2010's been a banner year for Dallas' Symbolyc One, known best around these parts for his work with both Erykah Badu's Cannabinoids and his own long-running Waco-based hip-hop collective, Strange Fruit Project.
"I've been doing work," the producer says over the phone this week. "I've been doing a lot of work."
He sure has--since the beginning of the year, even, when he started things off on a good foot by producing a couple of tracks for Kanye West protege Rhymefest's return-to-form release. And it was through Rhymefest's connections to West, that S1 started working with the sometimes controversial, but always entertaining West himself.
"I hooked up with Kanye through Rhymefest," the man born Larry Griffin explains. "He played some of my beats for Kanye."
Among those beats: "Power," the heart-stopping, King Crimson-sampling song that's all the rage these days--even on video. After the jump, S1 lets us know how the song got in West's hands--and what else he has in store for the remainder of 2010.
(Spoiler alert: It's a lot.)
"When I created the beat, I had Rhymefest in mind for it," S1 reveals of his creative process for "Power." "But I never sent it over to him. I had that beat just sitting on my desktop."
When Rhymefest came calling, though, explaining that Kanye was a fan of the work S1 had done for his album, S1, who was in Florida on vacation at the time, passed the song--and a few others--West's way. Almost immediately, he heard back: "Rhymefest was like, 'Man, this stuff you just sent me is incredible.'" And, via text message Rhymefest told him the good news: West was going to use the beats, and, the rapper promised, he was going to "change his life."
Since the release of "Power," which has taken much of the hip-hop world by storm, more and more good news has indeed fallen S1's way. And that spate of good news, S1 says, has only increased in the wake of the above video for the song's release--which only lasts 90 seconds, despite the song clocking in at just under 5 minutes.
The cut's OK with S1, though: "I'm a part of history with that video, and I can't complain about that."
Besides, he says, all that exposure has helped him in the long run, his song getting cut short on video or not.
"Most definitely," S1 says from the studio in his Dallas home. "That put me on a whole different scale, a whole different level. This kind of thing puts you out there bigger than you can really imagine. It just kind of snowballs."
It helps that West is fully on board behind S1's work. He recently shouted S1 during a Ustream conversation with his Twitter fans, and, S1 says, the two remain in contact, emailing one another every few weeks, sharing beats and ideas. Their continued conversation means more work for S1--specifically, he says, when it comes to West's upcoming album, which, the rapper announced on that same Ustream interview, should see its release in November.
"As of now," S1 says, "I have two, maybe three songs on the record. And I've been working with a lot of other major artists. There's a lot of things going on that I can't really speak on. But know that I'm working. A lot."
Today on Twitter, Symbolyc One revealed one of the bigger-named artists he's working with: Talib Kweli.
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And for good measure, earlier this month, his son, 12-year-old production prodigy VohnBeatz, won the Texas Urban Music producer showcase. On whether S1 plans on sending any of his son's beats Kanye's way, S1 laughs: "I haven't," he says. "Not at this time."
But that doesn't mean he won't.
So, yeah, things are good these days in the Griffin househould. And as if S1 wasn't busy enough these days, he expects the next Strange Fruit Project album, called Dreamer's Journey, to drop in September.
Says S1, again with a laugh: "I'm just telling people to stay tuned."