Before his opening set on Lil Wayne’s “Kloser 2 U Tour,” three-time Grammy-nominated rapper/songwriter/producer and G.O.O.D. Music artist CyHi The Prynce sat down with TRUE for an exclusive interview.
His highly anticipated debut album No Dope On Sundays features appearances from Big Sean, Pusha T, Schoolboy Q, Travis Scott, Kanye West, and more.
CyHi has had an extensive career, first starting off under Konvict Muzik label to being signed to Kanye’s G.O.O.D Music imprint and racking up writing credits on Yeezy’s infamous Yeezus album. His talents definitely don’t go unnoticed and has received a BMI Award for co-writing “FourFiveSeconds” by Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney.
The Atlanta native is now finishing up Wayne’s “Kloser 2 U Tour” and prepping for his album release in a few months.
Check out our interview below…
True: Tell me about your debut project No Dope On Sundays. What’s the concept behind that title?
CyHi: Well, my project No Dope On Sundays is something I got from my management. I used to always tell them when people hear my songs or when the streets hear my songs they gone consider not selling dope on Sundays. It was gone be that impactful. I used to think it was something I wanted Jay-Z to do. I always thought he had the power to do it cause he can make you do anything, but he never did it so I took it upon myself to do it. So that’s where No Dope On Sundays really came from and like I said it’s a trivial album where it comes from Sunday to Sunday in a week, seven days and it just gives a dope story of a young man’s life in the inner city through that week so.
True: Whats one of your favorite tracks on your project?
CyHi: My favorite track(s) on No Dope On Sundays, ummm wow. I have a song called “80’s Baby” that I like a lot. I got a song with Trav [Travis Scott] I like a lot that’s called “I’m Fine” so it’s so many different dope ones that I can’t even…it’s just like my kids, I love them all.
True: How does 2010 Royal Flush CyHI differ from 2017 No Dope On Sundays CyHi?
CyHi: Conceptually, it’s a lot more musical. It’s a lot more prolific as far as the execution of it. Back then I was just giving my real emotions. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was just like rapping, but now this is deliberate. This is like premeditated murder. You know what I’m sayin’? Versus just showing up on the scene. Naw this shit is like deliberate. That’s the difference. I have a purpose. I know what I’m doing with this one.
True: You grew up in Atlanta. How has your hometown shaped the artist you are today?
CyHi: Well I think Atlanta shaped a lot about me because I just grew up around black excellence. The time I was born in Atlanta was when African Americans that had mainly families like you had to have a mother and father really moved to Atlanta and that’s where they was like flourishing with jobs and different things. I got a big ass house when we was young and I thought we was rich and we weren’t really rich cause I couldn’t get no Jordans or nothing but we stayed in this big house. I couldn’t figure it out til the point I was like “okay, we not rich. We just live in a nice area.” So where it was like that whole Laface. Like Lefteye used to be in my neighborhood. Pac used to be in my neighborhood. So you know you got Andre 3000 staying around the corner. Jagged Edge got a studio up the street. So these things was like, we was seeing it. These are the things you can touch. We can see these people. I think that’s what kind of generated our city to be what it is now and it kind of like affected me and what it gave me and the culture it gave me. Like the LaFace. People don’t know Babyface and LaFace came out of Atlanta. So it’s just like all those different – Dungeon Family- and all that so. I think the influence is very broad in all spectrums of music.
True: You grew up in a very strict religious household. How were you able to accommodate your love for hip hop with your upbringing?
CyHi: Cause I was like rebellious. Growing up, it sounds weird but God was really working with me. He was really moving me through situations. It was like I could stop a gang fight with like a 150 dudes outside. I’ve done it. Kids would like run to me at school like, “aww man the bloods about to fight Steve and nem.” I get outside like “hold on. Hold on. What’s going on bruh? We ain’t finna do this here.” And it just stopped and I was just like damn I got a knack for this or a knack for change. I wasn’t a good reader growing up. That was my only deficiencyI felt like. So rap just kind of taught me how to like read in so many words. After that I came prolific with my vernacular and I just became spectacular.
True: You began working with Jazze Pha and Akon and not too long after you began working with Kanye. How did that working relationship come about?
CyHi: Kanye saved my life. You know cause I’m from Atlanta. The dudes I was messing with in Atlanta wanted me to be on some trap shit. That was my life but I was more of a fan of music than a fan of my environment. It was hard to balance. When Ye took a liking to me, he gave me a new life because now I didn’t have to live in this box of trap rap from Atlanta. I could actually like rap what I want to rap and I had the fan base or the platform to reach all type of walks of life and not just one area. I think that was very instrumental when I met Ye. Just to be able to introduce me to a different world of people versus the world that was in Atlanta so I appreciate him for that.
True: How would you describe your creative process?
CyHi: A lot of people ask me “when you’re in your creative process why you don’t video [record] it?” I tell people, “I don’t know how you would react if you seen Moses walk through the door. I don’t know how you would react if you seen Matthew bring his book and he read through it.” Y’all be thinking I be crazy. My creative process is a lot of brilliant people in the room that we just brainstorm and we have conversations. It’s more conversations than it’s rap. Even working with Kanye I’m very involved in that and he does a lot of brainstorming. You know how guys go in the studio and they hear a beat and just get to rapping? No. We might go to the studio the whole day and talk about what we gone rap about and I’ll just do the record tomorrow. I want to make sure we have everything we want to say down packed. It’s more like surgery. It’s not more like a physical. If that means anything. [Laughs].
True: What are your thoughts on today’s hip-hop? There are a lot of different styles. Like you said earlier you are a fan of Kodak Black to Kendrick Lamar.
CyHi: I have to be the one to spearhead this. I’m from a city where we do a lot of things independently. A lot of labels don’t understand what independent means. They don’t know how many lives are lost independently. They don’t know how many jail sentences are independent. So a lot of times labels look for the dope boy rapper or the dude who got the money that can do it himself. You never look for the guy who’s talented who can do it just throughout his talents. I think that is the problem with the music industry is that labels don’t wanna do the work no more but they need to go back to it AND it should be a balance between hip-hop and rap. It’s a difference to me. It needs to be a balance of J Cole and Migos. It needs to be a balance of Kendrick and Young Thug. No disrespect but it just needs to be equal. That’s where I think the better music will come out. I wanna hear Chance [the rapper] on the radio more than what we do. I wanna hear the other songs on his album like how you play four songs from Migos album I want to hear you play four songs from Chance’s album. No matter what the VPM is so that’s what I’m looking for in hip-hop.
True: What qualities would you say constitutes a hip hop artist?
CyHi: It’s very well thought out. It’s truthful. 100 percent truthful. It touches different emotions. It’s not just one emotion or one tempo. So a hip-hop artist is like-how can I explain this. A rapper is very spontaneous. A hip-hop artist is more thought out. I can tell just even by listening to records which one was made in a week in a half to two weeks and which one was made in thirty minutes off of a blunt and your favorite drink and a couple pills. I know which one was made that way. It’s the same thing but it’s like rock and punk rock. It’s a difference.
True: So if you weren’t doing music today what do you think you would be doing?
CyHi: I’m a positive guy but I’m from the trap so if it wasn’t for rap I’d be trappin’. Unfortunately. That’s just terrible. I ain’t had a job since I was like 17.
True: You never played football or basketball?
CyHi: Yeah I blew that early. After like 10th grade that was over with for me. I was all county and shit but once I got in the street and realized I could make some money I was like “man I gotta make some money.” BUT I don’t know what other blessings God would have given me to do outside of music or I might have been in music. I might have been in A&R so I don’t really know but when I left, the last thing I was doing before rapping was trappin’ so thank you hip-hop. I appreciate you. [Laughs].
True: So what do you do on your spare time?
CyHi: I eat, fuck. I practice wing chun. I try to go laser tagging. I watch ESPN. I go visit my mother. I date beautiful ladies.
CyHi: What’s next for me is my album No Dope On Sundays. It’s going to come out roughly in a couple of months. I’m just trying to get these last little clearances and I look forward to that. I’ll be going back on tour. I don’t know which one I am going to do yet. I can’t really give you a lot of information but I do know I am going back on tour after this one. Just stay tuned. CyHI The Prynce.
Photo Credit: Cam Kirk
Interviewed By: DMH