(Image courtesy of Daniel Shi)
Troy High School

How music shaped my persona

Ever since I was a child, I fell in love with music. The endless songs and tunes one could sway to simply amazed me. You would always see me with earbuds on, knowing that I was immersing myself in notes and cadences. I was open to all kinds of genres of music, but the genre that really influenced me was hip-hop.

Something about the flow and the gangster-esque style of the genre really captivated my ears and as a result, I would listen to endless rap playlists, never hitting pause, always letting the music flow through my ears as I absorbed it note by note and lyric by lyric.

Eventually, there came a point where I didn’t just want to listen the same songs over and over again. I still loved hip-hop, but I wanted to be able to express that love through my own musical creations. In other words, I wanted to be a rapper.

Unfortunately, rapping didn’t work out for me. For one, I didn’t have an appealing voice that would attract listeners, and secondly, I had no microphone or any knowledge about vocal editing, so even if my voice did sound bad, I had no way of tuning it. Despite this, the longing for expressing myself musically still lingered.

In the month of August, everything changed. It seemed like another day, I was on YouTube, scrolling through videos when suddenly, a video by Genius caught my eye. It was a video on how the instrumental for the song “Rockstar” by Post Malone was made.

The producer himself sat down in the video and walked through the entire production process of laying down drums, snares, hats and a melody. The video really piqued my interest and I wanted to learn more about producing. I started searching up instrumentals to popular songs to study how the top producers formatted their beats. One producer that really stood out to me was Leland Tyler Wayne, better known as “Metro Boomin.”

The eerie melodies of his beats captivated my ears in a way I have never felt before. The special thing about him was that he didn’t flock to the rappers, the rappers flocked to him. His productions were so catchy that anybody who rapped to it would sound good, regardless of their musical talent. To this day, Metro remains my number one idol when it comes to producing. He was and is the main reason I started producing.

Leland Tyler Wayne aka “Metro Boomin'” performs at a concert (Photo by Declan Intindola / The Daily Targum)

Eventually, I learned so much about production that I knew how to lay down a basic rap beat before I even possessed any production software. I did eventually get my mom to buy me a software called FL Studio — it was what most of the producers used to make beats, and the interface was easy to learn and use. Within minutes, I had laid down my very first beat, which you can view here:

After my third or fourth beat, I created my social media platforms to share my creations. I dubbed myself “Wintendo” and immediately started posting what I had. Unfortunately, things started out slow. My videos and tracks didn’t rack up many views, but over time, people started noticing, and they commented on how well I did. This gave me motivation to work harder, to bring out better content on my platforms.

At around my 10th beat or so, I realized that my skills at creating melodies were severely lacking. As a person who does not know music theory, this was a major setback for me. Nevertheless, I persevered. I watched countless videos on how to create better melodies. Eventually, I learned the art of sampling and chopping, and I embedded those arts into my productions. It was a bit difficult to find samples, but pretty soon I found sites such as Looperman that provided free loops and samples that I could morph into my own unique melody. Learning about sampling and chopping allowed me to roll out more beats in less time, drawing more viewers and listeners.

As of now, my social platforms don’t have that many supporters, but I believe that I can one day be proficient enough at producing to make beats for the rap industry’s largest names. If you would like to support me, you can find me on YouTube or soundcloud.com/wintendobeats.

Music production has given me an entire new perspective on rap, and I learned so much about music that I never thought was possible. Being a producer is definitely a hobby that I hope to transform into an occupation in the future, and I am certain that I can accomplish this feat.