Rapper CyHi The Prynce hopes the release of his highly anticipated debut LP, No Dope on Sundays, will fuel change and become a beacon of light to those who grew up in inner city neighborhoods, just as he did.
“I want to encourage the youth that’s coming up or street guys because that’s where I’m from,” says the gap-toothed, croaky-voiced emcee born Cydel Young. “All of my friends are still street dudes, and I want to encourage them and let them know that they’re kings. It’s other things we can do with our time, families, friends and our cache.”
Set for release this November, No Dope on Sundays is a soul-stirring concept album loosely based on a random week in the Stone Mountain, Georgia native’s past. The full-length project has so far spawned singles (or videos) for the conscious ‘90s hip-hop flavored “Nu Africa” and exploration of his allegiance to his corner boy roots on “Legend.” His latest release, “Movin’ Around,” is a melodic, trap music inspired cut featuring ScHoolboy Q.
No Dope on Sundays’ subject matter dives and contorts through a haze of parties, club hopping, shootouts, run-ins with law enforcement, drug deals, jail sentencing, unplanned pregnancies and family crises all in a seven-day window. CyHi’s clever lyricism preaches pride, unity, a sense of history and self-awareness. Like the BMI Award winner’s discography of critically acclaimed mixtapes (Royal Flush 1 & 2, Jack of All Trades, Ivy League Club, Ivy League: Kick Back and Black Hystori Project 1 & 2), No Dope on Sundays showcases the emcee’s rapsy delivery, catchy metaphors, complex rhyme schemes and references to Atlanta-area landmarks.
“My album is a timeline of my life when I was younger,” says the exceptional signee to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music imprint. “It’s from Sunday to Sunday; that week that was so up and down, I had to fully sit back and make sense of the situation.”
Having CyHi’s controversial multiple Grammy-winning mentor and label head as executive producer, No Dope on Sundays includes cameos from Travis Scott, Big Sean, Pusha T and Ty Dolla $ign. CyHi’s penmanship previously lent itself to contributing to Ye’s albums My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010), Yeezus (2013), The Life of Pablo (2016) and the 2012 Cruel Summer compilation.
No Dope on Sundays marks the first full-length project of CyHi’s career with a cohesive, overarching story threading the entire track listing together. “I save my best stories for my album,” the relaxed wordsmith confirms in a smoky Southern accent. “My full-length LP is really all of the stories I saved from life. My mixtapes are a bunch of concepts. They’re part of me but they’re not me all the way. Nothing is fabricated because every song is my life.”
Just exiting the stage following a performance at Georgia State University, CyHi doesn’t share too many details regarding his work ethic in the studio. He does offer a glimpse into his otherworldly creative ambiance. “I don’t really show people what’s going on in the studio with me because the shit is too powerful,” he says. “The Lord is definitely in the room, so I keep that sacred.”
CyHi, a self-proclaimed “always lit country nigga,” continues: “We’re in there. It’s not too many people though. It’s brainstorming. It’s fellowshipping…and it’s a lot of weed smoking (chuckles).”
Gearing up to release No Dope on Sundays has prompted CyHi to adopt a few lifestyle changes, too. To ensure he remains lucky enough to not have any offenses or a criminal record, CyHi believes purging his environment has allowed him to focus on his craft. “I cut off a lot of girlfriends and dead weight so I could sit in the house or the studio and open my mind,” he says.
“There aren’t a lot of things to distract me. I went to strip clubs early, like 16 or 17 years old, before I was even supposed to be there. So now that I’m a little bit older, I don’t really give a shit about any of that.”
CyHi, 32, is turning over a new leaf these days. The unapologetic spitter’s first step upon the release of No Dope on Sundays is performing more community outreach for disenfranchised people. “I give a shit about saving souls,” he says. “My whole goal is to keep niggas out of prison. It seems like I’m this super conscious guy because I was raised well. I don’t rap for any other reason at this point.”
Reiterating that some of his close friends and acquaintances are still dedicating their lives to the streets, an optimistic CyHi is confident that being visible in the community will greatly impact the general public. “I want to go to prisons, schools and churches and just speak to the people,” he says.
“When folks see me five to ten years from now, they’ll say I opened a lot of schools, did a lot of philanthropic work, spoke to a lot of people and changed their lives. That’s my biggest goal, and that’s what I want to accomplish at the end of the day.”
CyHi The Prynce’s Five Favorite Albums of All Time: