St. Louis Rapper Mixes Psychology with Music to Create New Album

Jun 27, 2024 | People Make the Place, Stories

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,” said chandler.  

chandler is a triple-threat rapper, producer and beat-maker, and it all started at a 6th grade talent show. 

“I was really nervous. I had never shared my poetry with anyone. I don’t even remember what it was, to be honest. It was probably really bad,” joked chandler. “I was kind of expecting to just shuffle off stage and have a few people clap, but people were really excited, and it was the first time I had a positive experience of people encouraging me.”  

While reading Batman comics during the pandemic, he created the 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.” 

chandler has performed in serval places in St. Louis, including Fresh Produce Beat Battle, The Kre8 Place and Sophie’s Artist Lounge. You can keep up with chandler’s new releases on Spotify and SoundCloud and keep up with him on Instagram. You can also catch his upcoming performance of his new album live at .ZACK on June 28.  

“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.” 

You can also check out our local Spotify list featuring St. Louis artists like chandler, updated every month.