After performing an academic rap for his high school chemistry class, junior screenwriting major Jaren Wright knew music was in his blood. Under the name Jozondi, Wright has released one album and four singles.
His stage name may sound unusual but actually has familial roots as Wright’s middle name. After both his grandmother and his cousin passed away, Wright’s parents combined their two first names to create Jozondi.
“I kind of picked that for my rap name because it kind of helps me remember why I’m doing music,” said Wright. “I’m doing music to hopefully make an impact on the world, so the fact that I have my family name in the music makes me detract from doing music that I would regret. At the end of the day it’s my name, but it’s also my family’s name that I’m representing so I don’t represent them incorrectly.”
With the responsibility to represent his family, Wright uses his platform to inspire change and speak against injustices — especially after the recent Black Lives Matter protests. He recently released the music video for "Joker" which acts as Wright’s commentary on the racial injustices in the modern world.
The song’s lyrics discuss the current controversy around the American police force and its long history of discrimination against the Black community. However, Wright takes a specific approach to this issue, emphasizing that both police officers and African Americans share a common risk — but only one signed up for the constant danger.
“I felt like it was important to not just like disregard the risk that cops are going through in general with their job as well, but I thought it was important to frame it in like, imagine having that risk just for something you have no control over,” said Wright. “Black people often feel and often are at risk of not only being a regular citizen but also being targeted by police who— no other reason besides the color of your skin—think you’re a criminal.”
This powerful commentary is brought to life through the music video, where Wright wears clown makeup done by senior communication studies major Jordan Fernandez. Wright also collaborated with junior film and television production major Cezanne Bush, who created the experimental visuals that brought the piece together.
“His name is on the album is Big Rick but it is my brother,” said Wright, laughing. “It was fun seeing how he reacts to all of it. As much of a music fan I am, he’s like really a fan of the song that we did. Every time this song jumps up in numbers of people listening to it, he’s like, 'Today it's at this number.'”
With his supportive family by his side, Wright plans to release an EP every month for the foreseeable future. This commitment to improvement kicked off with his most recent tune, “Love Lost,” which touches upon the ups and downs that have accompanied COVID-19.
“While in quarantine I felt it was probably the best time to try to improve my skills by myself. The more I can self-produce, I don’t have to rely on outside fees which make it harder in music.”