[Featured Creator] 👀 Meet Wonthedon, a biology student and self-made rapper.
His passion has made it to Spotify, iTunes, and SoundCloud.
|Cornell Creatives||Sep 13, 2020||1|
With a deep-rooted passion for writing lyrics and finding quality beats, Will Nnuro ‘21, also known as Wonthedon, has been carrying his talent with him since his middle school days in Ghana. Now a Biology Scholar in the College of Arts & Sciences, Will has evolved into a known rapper on campus, with music on iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud.
If you listen to Wonthedon’s songs, you’ll hear a myriad of genres that have always been at the core of his music: hip hop, Afrobeats, and dancehall. It is easy to get caught up in the beats themselves - especially with headphones on. But if you listen to the lyrics carefully, you’ll find yourself listening to a story, one of either personal experience or of Wonthedon’s imagination.
“Guys, can you please listen and enjoy the moment / to me I have no haters, no contenders, no opponents,” Will raps in his 2019 single “Ode to Joy,” a song that fills you with confidence. His latest single, “Jezebel,” tells of an unsettled relationship and was released this past February. On August 7, 2020, he released an EP album titled “First Class,” which he teased on his Instagram in late June.
Whether freestyling on Instagram or posting full music videos on YouTube, Wonthedon’s energy and dedication are inspiring to any viewer.
🔊The Journey to Rap
Q: Where did your music journey begin?
I grew up listening to rap, and you know Black culture is heavily influenced by rap music. But I've also grown up around so many different cultures of music: my mom used to play reggae music all the time, and I love dancehall music, which started in Jamaica. Dancehall is really prominent in the UK as well, which has a huge influence on Ghanaian culture because of connections from colonization. So a couple of my songs incorporate a lot of those elements.
I didn't start writing rap seriously until eighth grade. But before that I'd always been writing other stuff - mostly stories.
I lost interest for a little bit until eighth grade, when people started getting more into rap at my school in Ghana. This one time we were having a festival at our school, and there was an artist who came. He asked the crowd, “Hey, who here's a rapper? Who here has bars?” And then everyone was screaming for this one kid who was a known rapper to stand up and freestyle - and he did and it was really good. It was inspirational. So that day, I went home and I wrote my first rap. I've been writing music ever since.
Q: What artist(s) inspired you to write music?
What really inspired me to rap was listening to Eminem, especially his earliest music, like “My Name Is” and “The Real Slim Shady.” I really like funny lyrics and punchlines that catch people off guard, and Eminem does that a lot. He'll say some stuff that makes no sense, but then you think about it and it’s like, “Oh, this has a double or a triple meaning.”
Q: Do you want your creative pursuit to become your full time job?
It's kind of hard to tell because I do like music, but with the way the world is going, it's really unstable to be a musician - even if you're famous. People's attention spans are really short nowadays. You could be all in and rich one day, and then you could just fall off the face of the earth the next day. And I’ve just heard of so many of these artists just struggling with their labels and getting screwed over.
I really value stability, and I'll definitely never stop making music. As for signings and major labels, I tell myself that I'm only gonna do it if it's on my terms. I can still do stuff outside of music to make money. And I could have my own little label for myself on social media and just run my own thing, because there's nothing better than freedom in your creative process.
🎧Writing + Producing the Music
Q: What’s the first thing that you want someone to notice about your music?
I want them to be interested in my lines because in my production process I put a lot of emphasis on lyrics. I know the first thing that definitely attracts you to a song is not really the lyrics but how it sounds, and then later you understand the lyrics the more you listen to it. So I always have to make sure it sounds good, but what I find most important is my lyrics.
Q: What's one of your favorite songs that you've written?
Probably “Masquerave,” which was my first song. I knew people would be surprised by it. I wrote it pretty quickly because the beat was just so good. It's a lot of people's favorite song of mine that I've done, including my little brother.
Q: What’s the process behind producing music?
I listen to a lot of beats and try to think of lyrics or freestyle to it. Producers sometimes contact me on Instagram, since they're always looking for artists to sell beats to, and sometimes they offer you free beats if they think you're good.
I can also think of the lyrics first, then later find a beat that goes with it. Once I have the concept, I buy the beat and I usually try to contact the producer too.
After you record and get your vocals right, you cut out parts of the song that you don’t need and get the song mixed and mastered, which is when you put all those effects that you hear on regular songs like autotune, delay, and reverb.
💡Personal Growth + Advice
Q: What have you learned about yourself as a result of sharing your music on social media and streaming platforms?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that the world does not revolve around you, and no one owes you anything. At first, overusing social media kind of rewired my brain. The more I used it, the more I thought about trying to draw attention to myself. I used to also feel entitled for people to support me, but if they don't want to, you shouldn't think twice about it.
So I've kind of removed a lot of the self-pity and victim mentality stuff that I used to think. If a post doesn't go well on Instagram or a song doesn't get the number of listens I hope it will, then I look internally to see what I can improve instead of trying to blame external factors. This helped me build confidence in myself and in my work.
Q: To all the aspiring student creatives reading this, what would you like to say? Do you have any advice or tips to share?
The most important thing I can tell them is consistency. Just keep doing it. I feel like a lot of people see others with talent and with creative passion and think that they were magically born with it. But everyone who is really good at something or successful at something has just done it more than others. So if you really want to be successful at something, you just have to keep doing it over and over again. And then it just comes.
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