An Exclusive Sit-Down With CyHi the Prynce: The Past & The Present

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CyHi the Prynce Talks The Making Of His Upcoming Album, No Dope On Sundays, & Early Beginnings

Stone Mountain, Georgia emcee-songwriter-producer Cydel ‘CyHi the Prynce’ Young is already a lyrical legend in his own right, despite having never released an official debut album. A short-lived recording contract with Akon’s Konvict Muzik was soon followed by his, still current even amidst the rumors, inking to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music imprint in 2010. After numerous setbacks and delays, CyHi is finally gearing up for one of the most anticipated Hip-Hop records in recent times, No Dope On Sundays. Executive produced by Kanye West, himself, the project boasts high-profile appearances from the likes of heavy hitters, such as Travi$ Scott, Ty Dolla $ign, Estelle, the aforementioned Yeezy – on a pair of scorchers – and more. Get ready for No Dope On Sundays by CyHi the Pryncecoming this Fall!

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Parlé Mag: Let’s hop right into this latest single, “Movin’ Around”, featuring ScHoolboy Q. Tell me about this particular composition. How did it even come to fruition?
CyHi the Prynce: The crazy thing is, while I was starting to do my album, I kinda wanted it to be a song that actually explained my new beginning, you know? It was a real life situation where I had to leave my label and start over. And, you know, they say every master must empty his cup. So, I had to empty my cup and go back to the grassroots of what made me CyHi. With this album, that’s what I wanted to do–go back to the beginning and really give the story from the beginning. So, “Movin’ Around” was a record that I felt like explained where I came from and also where I was going. And when I played it for Jay-Z, he told me that should be the first song I should put out because it kind of sets the tone of what perspective I’m coming from, and he thought that’d be a great idea.

Parlé Mag: “Movin’ Around” comes courtesy of your exceedingly overdue, still eagerly awaited premiere studio collection, No Dope On Sundays. Conceptually, what does that title represent both to and for you?
CyHi the Prynce:  To me, it represents a week of my life that I had as a youngster. I really wanted to kinda start my debut album from there. So, where I’m at now in life, I can give that side of me several years later. I don’t want to rap about where I am at now, now. So I kinda wanna take you to what made me who I am today. No Dope On Sundays is kinda like the concepts I had growing up on the streets, running around with my friends. You know, I had a religious side to me and not just so street where I got myself into too much trouble. I always had this inner parallel or this voice on my shoulder, you know, good and bad on both shoulders. So, it’s kinda like those decision making, critical moments when you’re in the streets or you’re in the city breaking into houses and you’re robbing people and shooting, selling drugs, and it’s like how are you conscious of what you’re doing. So, I think No Dope On Sundays was like a week of my life where I had a lot of those conversations with myself. From when my friend got shot at a party on Saturday night, and how that affected us, all way through the week till next Sunday where I ultimately took him to the church and got him prayed for. To this day, he says it’s one of the realest things a friend has ever done for him. That’s the story of how I got No Dope On Sundays. It’s kinda like how we take Sunday to reset and assess how the week went and also try to make it better for the next week.

Parlé Mag: In having said that, what all specific details: i.e. favorite tracks, producer credits, cameo appearances, etcetera, can you reveal and/or divulge about upcoming set at this point in time?
CyHi the Prynce:  Well, my favorite song–my personal favorite, I have two. I have this song called “Pain” that I did with my producer, but also a record called “Eighties Baby,”, that’s featuring BJ The Chicago Kid, and it’s just great record that I feel like is really good. And they are just great concepts and, you know, I hope people will hear this album and see the perspective I’m ultimately coming from–different situations, different moods, different vibes and emotions. I think it’ll really bring out all those emotions out of you on one album. You’re gonna be angry, you’re gonna be happy, you’re gonna be sad, you’re gonna be inspired. So, I think this album, and I know this album, will really affect a lot of lives.

Parlé Mag: How does No Dope On Sundays either differ and/or compare to previously released materials?
CyHi the Prynce: Well, my mixtapes and stuff like that, those are more-so my vibes. Those concepts were more-so my outside life, not really who I am inside. So, when you listen to Royal Flush, those are parts of me that, you know, like I might like this girl, but I might not get in depth with it. And, on this album, I’m more in depth with it. Black Hystori Project was a mind state that I usually have. So, all these things, in a nutshell, is what made this album. I got a little bit of Black Hystori Project, got a little bit of Royal Flush, I got a little bit of my freestyles. So, all those things kinda embody this album and this musical that I’m putting together.

Parlé Mag: For those who don’t already know, what particular string of events actually led to the G.O.O.D. Music union?
CyHi the Prynce: Well, you know, how that happened was also a blessing. I was in a rough time in my career in Hip-Hop where I was just moving around independently in the streets, but I ran into a friend called Yelawolf, and we started vibin’, and we did a few songs together. I didn’t know how big they were going to be; I just laid some verses. We shot a video, and we put it out. The crazy thing about it is, it got to moving around, and it got into the hands of Kanye or the face of Kanye, and he watched it. He heard my verse and was just so blown away that he went and looked up more songs of mine and was even more blown away. So, he just invited me down to Hawaii and ever since then we kinda been friends. That’s where my beginning was, where I hit the map. When people really knew me was when “So Appalled” came out, and that was around the same time he discovered me online. So, let it be known, I kinda started that. I started artists getting signed by big artists from off line; I was the first one. Then Yelawolf went to Eminem and Meek Mill went to Ross. I sparked that idea. ‘Ye started it, but I feel like I was an intricate part in a lot of young artists’ careers as well.

Parlé Mag: How much actual input/involvement does Kanye have when it comes to the overall hands on experience with you and your music? And has he giving you any good advice being in the game for so long?
CyHi the Prynce: I mean, yeah, definitely. He actually showed me how to put this album together – not verbatim – but he definitely has been like a big mentor to me when it comes to putting songs together. Usually, from my mixtape days, my label would never pay for any of my songs, so I had to get two tracks to kinda make my album, but, now, I made this album from scratch. So, it’s nothing where I have to ultimately pick and choose from my e-mail. I can make this from what vibe I’m on and build it from the ground up, as opposed to being sent music from other producers that I’d have no creative input in.

CyHI The Prynce
Parlé Mag:
 Longevity, what do you attribute yours, too, at least thus far anyway?
CyHi the Prynce: I think what makes me dope is I can still (do) what nobody can do. I feel like I haven’t lost a step when it comes to rapping. People see that, and, also, I’ve been a part of some big records. Where you may not think I’ve influenced the culture, but I’ve influenced the culture a lot more than you think. You know what I’m saying? I’ve been a part of a lot of albums that I didn’t take credit for and a lot that I did. At the end of the day, I’m always sharpening my tools and making sure my raps are prolific, and I think that’s what’s kept me afloat during the times where I was reconstructing my situation. Also, being a part of the greatest entertainer alive, Kanye West. That’ll keep you here for a minute.

Parlé Mag: What do you want people to get from your music?
CyHi the Prynce: Ultimately, I want to start from the ground grassroots. I don’t wanna be some super political guy with my music, but I also wanna affect the less fortunate and mainly the streets because, you know, that’s our biggest obstacle–making out the neighborhoods. Before we can even know what a Basquiat is or have a nice car or know what to do with finances, the first goal is not to lose your life in your neighborhood. Before you can even get a passport, you’ve already been taken away. My job is to make sure guys don’t go to prison, don’t ruin their lives before their lives even start. So, me having the storytelling ability that I have and the issues and circumstances that I’ve been through, I feel like my music can ultimately touch people in a certain way where it touches the situation they’re going through, currently, versus your first album where you rap about Bentleys and bust down Rollies. Because, then, what are you going to have on your fifth album? I want to start from the beginning. You might hear about my Rarri and exotic Rolexes, but you won’t hear that until ten years from now because I still gotta give you my story from eighteen to now. So, I think that will ultimately help cultivate the youth and, especially, the African American community.

Parlé Mag: On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip-Hop?
CyHi the Prynce:  Uh, I mean, it depends on what you call Hip-Hop. I mean, I don’t look at it as all of it Hip-Hop. I look at some of it as Rap. I see some of it as punk rap, as Rap Rock; it varies, but I think I am. Those who sell the records, supposed to sell the records. Those who sell the singles, supposed to sell the singles. Those who sell the mixtapes and streaming, supposed to sell the streaming. So, it’s just different avenues of eating. One thing I do wish is that radio would balance things out a little more, adding your Chance The Rappers, and your J. Coles, and your Kendricks, and Joey Bada$$es. Add that more and not just the new kids on the block that have the one song everyone likes to jump around to at the concerts. I think it just needs to be an even balance because, at the end of the day, it’s music, and we respect the effort in music and not just the promotion of it. Now, it’s about who can be seen the most versus who has the best music. We do need the party music, as well. So, just a dope balance. That’s how I feel about the current state of Hip-Hop and Rap.

Parlé Mag: Do you have any other outside/additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?
CyHi the Prynce: Oh, definitely! Right now, I’m writing scripts. I do a lot of writing. So, you know, I do a lot of songwriting and also write scripts. And I’m also into philanthropy as well; I wanna do things for the community. I want to get into the tech world. I feel like I got a lot of ideas, a lot of inventions. And my last thing is getting into the education system for the youth and bringing different ways and different ideas to be able to teach and speak to the youth, as well. So, those are my four things I wanna get into–film, philanthropy, the school system, and tech.

Parlé Mag: To date, what has been your greatest career achievement(s)?
CyHi the Prynce: Doing a song with Jay-Z and Kanye and Pusha T, “So Appalled.” I think that meant the most to me because I used to always want to be a part of Roc-A-Fella when I was growing up. I liked Rap to be a part of Roc-A-Fella. So, the fact that two guys–who are still carrying some of the name, I think that was dope for me being able to share the platform with those guys, that lineage.

Parlé Mag: Lastly, what’s next for you and any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?
CyHi the Prynce: What’s next for me is my album, No Dope On Sundays, and, also, the No Dope On Sundays Tour. To my listeners, I appreciate everyone’s support throughout the years. So, if you wanna hear real Rap, real Hip-Hop, I feel like this is the album you need to get to cap off the summer and take into the winter in a nice way. I appreciate everyone that’s supported me and No Dope On Sunday will be here soon.

Photo credit: Cam Kirk

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