Today proved to be a big day for S1 of Waco, Texas’ Strange Fruit Project. Also known as Symbolyc One, S1 co-produced “Power”, the first official leak from Kanye West’s upcoming album Good *ss Job, due later this year. The Dwele-assisted song is the talk of the Internet this holiday weekend, and for S1, it’s a long time coming.
In addition to production, S1 is an emcee in his own right. Dating back to 2002, Strange Fruit Project (which also includes Myone and Myth) has released four albums: 2002’s From Divine, 2004’s Soul Travelin’, 2006’s The Healing and last year’s EP, M.A.S.K. (Making Art Sound Kool). Last year, DX also reviewed S1’s Cloud Nineteen album with Portland, Oregon emcee Braille.
Speaking with HipHopDX this evening, the man who’s worked previously with Erykah Badu, Little Brother and Ghostface Killah explained the course of his day, how Rhymefest made it happen, and truly if Kanye West can fulfill the prophecy of “changing S1’s life.”
HipHopDX: First of all, how does today feel for you? In the context of all the hard work you’ve put into your career in music, it has to be wild to see your work be the topic of most music conversations…
S1: It feels great man! This has been a humbling experience for me and I’m so grateful to be in this position. This constant grind has been 14 years in the making for me so you can just imagine how I feel right now. God is great!
DX: Can you speak about making “Power”? Were you called down to Hawaii? How did you come into the hold?
S1: Well first off, Phonte of Little Brother introduced me to Rhymefest and we began working on material for [the] El Che LP. When I first did the “Power” beat, It was originally intended for a collaborative project that Rhymefest and I talked about doing together, but since he was still working on his El Che project, I never sent it to him. So the beat just stayed on my desktop. One day Rhymefest told me to send him a few beats over and he will try to play a few for Kanye [West]. Originally, I wasn’t going to put that “Power” beat in the beat batch because I used similiar drums as Kanye did on “Crack Music.” So I was [thinking] he’s definitely not gonna pick this one however I sent the beat anyway. Then a couple weeks later I received a text from ‘Fest saying, “Kanye is loving your stuff, He said he’s about to change your life.” Two days later I was on a flight to Hawaii to meet Mr. West. The rest is pretty much history.
DX: Musically, the song has so many neat nuances. Dwele’s solo at the end, the building introduction, the accents within the bridges. What was the plan of attack for this one? Did anything in particular seem to inspire it (musically or in life) from your end or Kanye’s end?
S1: Kanye is such a great talent. He saw the potential in this beat and really pushed it to the max. He co-produced the record and the end result of that song is his complete vision! He’s the one that really brought all those elements that you mentioned together. We would be in the studio listening to this record on full blast over and over again while he would be making his tweeks to it. His energy in the studio is crazy.
DX: Fans of you and your music are rejoicing right now. I know because I am one of them. What is the Strange Fruit Project up to right now? When Jay-Z worked with 9th Wonder on The Black Album, Little Brother benefited. Eminem’s cosign of Slaughterhouse is potentially huge. Can you speak to the effect of what this may do for all your existing footwork in making great music and putting Waco, Texas on the Hip Hop map?
S1: Strange Fruit Project is doing great. We just finished our new LP titled A Dreamer’s Journey and it’s amazing! [Laughs] I produced the whole album along with my production partner, Caleb. I am very excited about releasing this project. I believe this situation will definitely put more shine on Strange Fruit Project and when it does, we’re ready to strike. [Laughs]
DX: Lastly, did you work on more from Good *ss Job? What else are you focusing on right now?
S1: I’ll just say I been doing alot of work with Kanye. I’m not sure whats gonna make the album or not, so I wont speak too much on it. We just keep consistently working and making great songs and whichever project the songs end up on is where you will hear it at.