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Symba Breaks Down ‘Results Take Time’ On Vocalo

Written by on September 21, 2022

Bay Area rapper Symba rolled through Chicago on tour in support of his new album, Results Take Time. He stopped by the Vocalo studios to break down the album, his experience working with Kanye, his Funk Flex freestyle and his appearance on Sway In The Mornings.

Bay Area rapper Symba may have sat in the studio with Kanye West, be in the midst of an ongoing collaboration with legendary producer No I.D., gotten features including 2 Chainz, Pusha T and Roddy Ricch on his latest album, seen his face on a huge YouTube Music billboard in Atlanta and be on a U.S. tour through next month — but he doesn’t let any of his successes go to his head. 

“I just like to live in my own space and stay self aware, whatever it is I’m trying to do,” Symba told Bekoe.

Symba actually credits self-awareness and staying grounded as concepts which got him to where he is now.

“Some people don’t live in reality, they think they’re bigger than they are,” he said. “Think they’re a little more famous than they are, they think more people paying attention than they actually are… With me, I’m always trying to look at it from a reality perspective.”

And though his latest album, a 16-song collaboration with DJ Drama titled Results Take Time, has been met with positive feedback, Symba didn’t release it with any hope other than for everyday people to resonate with it in some way. And people did; Symba noted fans have reached out with emotional responses to the album —  some with tears, some with life-path revelations.

“This is the first time I’ve dropped a project and people have still cared after the first 30 minutes,” he expressed. “It feels different, the response feels different and it feels special. It feels like a lot of love, it just feels right.”

Symba’s self-awareness extends beyond just his expectations for reception to his music. He described to Bekoe his time working in the studio with Kanye on critically-acclaimed album Donda, where instead of trying to work on every song — though he did end up working on “Heaven and Hell” — he took a step back and observed the other artists in the room. Symba recalled looking around at artists like Chance the Rapper, Playboy Carti and Malik Yusef and deciding to learn from their processes.

“I was just adoring his process, for real,” he said.

Symba and Bekoe also discussed freestyling, his Funk Flex Freestyle and his appearance on Sway In the Morning. Check out their conversation now on Spotify and YouTube.

Bekoe: You’re tuned in to Vocalo Radio, 91.1 FM. I’m your host Bekoe. Alongside me, man, from the bay to the Chi, I got Symba in the building with me!

Symba: Feels so good to be in the Chi right now, the weather’s still beautiful. 

Bekoe: You came at the right time.

Symba: Man, I heard it gets real windy, that’s why they call it the Windy City.

Bekoe: Definitely gets windy, and you caught… Mother Nature at a chill spot right now. Is this your first time in Chicago?

Symba: Yes. Yes, I actually was here for a layover, one time I had a flight and I went on a date with this girl for like an hour, then she dropped me back off at the airport. So I didn’t really get to move through the city.

Bekoe: Look, fresh off the plane and already gettin’ into some things.

Symba: Yeah, man, I was out here for layover like three years ago and I moved around, but I rock with the Chi. My homie D. Brooks Exclusive, he introduced me to the Chi, he kinda like got people to know me out here. We did a lot of music together a few years ago. Dreez, that’s the homie, I rock with the homie Kiddo, the homie Kiddo Curry. I got a lot of people I rock with in the Chi, man.

Bekoe: That’s good to hear that you already have roots established here. I mean. 

Symba: No I.D., I just was with No I.D. last week, we working on some things. 

Photo by Rakim Winfert.

Bekoe: What brought that… I’m gonna say, what brought you to No I.D. and how did you all even link?

Symba: Actually, it was the homie Tag, over at BMI. I mean BMG, I’m sorry. But the homie Tab, he reached out to him and was like, “Yo, man, I work with Symba… we gotta get y’all together.” And we’ve been trying to get together for like the past year or so. But as of recently, it kind of all came together, we went by a studio, we did like two days together. And we didn’t even really record too much. It was really a learning process for me, a real learning process. I feel like No I.D. is… he’s a genius. And as he was, so he got all the codes… He knows the codes that make these things work. So I was just sitting there soaking up all that game, just trying to learn from him so I can apply to my process.

Bekoe: What’s something throughout the years that you’ve learned that you feel got you to where you’re at now?

Symba: Self-awareness. Being realistic. Living in reality of where you currently are, not in your mind of what you think you are. Some people don’t live in reality, they think they’re bigger than they are. Think they’re a little more famous than they are, they think more people paying attention than they actually are. And with me, I’m always trying to look at it from a reality perspective. I’m dealing with things right now, one of my homies was just getting on my line before we came over here, like, “You can’t just be walking out the room by yourself.” It’s like, bro, I get it. But the car is right here, the rooms, I’m walking out, it’s cool. But I’m just very self-aware of things. And I never try to get too big-headed or let anything go to my head. I just like to live in my own space and stay self aware, whatever it is I’m trying to do. That’s why when people say things like, “Nobody knows what I go through,” I’ll be laughing, because it’s like, bro, we all going through something. Everybody’s going through stuff. We may not be going through the same things, but we all experience the same feelings. Hurt, jealousy. Some people don’t be comfortable in their own skin, don’t be comfortable with self-relationship issues… We all go through these things, and I’m just always trying to highlight that within the music. 

Bekoe: You’ve been doing that, man. 

Symba: Thank you, brother. Thank you, man.

Bekoe: It all takes time, and it takes time to learn yourself. When did you notice your sound started to elevate?

Symba: I worked with Kanye West, in Atlanta on the Donda project. It was an experience that kind of taught me to push creativity, push past what… everybody else is doing. So I will watch Ye make a song and take the vocal and send it to eight different producers. He might like one part of this beat, one part of that beat, one part of this. He’d just kind of merge them together and make one thing, and I was just seeing the creative genius behind it. So when I got back to LA I’m like, “You know what? I got to start pushing myself.” I’m too comfortable with just rapping. I’m not trying to sing on record, I’m not just going in here having fun, trying new things, trying to be witty, stand on concept. Making sure that it’s digestible for the listener to actually hear. Because I’m a lyrical person, so if you just rap all day, sometimes the message could get lost in your words. But if you pan it out and you make it to where it’s digestible, and it’s clean enough for somebody to actually hear what you’re saying and feel what you’re saying, it connects different. And I’ve seen that with Kanye, I’ve really seen them do “Heaven and Hell”‘s beat 80 different times… Off the grid, all them type of songs. 

And I wasn’t involved in those songs. I actually wrote on, a little… we worked on “Heaven and Hell.” And everything else was like, I’m just watching. The whole time I was there, I was more so there learning than I was trying to get on every song or write on every song, I was just adoring his process, for real. And at that point in time, it was so many geniuses in the room, right? Pusha T, Chance the Rapper, Quavo, Playboy Carti, Cyhi the Prince, Malik Yusef, all these different creatives was just in the room. It’s like, “You know what? Let me sit back and sit on a bench and learn, because these is players who’ve done it, and still doing it on a high level. I’m not at this level. So let me sit in the back of the room and see what I can learn and go apply to my process.” So I was definitely Toni Kukoč in them sessions.

Bekoe: Toni Kukoč checked the bag!

Bekoe: You’re tuned in to Bekoe in the Mornings, right here on Vocalo Radio, 91.1 FM. How do you feel, Results Take Time, how do you feel the impact has been with it recently released, and have you felt some of that impact from it?

Symba: Man, bro, every day, man. This is the first time I’ve dropped a project and people have still cared after the first 30 minutes. Because when you get that first 30 minutes or that first two hours when it first dropped, you get all the homies posting it and all these different people, couple new people come in. But it’s like every day I’m waking up, I’m getting new followers. I’m getting new people hitting me. Somebody sent me a video last night of them crying to “Sacrifices.” Somebody wrote this long thing in my DM this morning about, they was going through depression the past few months, and “Better Days” made them realize they got something to live for.

Hearing those things… somebody hit me from jail, just saying, “I’ve been locked up, ‘Find A Way’ is helping me get through… it’s making me realize I took the wrong route in life.” I’m hearing these things, plus seeing the response from radio and Instagram, Twitter. YouTube just put me on a billboard this morning in Atlanta. Big billboard. Everybody just rocking with it. It feels different, the response feels different and it feels special. It feels like a lot of love, it just feels right. I’m just soaking it all in and living in it, bro.

Bekoe: Before we dive in a little deeper on the project, let’s actually go back to freestyle, because it’s an art, man. And people get freestyles misconstrued. So before I jump into it… what is your term of freestyle?

Symba: A freestyle, for me, is a free write. It’s like, when I get a beat, like “Can’t Win For Nothing,” I think of the concept and I’m only writing to enhance this concept. I’m not trying to think of nothing or add nothing, that’s not a part of this concept. Even if it’s a dope line, I’m like, “The line’s dope but it don’t got nothing to do with this concept.” And freestyles is just, you’re free to write. You’re free to write whatever, you can make whatever rhyme you can make anything say something. Anytime, for those of y’all listening, anytime y’all see somebody go to a radio station and freestyle, unless it’s like something where they’re rhyming about things in the room or it’s just… “I went from BET to WBEZ,” something like that. Like that’s a freestyle, right? But it’s like, when you’re hearing these in-depth lyrical patterns and all this, that’s thought-out and people just having free writes and they go in and they’re reciting it over somebody else’s instrumental.

Bekoe: You’ve been killing it. You, recently, was that…

Symba: [Funk] Flex? 

Bekoe: Yeah, you already know! 

Symba (on Funk Flex): Started from the Bay, it’s amazing I made it here. I guess it’s safe to say I’m having a hell of a year. Flex, it’s an honor to meet you, but let’s be clear: I done had a bone to pick with your ass for four years. You’ve been a big part of his culture my whole life, so what I’m about to say almost don’t feel right. You say some wild **** times you actually right, but all that disrespecting Tupac **** stops tonight…

Bekoe: You know, for you to get that out… man, was you nervous at all? Did you think Flex was gonna take it the wrong way? Because nobody ever went in there and really stepped on his toes like that, especially about stomping on Tupac!

Symba: I feel like I worded it correctly. I feel like I worded correctly. I wanted to say it, but I didn’t want to feel like I was disrespecting him or coming at him in a way, because Flex is a legend. He does so much for the culture. So I didn’t want to go in there and make it like this, ‘Flex you’s a…’ you know? At least, so I made it to where it’s, ‘This is how I feel, Flex, and you know you’re wrong, but we’re gonna let you slide, because you is who you is… And I appreciate you.’ So I didn’t think he would take it the wrong way, just because of how it was worded. 

Bekoe: You did a good job on Sway In The Morning, too, my brother. 

Symba: That’s my big dog, man. I had to go burn down Sway. I’ve been talking to Sway for the last three years about going up there. It was in this pandemic, I told him once I get up there we was gonna make it a movie.

Photo by Rakim Winfert.

Bekoe: You did, too, man. You done made him create a whole… he wants to create a whole series, he’s trying to get the markets involved. Talking about “Top Five.” 

Symba: I told him, ‘Let’s do it!’ I seen it this morning on Twitter. I’m seeing everybody talking about, it was somebody from, I think, from Chicago.

Bekoe: Yeah, Illanoize! 

Symba: Somebody was like, “I got five!” And he was like, “Let’s do it.” So he had tapped in with me and LaRussell this morning.

Bekoe: We got five, most definitely! 

Symba: We got five, too!

Bekoe: Okay, what’s your five? 

Symba: From the bay? 

Bekoe: Go ahead.

Symba: Me, LaRussell, Rexxliferaj, Locksmith and Larry June. 

Bekoe: Results Take Time. It’s out now. You, DJ Drama. 

Symba: Yes, sir. Shoutout Drama, man. Shoutout Lake, man. Shoutout Willie Jones, Seddy Hendricks, Jack Harlow, Uzi Vert, the whole generation now.

Bekoe: What results are you wanting to see being produced from your latest project? What’s some of those results you want to see? 

Symba: The main thing is just like seeing the people’s reaction, seeing where the fans are. What type of people are they? Because that’s what allows me to go back in the studio and keep creating a soundtrack for those people to listen to. I feel like my music is not necessarily… I got records for the club, I got records for the parties and everything, but I feel like I speak for the everyday person that’s getting up, coming to the radio in the morning and putting that work in. Getting up, going to the gym. The person that’s… not confident within their own skin. I might give them a record like “Sacrifices” that makes them feel better about the things that they’re going through, to let them know they’re not the only one going through it. So that’s the main thing I want to see, is just where the fans are and what they liked the most. And what do they like about me? So I can continue to give them that.

Bekoe: Man, I appreciate you stopping by, taking time on tour to come chat with us. You gotta let people know how they can stay in tune — and I heard you talking about you working with No I.D. and y’all got some tracks! When can people possibly expect some things?

Symba: I’m working. I’m working. We on this tour right now, but soon as I get off tour, man, I’m gonna go kick it with my son and then I’m jumping right back in the studio. I’m jumping right back in the lab. No I.D. sent me a beat. I was working on it in New York. I think there’s gonna be something special, but I’m not gonna take too long to keep dropping. I got something planned for the end of the year. And if it don’t make it out by the end of the year, the top of the new year. So we’ll be right back. We ain’t done, man.

Follow Symba on Instagram and Twitter and stream Results Take Time on Spotify below.

Interview, audio production and video editing by Bekoe

Photos and video shot by Rakim Winfert

Introduction, transcription and editing for length and clarity by Morgan Ciocca

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