A New York native who grew up in four different places: New Jersey, South Carolina, Florida, and Kingston Jamaica, Dondetta took Violin lessons as a child but never got the chance to finish. He explains between other kids beating him up and family members laughing, he gave up quick and started to DJ to fill the void. Being a DJ exceeded his wildest dreams because it took him to another place and expanded his horizons even more. Almost immediately he started writing rhymes while doing shows at small clubs. Dondetta notes: I would throw a few lyrics in to pump up the club, which also helped with my confidence. I wasn’t focused on anything other than music and I loved sleeping in the back of my car knowing life was wide open and free of internal haters.
Recording his songs while rhyming on mixed tapes for friends, Dondetta saw their genuinely excited reaction. One friend named Black Deuce from Liberty City Miami was a DJ himself and flat out said, “you are an ok DJ but you are a better MC”. Like a kid with some candy, he ran with it. In the beginning, he said he was horrible at not knowing what to write. The only thing he knew was that he couldn’t write or sound like everyone else. So he studied the format and the best out there was Bob Marley, Rakim, Billy Joel, Tupac, and Notorious BIG. Dondetta explains “I thought Bob Marley was the King, Tina Turner the Queen, Biggie, Rakim and Tupac the offspring, with Billy Joel being the Creative Agent of Craftsmanship. I used their influence to understand the freedom of style by understanding the fundamentals. And I naturally gravitated to tightly woven stories with a nice dose of independence”.
His name began to grow over the next 4 years while stationed at Key West Florida as a serviceman from age 18 to 22. However he had to leave, and his next stop was California. There he learned the music business by watching various groups advertise and hustle their talents back and forth across the state. But the problem with California was his love for basketball, and with that came all the college scholarship offers to play. Thinking he could do both and later realizing that he couldn’t, the music was put on hold for a few years. Dondetta eventually lost interest in basketball after suffering a knee injury and his playing time diminish, but still had the appetite for music. He said he never felt out of control doing music. While going through rehab, he used it as an opportunity to write more than 25 songs. And once he was finished, there was no turning back to basketball – that was in the past, and music was the future. He put together beats by going online and searching for beat producing websites. There he found a treasure chest of talented producers looking for writers to put their creative work into motion. This is where Dondetta felt free to create and record continuously. He explains that every new beat is a different song and feels very lucky to be creative enough to write in any situation. Forming his own label Dondetta LLC, he produced videos and marketed those videos through Virool, YouTube, and other social media outlets.
This freedom allowed Dondetta to self-produce the Hypnotica CD as well as time to experiment while making it. He says, “I had to fight the old me to let the new me take flight”. He purchased a lot of beats that he never used because they seemed dated. And spent months on certain songs, refining them until he thought they were right and saying to himself “would I buy this”? With the help of a veteran studio engineer Scott at Pulse River Studios, the sound took shape on Booty Shakin Bidness, Here’s My Number, Push, and I Can Work It Out. The true test was Jango, one of the many online radio stations. The response was immediate and the scores went from 90% to 88%, then leveling out at 86% for 10 months. This was very exciting to see on 3 singles from a debut album.
From the opening notes of the albums first single, Booty Shakin Bidness, one hears the dripping bass combined with melodic irresistibility and lyrical incisiveness that are becoming Dondetta’s hallmarks. The song is about shapes moving from east to the west, north to the south in all different sizes. Dondetta says, “the vibe of it wraps up for me the way I felt standing around the TV as a kid watching video’s”. Indeed, that feeling of being a kid again is one that’s prevalent on Hynotica. Booty Shakin Bidness and I Can Work It Out are the album’s bookends, and everything was based on the tone of the two songs. Part of it is nostalgic, like seeing things through a child’s eyes in the way that everything is big and heightened. It’s that same sense of wonder that sweeps through the album. He explains “I write like that 17 year old standing on the corner knowing he’s the coolest thing since chrome wheels”. With the responding piano chords and car rattling bass mixed with reflective lyrics and propulsive rhythm, this digital album is 30 minutes of Hip Hop, Rap, and Pop - Dondetta style made electrically alive and new. He doesn’t just rap the lyrics; he inhabits them and lives them out, making his tales of growing up and parting 3-dimensional in the most powerful of ways.
Dondetta is currently on the road, honing his live show, and playing at every place that will have him. He says, “it’s gaining momentum and with the live show I’m excited. There’s a lot of stuff coming off the top of my head that’s happening on stage. Being on the road is what I’ve always wanted”. He is putting his songs down on stage the way he wants and creating a fully realized album that’s a culmination of where he’s been and where he’s going. That is sure to win him the notoriety that is demanded by the depth and quality of his songs.