The 1995 Source Awards was littered with ill sentiment and tense acceptance speeches. Although Death Row sent the most lethal subliminal shot, almost leading to very real bullets, Andre 3000 of the then fresh faced Atlanta-based duo, Outkast, delivered the night’s most prophet statement:
“The South’s got something to say.”
At the very time of this declaration, CyHi The Prynce was a budding adolescent in Atlanta. Here he was exploring the forbidden secular genre that was Hip-Hop and the omnipotent power that was the catalyst of the award show’s tension. This discovery led him to hone his skills as an artist eventually earning him a divine placement on Kanye West’s iconic G.O.O.D. Music record label.
Even though CyHi has acquired writing credits for several legendary songs as well as producing critically acclaimed mixtapes, as one of G.O.O.D. Music’s first signees, his debut studio album has been long overdue.Because of this, it was exciting for fans to hear that after clearing up the numerous label confusions which have blocked the previous release dates, CyHi The Prynce is set to finally drop an actual album later this year.
In an interview with RESPECT.’s Country Grammar Series, CyHi spoke about his storied musical tenure and the release of his upcoming album, No Dope on Sundays.
RESPECT.: “It’s well known that you grew up in a strict Christian household that didn’t allow you to listen to Hip-Hop. Coming from that, how did you get your first taste of Rap?”
CyHi: “I always loved music, because I always did different types of music besides Hip-Hop. But what got me interested in Rap, was the fact that I use to write poems to work on my diction because I couldn’t read that well. But then a guy from Philly moved to my school in Atlanta, you know they’re super rappers up North, he introduced me to some artists from up there. They were wordplay driven and used metaphors and things like that. It intrigued me. But what really got me into it was, like I was saying, a lot of up North guys were moving down to my school and there was this guy from New York who was battle rapping and getting so popular. He was untouchable. He was like Goliath. So my friends had got me, David, to go home and write some of the best raps I could think of at that time. I came back to school like two weeks later and destroyed him. That’s when I knew that Rap was for me.”
RESPECT.: “Being one of the core members of G.O.O.D. Music, how is it working so closely with Kanye and in an environment like that?”
CyHi: “It’s great. I’m able to share ideas and see how they put things together with some of the greats. I get to see how we’re similar and different. It’s been great working with them, especially being part of so many legendary projects and studio sessions. Like, I’ve seen every superstar you can imagine in the studio, outside of Michael Jackson or Prince. But other than that it’s a great experience and you learn a lot of things. Things you’ll see when it’s time for my album to drop and experience that growth.”
RESPECT.: “So with your album coming out soon, No Dope on Sundays, and the anticipation leading up to it is there a scheduled release?”
CyHi: “There’s a ‘release month’ which is coming up. So it should be out within a month. I haven’t finalized it, I got like two more signatures, but other than those two more signatures you’ll have it in less than two months. I guarantee it.”
RESPECT.: “Does this release take a lot of pressure off of you as an artist or add to it? What’s your mental state going into the release of this highly anticipated album?”
CyHi: “You know me, I’m just ready to put my score down on paper. Being signed to Def Jam and being in a messy situation with them, you know, I used to put out mixtapes and they would have 3 to 4 million digital downloads, but I never did it professionally where a label could really see the numbers. There’s not accounted sales or streams. But, now I can put my numbers on the paper so everyone can see my worth. But, I mean, there’s really no pressure because I am the best Rapper. When you really look at it from an off the mic freestyle to a radio standpoint to an artist being featured on a song and sticking to the subject matter of the song, I am the best. So now it’s just about being able to put down my score.”
RESPECT.: “What can listeners expect from your album?”
CyHi: “This isn’t something off the wall by someone who hasn’t experienced anything. I didn’t have to make this hieroglyphic ass project and concept. When you hear it you’re going to be like: ‘Oh this is a motion picture, and he just took the audio from it and made an album.’ So, that’s what I think No Dope on Sundays will illustrate. All the powers I have acquired through my journey in music projected on the highest level.”
RESPECT.: “So, what do you want this album to do for your career being as this would be your first album, but you’ve been solidified as an acclaimed artist?”
CyHi: “I don’t look for it to solidify myself in the eyes of my fans. I want to change lives. I want to go through a lot of stories that you guys have never heard. It’s funny because what you will hear on this album is from ages 18-21. You won’t hear about the life I’m living now until ten years from now. I never got to tell y’all my story, I only got to give y’all dope mixtapes or songs. You never got my story and I think my story can change lives. But also what I mean by ‘putting my score down’ or ‘numbers on the board,’ is acquiring funding to change the things I want to change within our communities. I need funding to do the philanthropy work I want to do. So when I ‘put the numbers on the board,’ and people see how many people I can affect that just brings more resources to my access to impact the things I want to impact. So, on both sides, I need both to do well.”
RESPECT.: “One of your more popular recent releases is the song ‘Nu Africa.’ It seems as though that song is coming from the standpoint of Black ownership. Is that something your philanthropy will focus on?”
CyHi: “Yes that too, but really being able to have that influence within the school systems and discuss with the ‘higher ups’ about how we can change the community. And also be a person who can galvanize the community and bring them to your door step as well. I’m not into the cliché giving out turkeys on Thanksgiving and Christmas, that whack to me. I want to do stuff that will affect the neighborhood, like make the Dope Boy’s pay for the parks in the hood. Or put a carnival together for the kids and have them all come out. Make them partner with Kroger and have a food drive during the carnival. And I want to do that on like June 18th, or some random day. So these are the things I’m interested in doing. But ultimately it starts with the music. It starts with that message and then it will branch off from there. That’s why I need everyone who’s been supporting me to support me and kind of help me. I’m not this guy that’s going to take all the money I’m blessed with and keep it. I want to give it away…. I want my legacy to be built on how much I can give away to the community, not only through monetary means but spiritually as well.”(press photo)
The career of CyHi The Prynce can be likened to the biblical story of Job. CyHi’s skills and aid in the creation of multiple masterpieces have placed him a sphere of “blamelessness,” allowing him to prolong his career and avoid the temporary victory that is fame. But despite this steadfastness, like his biblical counterpart, CyHi’s faith in this musical journey has been tested numerous times. The shelving of albums and label tensions have led to a delay in the popular recognition that CyHi deserves. Yet, even in the face of this adversity, CyHi has managed to stay true to his intended purpose. And because of his patience, this M.C. will undoubtedly be rewarded.
The release of No Dope on Sundays will give the world of Rap a tangible product of CyHi’s talent. It will create accessibility to his support system, reaping him benefits that are two times the recognition he is used to. Through this album, CyHi will be able to solidify his legacy by generating a platform in which he can contribute to communal uplift. No Dope on Sundays will also further solidifying the fact that despite the region’s somewhat loathed melodic direction, The South still has something to say.
Listen to CyHi The Prynce latest single ‘Movin’ Around’ ft. ScHoolboy Q: