When CyHi The Prynce snuck his verse onto a rough cut of Kanye West’s track “So Appalled” back in 2010, he proved to music icons like Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Kanye himself that he is a top tier lyricist. Since then, he has released a bundle of mixtapes written for Kanye and has been nominated for five Grammys, but he still doesn’t have a full-length commercial release.
After years of issues with Def Jam, CyHi left the label while keeping his ties to Kanye’s G.O.O.D Music imprint. When I sat down with him after his set at the Orpheum, he told me his debut album is finally set to release in August this year.
Titled No Dope On Sundays, his upcoming commercial debut is set to be a conceptual journey through an extremely difficult week in his younger years.
“It’s about 50% trap, 30% hip-hop and about 20% inspirational,” CyHi said. “It’s really a week of my life that I went through when I was younger that a lot of things transpired. Just to make it to Sunday was a real blessing.”
CyHi told me the album is set to have features from a slew of G.O.O.D Music artists including Big Sean and Kanye, in addition to outside help from artists like ScHoolboy Q. CyHi said the features take on the perspectives of childhood friends who played important roles in the week that began with his friend being shot at a party.
“It’s very conceptually driven,” CyHi said. “That’s the biggest thing. With the concepts and different things you’re gonna hear from this, you’re gonna be like, ‘Wow, I’ve never heard nobody rap about that.’ The reason that we party on the weekends is because we’re glad that we made it through another week. That’s the concept of the album.”
With a resume that boasts collaborations with hip-hop superstars and multiple nominations for songwriting, CyHi’s writing is sure to be excellent. CyHi said Kanye has been a huge help with the developmental stages of the record just as CyHi has been with Kanye records in the past.
His typical approach to songwriting relies on his ability to see things from the perspective of the artist he’s collaborating with. Some people may think that writing for someone automatically means taking over and enforcing their own vision, but in actuality, CyHi sees himself as a sort of translator for ideas. He compares the process to a boxer and their trainer. Imagine the artist as a boxer and CyHi as the trainer in the corner giving them direction.
“That’s my biggest thing,” CyHi said. “Just helping people to get their perspective across. It’s not me just writing every lyric for them. It’s more like, what do you want to say? How do you want to convey this to the fans? I’m just here to help you get that point across.”
CyHi’s expertise with words comes from a long history of writing to beat the top lyricists in the world. He told the story of how a friend taught him to turn his poems into bars which made him obsessed with writing better lyrics. He was beating people in rap battles left and right.
That is, until the friend who taught him how to rap used Nas lyrics no one else knew to take him down. CyHi wouldn’t find out that the lyrics belonged to the legendary lyricist for another three years—the whole time trying to come up with rhymes to top the ones that beat him in eighth grade.
“In my mind I knew, for the past three years since I was 12 I was battling the lyricist of the year because the dude who taught me how to rap would only rap me like Big L raps,” CyHi said. “He would only rap me Nas and Jay Z raps. That’s why I’m a little ahead of my time. Tryna keep up with Nas.”
If the content of his new album is as unique as CyHi claims, then the combination of new topics and lyricism could spark serious conversations about him as an outstanding artist.
Following the release of No Dope On Sundays in early August, he’ll be directing his attention toward the highly anticipated G.O.O.D Music collaboration album Cruel Winter, which he says will be coming out this winter.
Here’s to hoping we get a single from the multi-talented writer in the near future.