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Combining deft lyricism with confident rhymes, Bay Area-bred emcee Symba exudes confidence and heart, striking a balance between Pusha T and Vince Staples. Emerging in the early 2010s with a melodic, mainstream-leaning style, he later switched focus to hardened storytelling and embraced the power of his cadence and flow. After signing with the majors in early 2020, Symba released his full-length Don't Run from R.A.P. Two years later, he teamed up with DJ Drama for the Gangsta Grillz record Results Take Time, and in 2023, he landed a hit with the LaRussell-assisted “Hell of a Feeling.”
The Californian made his debut in 2010 with a glittering pop-rap single, “Sex Me to the Beat,” which he followed with the 2012 party-starting “No Way Around It” and the album II Words. With booming beats, Auto-Tuned vocals, and sample-heavy production reminiscent of early-era Kanye West, Symba soon pivoted to a more serious, underground direction, embracing street tales, topical issues, and socially conscious material like 2018′s single “Kaepernick.” In 2020, he signed with Atlantic and released the menacing “Serve” and the trap-kissed “Birds in the Bando.” His debut effort for the label arrived months later. Don't Run from R.A.P. (“Responsibilities and Principles”) featured guests 2 Chainz (“Big Homie”), Ty Dolla $ign (“Gotta Love It”), and more.
In 2021, Symba teamed with Keedron Bryant and Gary Clark, Jr. for the powerful “I Know I Been Changed.” 2022′s Gangsta Grillz-issued Results Take Time saw him working with DJ Drama on a set that included features from Pusha T, Roddy Ricch, and 2 Chainz. Symba kicked off 2023 with the singles “Top G” and “Hell of a Feeling,” the latter of which featured Bay Area rapper LaRussell. ~ Neil Z. Yeung