[artist id=”1230523″]Kanye West[/artist] has aligned a murderer’s row of producers for his forthcoming album , including Pete Rock, the RZA and Q-Tip.
But “Power,” the first track to emerge from the Chicago MC’s highly anticipated LP, wasn’t produced by one of the aforementioned acclaimed beatsmiths. Instead, underground producer Symbolyc One manned the boards for the number.
The Dallas-based producer (a.k.a. S1) has previously worked with Ghostface, Slim Thug and Chamillionaire, but he’s hardly a household name.
“The way it came together, I work with Rhymefest,” S1 told MTV News about the song, referring to another Chicago MC. “I did like four joints on his album. And one day, out the blue, I got a text from Rhymefest that said, ’Kanye is loving your stuff. He said he’s about to change your life.’ Two days later, I got an e-mail that said my flight to Hawaii [where West recorded much of the album] leaves in three hours! So I was on a flight, and it just happened like that. I went down and stayed for like two weeks, banged out some joints.
“The ’Power’ joint that we did, it was actually a track that I already made and gave to Rhymefest, and he just so happened to play it for Kanye in the studio and he loved it. So when I got out to Hawaii, Kanye had already recorded to it.”
A month later, S1 returned to Hawaii and heard “Power” again, this time with more “polish” added by ’Ye, who co-produced the song. However, S1 picked the sample that drives the record: a snippet of British progressive rock band King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man.”
Initially, he didn’t think West would be interested in the beat, because a drum break resembles a sound the rapper already visited on “Crack Music,” a song from one of his previous albums.
But West showed a heavy interest in the song, and used it to fire back at his detractors: “I’m living in the 21st century, doing something mean to it,” ’Ye raps on the first verse. “Do it better than anybody you ever seen do it/ Screams from the haters, got a nice ring to it/ I guess every superhero need his theme music.”
“It was incredible,” the producer said. “We would just listen to the joint in the studio over and over, with the lights turned down and these layers of lights on in the studio. And we would bang it loud, over and over.”
In addition to producing, S1 is a part of a trio billed as the Strange Fruit Project, who have been releasing material since 2004.
Their next project A Dreamer’s Journey — which S1 described as “alternative hip-hop” — is set for fall release; he and his production parter Caleb oversaw all the material.
In the meantime, S1 said he’s fielding phone calls and learning as much as he can from West.
“They kind of welcomed me into the family,” S1 said. “I’ve been doing a lot of work with him. He’s just a good dude. He has a super-good heart. He really took care of me and made me feel like a part of the family. And I’m so grateful for the position he’s put me in right now.”
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