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TSS Presents Smoking Sessions With The Strange Fruit Project

There's power in words and even more power in the names that we take on. Taking on the name of the 1939 song performed by Billie Holiday, which focused on black men being lynched throughout the south at a time when people of color had not rights in the United States, is a weighty task unto itself. More black men were lynched in Waco in the early 1900’s than anywhere in the U.S. So it's only right that this triumvarate of MC's with unique abilities and common perspective adapt the moniker The Strange Fruit Project and represent their brand of hip-hop and their region.

And they've lived up to it, recieving critical acclaim and climbing the ranks, raising from The Source's Unsigned Hype, then as Symbolyc Elementz, to their current album The Healing featuring fellow Texan Erykah Badu, producers 9th Wonder and Illmind.

We, specifically Cam, said amongst ourselves that we wanted to get @ these dudes a few months ago. And through the course of events, they seemingly fell into our hands. Lucky enough to get a few minutes with them for a phone convo, The Strange Fruit Project breaks down their place in the current hip-hop landscape, how they got here and where they plan to go.

TSS Presents Smoking Sessions With The Strange Fruit Project

Words By Cameloti Bulgari

TSS: Who do we have right now?

S1: You got S1 [Symbolic One] and Myth.

TSS: Who are we missing?

S1: Myone (pronounced my-own)

TSS: Ya'll in Arizona right now?

S1: Naw, we in Texas

TSS: You finished the West Coast leg of a tour, right?

S1: Correct. Arizona [was] the first leg of the tour out there.

TSS: How was the reception in L.A.?

S1: It was mind-blowing. It was a great experience man--while we're on the road in the middle of our tours--the album released, and the feedback's been amazing. Big up to the people supporting the product.

TSS: You hit up the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival earlier this summer? That was
your first time performing in NY? What was it like rockin a NY audience?

Myth: That experiece was phenomenal. Man. I mean, first of all we were around a bunch of legends. From Big Daddy Kane to Buckshot Shorty. To rock in front of a NY crowd was just crazy. That's the birthplace of hip-hop.

TSS: Musically, what's your inspiration coming into the rap game?

S1: We're all pretty low-key humble guys, we have families and stuff. Me, personally, I would have to say my family in general; and just to be able to inspire and motivate people through our music, that's the diamond. I vibe off to a lot of old 70's and 60's music, some old jazz. Even like some new school stuff. Different genres. I'm kind of
all over the place.

Myth: Pretty much everything, except for country, dude. Specifically, Outkast--definitely an influence on me...Redman. There's so many artists that I listen to from the East Coast, West Coast, South. They all influenced me.

Listen To "Get Live" Featuring Erykah Badu

TSS: What trips me out is that ya'll from Waco. And coming from the East Coast, when I think of Waco, I just think of white people burning.

S1: [Laughs]

TSS: How did ya'll go from Waco, TX to here and now? Is there some kind of rap scene there?

S1: To be honest with you man, we had a dream and an idea, and we pretty much just acted on it. There's really no type of hip-hop scene in Waco, TX. We had a whole crew down there of like 8 to 9 members and within our crew we would just feed off each other. I guess living in Waco, it kinda gave us a good work ethic because we had to overcome a lot of stereotypes. People tend to look at you kind of strange and funny, so all we had was each other to create and build and get to where we are now.

Myth: The thing about Waco is it's a small city. As far as hip-hop, I watched a lot of videos. We had "Rap City", "Yo! MTV Raps" stuff like that, and then the radio. That's where I got most of my hip-hop from. Then we had Geto Boys and UGK, so that's how it all started here; and then we just kind of grew it to our own. The majority of the people here, they listen to what you normally hear in Southern rap, you know, the typical stuff. Then what we do is kind of a little bit like Outkast.

TSS: That's a good comparison. The Healing is your 3rd full-lenght LP. The word "classic" is being attached to this. Any pressure?

S1: Really don't feel any pressure. We just steady workin to try to either boost ourselves or build more of a fanbase or spread the material more to the masses. But really, as far as pressure, man, we just doing us. The only pressure would come from how the people are receiving the product that we're putting out, but so far the feedback's been great. I have to say there's really no pressure.

Myth: Musically, there's no pressure. It's just getting out! Being heard.

TSS: How long did ya'll have to do this before you could eat off of it?

S1: Man. Dude.

Myth: 20 years. Nah. [Laughs]

S1: We been doin this for a while. As far as music, we been doin it for a long time.

Myth: 10-plus years.

S1: We started the Strange Fruit Project back in like 2001.

TSS: How old are ya'll?

S1: 30

Myth: 30

S1: Myone is 25, and Myth and I just turned 30 a couple of weeks ago.

TSS: Word, me too. It's good to see people doing they thang at that age. I notice MTV purchased some of your tracks for shows like "Run's House" and "Yo Momma".

S1: They actually licensed some of our music and also some of my tracks to be played within the broadcast.

TSS: Have you seen it? Or are they holding onto your stuff?

S1: I haven't even been keeping up with it, dude. I mean, I haven't even looked at the show, so I'm not even sure.

TSS: You grindin, doing your thing, it must be hard.

S1: Exactly.

Click The Photo To See Video Footage Of A Performance and Interview

TSS: So everyone's in a good place right now. The money's coming in? No pressure to get paid for your efforts?

S1: Aww man, there's always pressure...[Laughs]

Myth: Yeah. One thing you gotta realize, me and S1 both got families. So, it's a little different for us. We gotta make sure we financially recoupin something...getting something back.

S1: Exactly. I guess as far as that , our main thing right now is to stay busy. You got tours, you can make money off shows, you can make money off, of course, your publishing and everything. But you gotta just try to keep building so when that run out or when you get that, you can have some other stuff you ain't got paid for. I gotta stay ahead.

Myth: We ain't on Puffy level.

S1: Nah, we tryin to get there though.

TSS: Your work is along the lines of Little Brother?

S1: We get that alot. People want to put us into whatever category or compare us to the closest thing. That's a good thing. Little Brother is doing they thang. We're pretty much into the same boat. We all up-and-coming groups trying to make our stamp on this hip-hop movement.

TSS: How did ya'll hook up with 9th Wonder, Illmind and that whole camp?

S1: Basically, I hooked up with Illmind online. He hit us up one day. It was actually before Myspace. He hit me on the email through our website. And he was telling us he loved our material. We built a relationship from that. As far as 9th...Illmind and I had did a project; and Little Brother actually contributed to that project. I built a relationship with them and then got in contact with 9th and it evolved into collaborating also.

TSS: What's it feel like having someone like ?uestlove sign off on ya'll?

Myth: On that. That's beautiful, man. We grew up idolizing cats like The Roots when they was coming out. And for them to give us the stamp of approval, that's cool man, especially coming from where we come from, Waco. That's like real big.

TSS: There's a spiritual element to your music that ya'll intentionally try to infuse with your music?

S1: There's definitely a spiritual element in there. Personally, I'm a Christian so that's gonna reflect within my music. However the listener thinks [about] that, or perceives that, they can take it however they like. Our famlies raised us right and that just shows in the music.

TSS: Alright. How can people get a closer look at ya'll?

S1:, you can also check us out on Ya'll can get on there and hit us up. Send us a comment or an email and we'll try to get back to ya'll.

TSS: Alright be easy.


TSFP Podcast mp3
Special feat. Thesis mp3 (Produced by 9th Wonder)

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