he got approved, he said it “opened doors” to new opportunities he didn’t previously have access to.  

“[Getting the RACSTL grant] was the most validating experience I have had. It was the most important part of my career,” said chandler. “It was the moment where I felt that someone sees value in the things that I value the most.” 

While reading Batman comics during the pandemic, he created his first album, “Adam Wayne,” which he described as a ‘superhero, alter-ego’ type of album where he had fun creating a narrative with the music. After two long years of working on it, he wanted to focus on making music without heavy restraints and vowed to never make another album.  

And for a year, he didn’t.   

After some personal life-changing events, chandler used his music to help him process his emotions. While listening to some of the songs he had created over the last year, he realized serendipitously that all the songs connected. And whether he liked it or not, they all fit together perfectly, starting to form a new album. 

“I was playing this mad scientist role. I’m not very conscious about all the things I am writing, I just kind of let them out. To watch myself process and understand the things I was going through, almost like a bystander, was really interesting,” said chandler.  

Utilizing his background in education as a certified teacher and knowledge of psychology, he began to lean into some of the ideas of legendary neurologist Sigmund Freud. The ideas turned into his newest album, “Freudian Thoughts Volume 1,” which consists of three EPs named after Freud’s theory of the three levels of consciousness: Superego, Id, and Ego. Through each EP, chandler uses each level as a guide to understand his struggles and feelings. 

“I started breaking [songs] into each sort of concept. Once I realized that was the idea I was going to go with, I was like now I either need to assign songs or make songs that belong in those categories.”    

chandler raps in a stream of consciousness style of writing. His producers, Nenjavo and Zsurrr, send him a beat and then he starts a freestyle-mumbling cadence and zones out to write. He said once he starts writing, he “usually knows where he has to go,” with the song. Even though the point of this style of writing is to not have a process, he typically starts by “taking the hook and working from there.” 

“Going in listening to [the new album] I would hope people hear the effort,” chandler said. “And you hear me trying to make art and not just songs.”