It was a late Thursday night, and the Missus had just left Long Beach for a Memorial Day weekend trip to Vegas with the girls. She’d be gone until Monday night, and I knew it’d be hard for me to get much sleep that first night. This was before S1’s email showed up, with a link to a 30-second “Power” snippet and a short memo that read, “It’s Coming!!!”
[ image jacked from fwmj’s mothership ]
I replied, “How am I supposed to sleep now?” and never got an answer. The dream I’d had on New Year’s Day 2009 – that one day I’d wake up and Symbolyc One (S1) would appear at the top of the game, with the internet going nuts – was coming true almost a year and a half later.
I didn’t even get a chance to wake up on Friday, May 28, 2010. The phone calls woke me up first. Apparently while I was getting four or five hours of not-so-good sleep, the full song had leaked, Symbolycone.com had launched, and “Power” had gone from a snippet to a whole song.
At this point, I couldn’t really listen to the record. When I tried to listen, I would go into a panoramic dream state – looking back, looking forward – except for when I was grinning and making the air horn sound. Even two weeks later, I still haven’t had a full, quality listen. Let’s just say I ain’t trippin’ off the “Power”.
By that afternoon, someone had called and asked me, “Since that’s your boy and he produced the new Kanye, what are you getting out of this?”
I replied, “Great Joy!”
[ image jacked from s1’s about page ]
I’m simply amazed that dreams come true in real time for real people. On the one hand, there’s the dream I had back in ’09 that basically foretold all of this. But, most importantly, there is the dream S1 and his family have had since way before I even met the man. And then there is the way he achieved it.
Like Yahzarah says in the intro to her new album’s first tune, “Strike Up the Band” and Mr. West says in the first four bars of “Power” (both produced by Symbolyc One, the former co-produced with Caleb), “Every superhero needs his/her theme music”. It’s been obvious since I met this guy in 2002 that he makes superhero-level music.
Nearly a decade ago, the sound quality was already there. By the second show I’d done with Strange Fruit Project circa 2003, hearing the track for “Love Is” on The Parish’s system during an Austin, Texas, sound check was all it took for me to know something special was among us.
By 2005 or so, his repertoire and range started expanding exponentially. But there had always been a super sonic quality to pretty much every S1 and/or SFP joint. The sound always spoke for itself.
“The greatest among you shall be your servant” – Matthew 23:11
As far as artists S1 has worked with consistently in the past decade, I’m probably in the top 10 at best. But more importantly, he and Skin from Hydroponic Sound System inspired me when I needed it the most. There were years when they were more concerned about my next recording than I was. I have experienced the honor of having a producer of S1’s caliber asking me what I’m lacking for my next project and being willing to send it to me in a day or two. Who does that?
In the Aeonz crew, he has always been the de facto leader because he was the most focused and productive, if not the most humble. Due to his quiet confidence and crazy work ethic, I’m convinced he always knew where he wanted to go. How complicated of a plan is “to the top”, anyway?
Keep in mind that this is a really low-key cat – so low-key that the Waco newspaper didn’t know which high school he went to when they wrote a quick bandwagon column about “Power” the other day. Hardly anyone noticed him passing through my South by Southwest barbecue last year; he only came by long enough to drop off some S1 & Braille and Vohn Beatz promo CD’s and poof…
Basically, he kept his nose to the grindstone, and the rest is victory. It’s a victory for all the Texan and Southern artists who make music more like Little Brother than Lil’ Jon. It’s a victory for me to see someone in my crew get his. So this isn’t a “what’s in it for me” or “what can he do for me” scenario, but more like a “what can I do for him”.
I’ve witnessed the Power of God at work. So if I’m really inspired by that power, I’ll step my greatness up. And by greatness I mean service.
As a musician, artist, performer, etc., I’ve questioned my choice to focus on crews, bands, communities and movements over the years. I’ve struggled with feelings of regret about merely putting myself in context, when I could’ve really put myself first. “Power” is a timely reminder that it’s okay to do things the right way.
God-willing, you’ll see a book or video/doc called “The Good Guy Who Finished First” soon. I can only dream, right?!
Bavu Blakes appeared on six tracks produced by Symbolyc One (S1) released on vinyl from 2004 to 2007 — Remember My Face, Labor of Love (Symbolyc One Mix), We Three Kings, Who Knows, Play the Role (Liquid Soul Remix) and 50K (S-Weezy Remix).