DXnext: CyHi Da Prynce
Kanye West's latest G.O.O.D acquisition explains growing up on Pastor Troy and UGK influencing him, and why "So Appalled" feels like the new Dream Team.
Breaking into the music scene as one-fifth of the Sho’Nuff/Def Jam crew Hoodlum in 2006, plans quickly deteriorated when the group was unable to find proper backing from its label. Taking the solo route, Prynce joined forces with Konvict Music through Akon’s brother Bu Thiam, which interestingly led to a joint-venture reunion with Def Jam Records. Knocking out three formidable mixtapes within a year’s time, the Atlanta emcee’s versatile style soon found its way to Kanye West, who immediately added Prynce to his G.O.O.D. Music roster. Now, with a crowd of strong, influential figures behind him, there’s no telling what this Stone Mountain representative can accomplish.
DXnext caught up with CyHi, who discussed his new mixtape Royal Flush , his debut album Hardway Musical, as well as his position within the G.O.O.D. Music crew. Long live the Prynce.
Influences: Jay-Z, UGK, Kanye West.
Allow Me To Introduce Myself: “CyHi Da Prynce is young man from Atlanta, Georgia, Stone Mountain to be exact. I’m a young guy who does music. I’m a prince, a real one. I have my own kingdom, with a lot of beautiful princesses. [Laughs] Other than that I’m just a great artist that loves music, and loves being honest with his music. I really wanna be a role model for young guys who’s fathers were not around.”
Long Story Short: “I used to write poems to girls back in seventh, eighth grade. So I started sending out poems to girls but I had to send them to their classrooms so I’d give it to somebody in their class. One time, one of my partners was trying to pass the note to a girl and the teacher seen it. She took it, and she was trying to be funny so she read the poem in front of the whole class. My partner told me everyone reacted like, ‘Awww.’”
“One of my other dudes, he was from [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]. He always used to be on that New York Rap, you know what I mean? And he was like, ‘Yo son you should rap.’ I’m like, for real? He’s like, ‘Yeah son, you got mad wordplay.’ So he taught me how to write my 16’s and stuff, and eventually groomed me into doing music.”
“One day, it was like at the end of the school year, and we had a rap battle in the middle of the school. So I’m giving it to him, and everybody can’t believe it ‘cause he’s the one who grew up on the best New York rappers. I’m giving it to him, giving it to him, and he comes out and spits a verse by Nas’ ‘I Gave You Power.’ I lost the battle, but three to four years later I heard the same verse on a Nas CD [It Was Written], when I was about 17. I found out that the dude that was teaching me how to rap was always using Nas or Biggie verses. But I never knew [Notorious B.I.G.] verses ‘cause I was from the south. I was used to listening to UGK, Three 6 Mafia, Pastor Troy. I didn’t know anything about Biggie and them [at the time] so what sharpened me up was I was an Atlanta dude rapping against a New York dude that wasn’t even rapping his own raps. So I was really battling Nas and Raekwon, know what I mean? That’s how I got introduced to rapping.”
Residuals Of Hoodlum: “Well, it helped me with my stage performance, it helped me with producing more, you know, learning how to create a song. ‘Cause there was so many different people on one song, you try to be different and not say the same thing. You dealing with similar subject matter, but it had to be said five different ways. Other than that, I was grooming my skills being around other individuals that were rapping and I was learning a lot from the people that was around me as well. By me being solo now it lets me really get out all of my thoughts. Like when you’re in a group, you only get one verse, eight bars. But now that I’m solo I can spit three 16’s.”
Building A Team: “C.K.P. (Crown Kingz Production) is my in-house production team; their actually the guys who started producing a lot of my solo music. They first started producing for the group, but once I broke off the owner of C.K.P. eventually became my manager. The reason why I did that was because they were some of the best producers [out] and best engineers and mixers in Atlanta so I could get the beat, mix and final recording all at the same time. And that’s like killing three birds with one stone so that’s why I set that up.”
On Royal Flush: “You can expect a lot of storytelling, a lot of great music. It’s very musical, ‘cause I always say my music is a play. It’s an audio play, or audio movie that you’ll be listening to. I highlight different life experiences, where I was, where I am now and where I look to be. Not too much fabrication, if any at all. It’s very honest. And you’ll be hearing raw Rap. You’re gonna hear a lot of trickery, a lot of witty wordplay, a lot of punch lines, a lot of different things that’s gonna intrigue the listener.”
Prynce Of The G.O.O.D. Music Kingdom: “I really feel like I’m the enforcer. Not saying it in a tough, arrogant or thuggish way. I just feel like I’m the one who fights the wars for some reason. The king sits up in the palace, and the prince goes to take the army to war. I feel like I’m the one at the forefront, who sets the example. I’m the newest, and one of the youngest, so I wanna bring a new energy and new focus to G.O.O.D. Music as well. The prince is in town, and there’s a lot of people trying to take over our land and our country, and I’m not with it. So when it’s time for me to go I’m gonna go hard.”
Creating Hardway Musical: “I’m more so in Atlanta, so a lot of the music that I get is 808-driven. Their hard, bass-driven songs. Now that I’ve linked up with different people, I get more variety of music. That’s what makes this more special. Then I have Kanye to help me with the direction, I have different friends that can hear it, from Jay-Z to Mos Def to Akon to T-Pain. I can kind of put it together now that everybody’s working toward the same vision.”
“We wanna try and look at the album’s [release] in like the [first quarter] of next year. I got access to a lot more artists. I’ve been working with different producers like Swizz Beatz, Drumma Boy and J.U.S.T.I.C.E League. I’m just gonna keep recording different things in my life and somehow when I do put the album together I’m gonna put it all together and make a movie.”
Piecing Together “So Appalled”: “I got to Hawaii and we was just vibin’ and [Kanye’s] like, I got this record man. Think of something for the hook. I’m like, think of something for the hook? And when I heard it I was like this beat is hard! My thing was, okay, I ain’t just gonna write a hook, I’m gonna write a verse too. So he gets up at like four or five in the morning. I had snuck my verse on there, and I guess once he was playing it he didn’t even know my verse was on there. And it just came on and was playing, and everybody in the studio was like, ‘Ooh, who’s this?!’ That was my way of keeping [my verse] on the song.”
“So me and Pusha T did our verses, then Jay-Z heard it. Jay was like yo this is crazy right here. We was all like, ‘Jay, you gotta be a part of this, this is Roc Nation right here!’ [Laughs] At the end of the day it was just something that came out together just from us being around each other.”
Who Had The Best Verse?: “That was like the Olympic team; Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade and Dwight Howard. Who played the best? It’s kind of hard when all those guys are on the court and averaging triple-doubles. How can you say who’s the best? It’s all about preference. A lot of dudes from the sKanyeouth may love my verse, but then you got dudes from New York who loved Jay’s verse. Just for each verse to be different, that to me was a blessing. And I get so many tweets about it, I can’t believe it. But it’s fun to even be in the conversation.”
Dreams Of A Prynce: “I see myself as a multi-platinum artist. My dream was always to go diamond, and I know it sounds real farfetched, but to me that’s what I’m shooting for. I wanna [sell] ten million in the era of the Internet. You know, I shoot for the moon or fall amongst the stars. I see myself as an influential part of the music industry, as well as the Hip Hop industry. And I wanna be active throughout the community including television, fashion, movies, etc. You’ll be hearing a lot from Prynce.”