A Guide to CyHi the Prynce: Kanye’s Buzz-Heavy Protege
CyHi the Prynce is taking it all in. Fresh off his star-turn on the sneering Kanye West track 'So Appalled,' the raspy-voiced MC from Decatur, Georgia is now being called one of 2011's hip-hop artists to watch. Not familiar? The BoomBox caught up with the brazen talent, who is set to release his upcoming February mixtape 'Allies' featuring fellow new school spitters Yelawolf and J. Cole, to breakdown his rising career.
'Wat Da Dec Been Missin'' (2009)
"This was my first mixtape. It was hosted by Greg Street and I had a Vol. 1 and a Vol. 2. I was really talking about Decatur, Georgia, which we call the Dec. And I was talking about your tape deck and CD deck. It was a triple entendre. It's cool now that I'm kind of popping that people go back and listen to my old music. It's like, 'Yo, he really could rap back then!'"
'The Prynce of Jacks' (2010)
"This was the first one that brought me notoriety because Kanye posted it up on his site. It was crazy because I was actually going to release this mixtape the same day Kanye posted it [laughs]. I didn't really know the magnitude of it until I stepped out my house. In Atlanta everyone knew I could rap. But all the other cities like New York, and in the Midwest, up north and everywhere else, they now know who I am. They think I'm the hottest thing because Kanye said it. But I didn't know he had that much power.
'So Appalled' ('My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,' Kanye West feat. Jay-Z, Pusha T and CyHi the Prynce, 2010)
"People don't know that I actually snuck on this song. We were all in the studio and Kanye said to me, 'If you could just write me a hook on this song that would be cool.' So I start writing the hook and the beat was so dope! I didn't have anything else to do and I couldn't sleep because I was so excited. So I was like, 'Let me just write a verse,' and I recorded it when the engineer was wrapping up. I told him to hide it at the end of the song. Days later, Kanye was playing the album for Beyonce and Def Jam and I guess he forgot to stop the song and my verse just came in and everybody was like, 'Who is this?!!!' Kanye loved it.
I was in Atlanta and Kanye called me and said, 'Congratulations ... you made the album.' The funny thing is when I went back to New York, Kanye played me the finished song. After his verse, Jay-Z comes on and I'm like, 'What did you just do?!!!' And Kanye just says, 'You're welcome.' I later learned that my verse is what attracted Jay to the song. That's crazy."
'Take One for the Team' (G.O.O.D. Music Leak, Kanye West, Keri Hilson, Pusha T, CyHi the Prynce, 2010)
"With Kanye, controversy sells, so I don't know what to do now. I'm just riding the wave. But at the end of the day, it was just a cool song. Kanye and Pusha came home from the club and they were drinking. And you know how you have a girl that you like, but her friend be hating and she's not the most attractive off the bat. So they came in and brought me down and was like, 'Come on CyHi ... write a verse.' And Keri was with it! She's from the south, but she a little wild, too. That was fun."
'Looking for Trouble' (G.O.O.D. Music Leak, Kanye West feat. Pusha T, Big Sean, CyHi the Prynce and J. Cole, 2010)
"On this song I got into the mind state that somebody stole the speakers out of my partner's car and we were walking through the neighborhood for some dudes to just jump on. I was good for a scuffle. I'm cool with Big Sean; we see each other at the same clubs and talk to the same girls [laughs]. And I didn't know J. Cole was going to be on it, but it was a great idea. We got all the young guys and gunners together with Kanye. 'Ye rapped about girls, Pusha rapped about what he does, I rapped about fighting and J. Cole rapped about looking for trouble from the haters. We are telling people, 'Don't think it's sweet over here anymore ... G.O.O.D. Music will get down with me and Pusha T on the team [laughs]. We are a well-rounded label now from street music to hip-hop to crossover pop to R&B."
'Royal Flush' (2010)
"This mixtape came about because people try to classify me as one type of rapper. They think I'm just a lyricist. And I am, but I do like other styles of hip-hop music. I broke it down to my life experiences. The Prynce of Spades section on 'Royal Flush' represents my street experiences, Prynce of Hearts for my experiences with women; Prynce of Clubs for my club music and Prynce of Diamonds is more hip-hop motivational. I can do it all, so I just put it all together and let it flow and have a good feel to it. We put it out right after last year's BET Awards and it shot through the roof."
"I used to visit New York a lot when I was young because my parents are from Albany. I was in Harlem doing a lot of recording and it looked like I was going to be there for Christmas. At the same time, I just felt it would be a great Christmas record. But this is not your regular Christmas song. We are trying to say that every Christmas can be like Christmas in Harlem. That's how we look at it. Harlem has a beautiful Christmas ... the snow and the lights. We were metaphorically saying it should look like Christmas in Harlem all around the world. It just felt right."