Symba Talks Overcoming Tough Times as He Breaks Down Lyrics for ‘Never End Up Broke Pt. 2′ Featuring Pusha T
"Long nights, no lights, dreamin' ’bout a Benz/No rice, just ice, nothin' in the fridge/Sick of makin' friends, all they do is burn a bridge/I’m drownin' in my sins, I never learned how to swim/My life jacket Celine, swim trunks Supreme/Just left the scene in Alexander McQueen/I remember nights I was too broke to think, this shit deep/I lost more money than sleep/I was watchin' corners, I ain’t never mop the floor/Touched a hundred thousand in 20s from doin' chores/Mama was a queenpin, Coretta with cream/She was sellin' dreams to Martin Luther, the fiend/For Christmas, I bought the block choppas and triple beams/Four-wheelers, four-fours and a bunch of bowls/I guess it’s safe to say a nigga finally reached his goals/’Cause all I ever wanted was to never end up broke"
You started the verse with "Long nights, no lights, dreamin' ’bout a Benz." When you were struggling back then, what inspired you to keep pushing?
Benz is just a word of the representation of things I wanted. You want a crib. You wanna get outta your environment. You want the girls. You want the cars. You wanna be able go on vacation. You really want financial freedom. Them long nights you put in, consistently doing somethin', and sometimes when you feelin' like you not getting the results, shit get frustrating and it takes a toll on you. But when you get those small moments of validation, like when you do a show for 30 people and somebody come up to you like, "Man, that verse hit me different" or "That changed my life. I love that song," that lets you know you doing something right, and you keep goin'.
"I remember nights I was too broke to think, this shit deep/ I lost more money than sleep." It’s very interesting, but what did you mean by it?
Most people in the industry, they be like, "I lost a lot of sleep." You actually get rest. You just don’t sleep in the most comfortable environments. You sleep on the plane. You sleep in the studio. You sleep in the office. You sleep in the car on the way to the studio. You get rest here and there, but the amount of money you lose? I put at least $100,000 into myself before anybody even noticed me, wasting money on videos, paying certain Instagram influencers to post my stuff, thinking that it was gon' help it get bigger. And it didn’t do nothing. I lost a lot of money and losing that money, I feel like I lost more money than sleep.
Shortly after that, you said: "I was watchin' corners, I ain’t never mopped a floor/Touch a hundred thousand in 20s from doing chores." Did you ever wish for the alternative where you were doing chores and things were a little bit more normal?
Hell nah. The shit wasn't exciting, bro! I'd rather take a risk! It was working too good. I come from like, a family of hustlers, friends who was hustlers. I used to have homies that'll be like, when I’m 6-7 years old, they'll give me $200 to run to the liquor store for them, and go get a $40 bottle of Hennessy. And I’m pocketing the other $160. As a young kid, you doing that, making $300 a day making little store runs. Dropping bags off here. Going to meet this person over there. I remember one time, my homie was into some crazy shit. He gave me like $2,000 to use my bank account one time and I ain’t have no fuckin' money. I can get that, rather than getting $20 for doing the dishes? Fuck them dishes, I'm outside!
Was holding your block down via your own success a goal of yours from the start?
I said the block ’cause it felt good for the record, but I was really talking ’bout my friends. I never really held a block down. When I first got my deal, one of my closest homies, he was in a tough situation and I gave him $10,000 to do some things he needed to do and he got out of the situation. It's always good to look out, ’cause I remember when I ain’t have nobody to look out for me. I'm saying like, "Bought the block choppas and triple beams," ’cause that's something we all talk about in the ghetto, but it’s really saying I’m holding them down. One of my closest homies who passed away, his mom needed help with the rent the last six months of her life and helping her out.
When did you realize you would never end up broke?
I still don't feel that way. I still don't feel I'm good or I'm content. I think overall what it's saying is I’m never gon' give up. So, by never giving up, I’m gonna always fall into something, whether it be a position. A new job. A new show. A new song. Money here, I'ma lose money before I make money. Whatever it may be, I’m never gon' give up, and by never giving up, you could never end up broke ’cause you constantly after a goal every day.
See Photos of Eminem From XXL's 25th Anniversary Issue Cover Story
Read Symba's interview in the 25th anniversary issue of XXL magazine, on newsstands at the end of September 2022. Check out additional interviews in the magazine, including our cover story with Eminem, Yung Miami, Bobby Shmurda, JID, GloRilla, Yvngxchris, Sleazyworld Go, Styles P, Jim Jones, Reason, singer Jessie Reyez, actor Trevante Rhodes and music executive Katina Bynum. The issue also includes a deep dive into rappers’ longstanding connection to anime, a look into the U.S. court systems battle against rap lyrics, the renewed interest music supervisors have in placing 1990’s hip-hop in today’s lauded TV series and the 254 past covers in XXL history.