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Clemson senior Chandler ‘Mr. Cook’ Cook releases rap album

Contributed by Rachel Anderson
Chandler ‘Mr. Cook’ Cook (on right) poses for a photo for his album with Ben Cook (left). Ben Cook, drummer for Clemson band The Dipping Skinnies, is featured on a few of Chandler’s songs.

Chandler Cook grew up in Atlanta, a hotbed for up-and-coming artists in the Southern rap scene.
Cook, a senior material sciences and engineering major, used the inspiration around him to form his music career. The student rapper, who goes by Mr. Cook, started as a lyricist and then transitioned into producing his own music.
“I first started writing poetry and lyrics 11 or 12 years ago back in middle school,” Cook said. “At the time I was listening to a lot of Outkast and Eminem.”
Cook records all of his music in his unconventional studio.
“I’ll go to my room, flip my mattress vertically, set the mic up and pretty much spend 15 to 20 minutes transforming my room into a studio.”
Even with the limited space, Cook stays motivated.
“From there, once my mattress is vertical, I can’t sleep on it, so it keeps me driven,” Cook said. “On a typical Saturday, I might be out with the boys, but you got to remember that if you want to make something big happen, you have to make sacrifices.”
Cook was also self-taught when it came to the audio production equipment, something that “people go to college to get degrees while learning it,” Cook said. All of his knowledge on utilizing it was gained through the internet and YouTube.
Cook has been recording for a year, and on March 2nd released his first album, with all of the songs recorded within 200 days. In the beginning stages, Cook faced some tribulation, not having the support of others rallied behind him.
“I talked to a few people in Atlanta about potentially making instrumentals for them and producing their stuff,” the senior said. “The response I got back was that they didn’t want to work with me or didn’t have the time to put in.”
From there, Cook set out to make a statement, not only to the doubters, but to himself.
“I wanted to prove to myself that I could make this happen and prove to others that I wasn’t just all talk.”
Cook said that “The Soup du Jour,” the title of the album, played on the “anytime, anyplace” vibes that he desired for the album to have. This was, according to Cook, from a desire to cover a “wide range of topics that college students could relate to.” The term “The Soup du Jour” translates from French to “soup of the day.”
“When you listen to the album on different times or days, you’re not going to fully catch all of the different lyrical complexities,” Cook said. “You have to listen to it a few times to catch the subtle things I’ve placed throughout the songs.”
Sporting an Outkast hoodie, Cook agreed that the band had a huge impact on his music. The rapper stated that it was the “Hey Ya” group’s (who also hail from Atlanta) “funky southern style” and complex lyrical abilities that he incorporated into his own work.
“[Outkast has] such a distinct style when they rap — it’s so intricate and perfectly executed,” Cook said. “When you hear it on a recording, it’s confusing at first, but if you hear them live, you’re taken back at how well they know both their verses and each other.”
As a white rapper, Cook also channeled Eminem’s quick-wittedness, adding that he admires “[Eminem’s] delivery of lines.”
The “Mr. Cook touch,” as the senior would put it, comes from the rapper’s love of instrumentals.
“Each one I’ve spent countless hours configuring it, and I think you can hear a lot of the southern funk within it,” Cook said. “There are some songs that are hype and a few that are mellow. That’s the best part of the album … there’s no way to pinpoint the best time to listen.”
Cook said that his career hasn’t been without doubts. When the rapper was in middle school, he was a member of a group called Plot Synopsis. The choice was not met with a warm response, with Cook being met with doubts of his musical dreams.
“I got a lot of ridicule and shade thrown,” Cook said.
But despite that, Cook continued to push through, reinforcing the notion that “it’s something that [he] had a passion for.”
Eight years later, Cook now has gained positive traction from his audience, friends and family alike.
“Every time someone texted me, they would pick a track that they liked or connected with, and there hasn’t been any overlap.”
When Cook isn’t writing music, he’s applying for jobs, being a student or — as his name suggests — cooking.
When it comes to his music, Cook said he feels a sense of vulnerability in showing the world his talent.
“You’re letting people into your life and letting them know the things you think about, but it’s also a relief,” he said. “It’s nice to not have to worry about what people think about my music before I release it anymore — it’s just out there.”
Cook describes his transition from the start of the album recording to releasing it as “professional,” inspired by a decision to make music a top priority rather than a hobby.
“That mindset transition helped the quality of the music.”
To the community, Cook expressed his love for the local music scene.
“Clemson music is really strong right now,” he said. “There are many talented musicians, so support your local artists.”
“The Soup du Jour” is currently available on Cook’s Soundcloud (chandler-cook-1). Hardcopies can also be purchased for $1.50 through a message to Cook’s personal Facebook. You can also follow him on Instagram at cook_mc.

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