Many first interviews are understandably a tongue-tying experience, but Wewantwraiths’ calm character and expressive thoughts, presented more into the man behind the mask.
In his first-ever interview since his breakthrough in 2020, he presents himself as a man for the people. Staying authentic to the reasons why he began his journey into music, and constantly gaining approval from his fans. It is clearly working for him, landing him in the charts and gaining 1 million views in 4 days for his latest single ‘Know You’.
Success and meaningful impact are usually measured subjectively but it is undeniable the impression Wewantwraiths has made while not trying to position himself within one genre. His love for the art of music is a glittering backdrop throughout our conversation. Something that is always refreshing to feel in, what some would say, an over-saturated industry.
The meaning behind the name, Wewantwraiths is a testimony to that, as he explains below. In his short time in the industry, it is admirable to see where his journey takes him.
We spoke to Wewantwraiths, on why he understands himself to be a distinctive artist in the music industry in his debut interview below…
You are fresh to the scene, but already made big moves! How would you describe the moment from your first release to now?
I didn’t expect it to be received the way it did. I uploaded that video for myself, it wasn’t even for the world, on my own channel. And it kicked off. I had to carry on making music after that because of how it was taken.
How has the whole process been for you, with it being an unexpected success?
Every day is a new day, I never know what to expect, to be honest. But one thing I have to do is go to the studio and make new music. Everything else that comes with it… you have to expect the unexpected. It’s exciting though, I’m not going to lie. Because you don’t know where you are going to be, that one release might be the one that takes you off. It takes like 3 minutes to change your life.
Congratulations on your latest release! You ended up number 59 on the UK Charts and smashed 1 million views in 4 days on your own channel! How did the track come about?
Towards the end of last year, I decided I wanted to travel for a bit, this was when things were opening up. I went to Dubai and then to Europe and stayed in the studios there. And Know You, kind of sat with me. I wrote it just before Valentine’s Day and I wanted to release it for Valentine’s Day, but the logistics of getting a cameraman and all of that stuff didn’t really fit in so I had to hold back.
So, you made the song, recorded it, and did the video all in about a month before you released it?
Yeah, the thing is with me, I don’t really plan stuff. I wouldn’t say I make music the same way the typical industry artist does. That is what I have come to realise as I meet new people, is that I do things a lot differently. There aren’t really any rules, sometimes you would be surprised like we would argue about stuff just before the camera records, like ‘should we record another song?’ type thing. We all have control over what we do, and it’s lit.
Making music sounds really natural for you, what made you first get into music?
It all started with songwriting for me. I started going to the studio around summertime 2019, don’t ask me how I got into one! That’s a story for another day. But I just ended up in a studio with one of my mates who was already making music, and I just like how autotuned sounded with my voice. And I kind of got a bit addicted to it and kept hitting him up like ‘when are you going next?’
Then I started recording my music and was sending it out to my close friends, who started sending it to their girlfriends, mums, friends and that’s how it spread. And I was doing that up until July 2020, so around a year. But I never had any intent to put it out but then one day we decided to record a video. And up until the day of the shoot, we hadn’t decided what song to do… my shit is not planned, it has to be natural.
How do you move forward with music when you never know what you want to do next?
That’s the thing, I just go as hard as I can. I am starting to be more organised and plan ahead with the work I want to do though. But I feel like that takes me away from the moment. Of course, you have to have a structure, and I always make sure I do. But besides that, the plan is to keep going, giving you a lot of songs, you appreciate.
Your name, Wewantwraiths, was created based on you being a collective, surrounded by a team and you releasing music the fans want. As you progress, how do your audience and the people around you mean to your projection into the industry?
It’s you guys that are helping me stream and got me on the charts, I appreciate all the support. For me, I enjoy the process of making music within itself so if other people are enjoying it with me and appreciating it, it makes me happy you know what I mean?
You say that you don’t like to put yourself into any particular genre, but naturally, people will want to fit you into a category. How would describe your sound then?
I appreciate that people do that, but I feel like my music, from how I released it and the order in which I released it, would never be the two same kinds of flows or beats. So, that is what I kind of mean by I don’t fit into a particular genre. When I say genre, it is more of the content of the song, the kind of words, and what I am talking about. One song might be about love than the other, gutter stuff.
Who were your musical inspirations growing up?
Everyone really, I get inspired constantly, every day. But growing up I would say most of my inspiration came from America. I was always looking at people like 50 Cent, Jay Z I was really fascinated with his story at one point in my life. I’m a Meek Mill fan, Lil Baby, Lil Durk, I feel like I don’t really like listening to people rap as much anymore.
I read somewhere that you are an artist who is never seen without your bally or designer clothing, is this true? And how would you describe who you are, if we were trying to break that virtual wall?
That’s not true. I feel like I could be drippier in my videos, it is good to look nice. But you can’t overdo it. Right now, I am in a Nike tracksuit, I’m not wearing a mask or glasses… I don’t even know where they are at the moment. I feel like I’ve heard the craziest sh*t about myself.
Did you always have the intention of breaking into the industry as a masked artist?
It was purely by chance. In the first video, I shot I didn’t even have a bally with me. I was actually going to go in there and show parts of my face, so it wasn’t something I was planning to do. What happened was, my friend had a pack of masks and I just took one and kind of liked it. I had glasses in my bag as well and asked my mates what they thought, and I just ran with it.
For me, I am so grateful that that happened because I feel like it has given me the freedom to carry on. If my face wasn’t covered in that video too much, I wouldn’t have released it. it gave me the comfort to do it.
So, the fact that you wear a mask gives you the freedom and creativity to be the artist you are growing into?
Yeah definitely. I come from a religious background. I have family members in the Mosque right now, probably. And I do take my religion seriously, I don’t care what people think or say, but I want to protect the people around me and value their integrity. And for me, if I’m making music, why do you have to know what my face looks like? If you like my music, then listen to it. And I am not really into being famous. I just want to do music, and if it ends up helping me generate an income or wealth from it then I would love that. But for now, if it can just help and make people happy then…
Representation is especially important in the creative industry and I have seen how your fans have reacted to you and how you have reflected positivity into the next generation already. How do you believe your fans and community, have helped with your recent success and how do you want this to translate to your career?
Without them, I wouldn’t be here. They are the ones who are telling me to release music because I didn’t even know how good I was, to be honest with you. When I listen to my music, there are always bits I want to improve, but when my people listen to it… they just love it! and I appreciate that. I could never have done it without them. The only reason my music took off is because of the support that was being shown to the music being released before mine. People were pushing it themselves, which created a buzz for me to release music in the first place.
Without my core listeners, I would not be able to do what I am doing right now. And I feel like they should be aware of that because I am very grateful for it.
How does it make you feel knowing you are already making an impact so early on in your career?
I feel like you can all trust me you know. Like yo, I’m here now and you can trust me. I am trying to take it to a whole next level. I feel like Somali people in general are just geniuses. I feel like we have been plotted against for a reason like if you look anywhere in the world, we have some sort of influence.
And that is on every level, from street to corporate. I feel like if Somali people had the opportunity maybe 30/40 years ago, the story would be different. I just want to tell every Somali person to chase their dream, because the stigma was different for us years back. We have to help each other, but at the same time, your own people can be your downfall, but we all need to protect each other’s interests.
What kind of experience do you want to bring to fans listening and growing up on your sound, and this era of music?
I want these kids to hear what other rappers might be shy to discuss. And that is what I want to bring forward, I know what I talk about might sound flashy, but if you look at the deeper message, it is not about that. It is encouraging people to get what they can from life and look after their family. And understand that anything can break your heart, a girl, the streets, your best friend, and I want to have people relate to that.
There have been some conversations calling for a joint album that features artists within your sound like you, Baby Mane, Mastermind, and Born Trappy, how would you feel about that?
They’re all the hardest, I listen to Baby Mane almost every day. Me and Baby Mane have been back and forth for a minute. But we can’t just do what everyone expects us to do! Bread and Butter at the end of the day, what I want people to understand as well, is this whole concept of Somali artists. People who say, this person is the hardest Somali artist, but why is the Somali even in there? Why can’t it be just an artist or rapper?
I don’t want people to turn it into a competition, I’m not competing with my people. I have been saying this for a long time.
So, to the people who do try and categorise you like that?
It is usually the listeners, but it could be anyone from everywhere. Of course, people want to hear it for the culture Inshallah, but why do you have to be pigeonholed. And I feel like people do that when you know you’re serious. Like I’m going to have to bust the doors open.
Being independent and gaining acclaim for your work is something done by many or few artists so far. It goes against the narrative of needing a label, what on your thoughts on this?
I am independent at the moment and I keep planning to be. I feel like the independent way is freedom. And I only made music for freedom, I am not really in it for the money for now, but I just want to set up a foundation for myself. It is really important to own your masters, and when you are with a label you can’t do that. Ownership is important, so I feel like that is the only way for me.
I feel like artists need to understand the business of music while doing the creative side. It is all fun and games, but you need to study the business as well. I do this by making sure I’m aware of what is going on, at the end of the day it is my business. Not to sound like that, but I try to stay away from the meetings and industry stuff, not because it’s not needed but because I understand the business myself now, and you have to protect your interests all the time. And the best way to do that is by staying out of people’s way.
How important is your team to you, especially being independent?
My team is really important, because, it is not just me, I am speaking for like 100 people when I’m writing. It’s not just my story. I feel like where everyone around me is at in their lives, they are already content. So, all this music stuff is a bonus for us, allowing us to enjoy ourselves doing something we can do. People are not really dependent on my success for them to come up, we are just having fun. And if you can’t enjoy it and are forcing it, it won’t work.
You are friends with the guy on everyone’s mind these days, Central Cee, do you think we will be getting a collaboration any time soon between you both?
I f*ck with Cee, he’s cold. The way he has done everything… he is a businessman, one of the smartest guys in the industry. We’ve made a few records together already, there is one we really like… but I don’t like to force anything. It has to happen organically. I met him 2 or 3 times before we even went to the studio, so collaborations and stuff have to come naturally for me.
What is next for you?
I feel like where I am at, I really want to work with a few artists I have had my eyes on. Not necessarily to release, but I want to work with a few artists. I have been in the studio with artists that no one would think, but I am not in it for that, I want to create a vibe. And that is currently my motive right now.
In an industry that can be mad fake, I have to keep it authentic otherwise I won’t enjoy it anymore.