Symbolyc One Explains How He Came Up With Kanye West and Jay-Z's "Excellence" Joint

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

In this week's paper, you'll find a heads up of sorts about what's really going on in Dallas hip-hop these days -- essentially it's no longer the rappers making waves so much as it's the producers.

And that's not just fluff. As noted in the article, in the past couple of years alone, Dallas hip-hop producers have been behind some of your favorite tracks from the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, Beyonce, Lil Wayne, T-Pain, Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg, Paul Wall, Bun B, Nelly, Akon, Pitbull, Chamillionaire, Talib Kweli, Wiz Khalifa, Dom Kennedy, Big Sean, Curren$y, Mac Miller, Kid Cudi, Nipsey Hustle, Rhymefest, Smoke DZA and even international house music superstar David Guetta. It's an impressive list, no doubt.

But, most impressive of all, in 2011 at least, have been the efforts of Larry Griffin Jr., otherwise known as Symbolyc One. Between the still-great "Power" off West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, "Best Thing I Never Had" off of Beyonce's 4, and, most recently, the much-lauded "Excellence" portion of the two-songs-in-one "Murder to Excellence" from West and Jay-Z's collaborative, much-hyped Watch The Throne, S1's had the most successful year of his life in '11.

"Most definitely," he admits over the phone this week, taking a moment to reflect on his successes.

Interestingly enough, though, S1 promises that the year he's had is only going to get better. He still expects to have a song with 50 Cent later this year. He's even got an upcoming track coming with Willow Smith -- something he's double excited about, since Griffin's 13-year-old son, production prodigy VohnBeatz, is also likely to be working on a track with Willow's 13-year-old brother, Jaden Smith, star of the Karate Kid remake, in the near future.

"I'm really excited about that," Griffin says.

Oh, and his own group, Strange Fruit Project, should have its next album ready within the next week -- two weeks tops.

So, clearly, he's a busy dude these days. Still, he was gracious enough to tell us a little backstory on his work on "Excellence," while also passing along a clip of how he created the beat. Check out the video, and read S1's thoughts on how the song came out, after the jump.

Griffin says he'd known since pretty early on in the recording process that his song was going to be a collaborative effort with Swizz Beatz.

"I did," he says. "That song started out as two separate tracks. Once they were done, though, Kanye was like, 'What would these two songs sound like together?' Then he did that -- right there in the studio. Everyone went crazy. So I knew it'd stay that way."

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.