A couple weeks ago, CyHi the Prynce briefly turned the hip-hop Internet into a circus with the release of his new song “Elephant in the Room,” where at a quick listen he seems to be taking shots at his label boss Kanye West and labelmates Pusha T, Big Sean, and Teyana Taylor. Upon further review it appears the G.O.O.D. Music rapper was playing ringmaster the whole time, putting together a track that was part creative genius, part drama-based buzz builder, the latter of which he says was unintentional.
Either way, the “Like It or Not” rapper felt the need to address the song’s content and his current situation and did so during a press conference he called “CyHi Speaks,” which took place at the Artist Factory in northwest Atlanta. The Stone Mountain MC entered the presser dressed in all black and adorned with an Asian conical hat, looking part Catholic preacher, part kung fu master, flanked by five identically dressed cronies. Then, we got some answers.
Yes, his debut album finally has the greenlight from Yeezus. He is 80 percent complete with the project, he says. No, he was not dissing West or any of his G.O.O.D. Music la familia as he confirmed in previous tweets. He’s just that good, he says. Plus not only did West give him the beat, he helped him come up with the concept. Yes, he has parted ways with Def Jam. He recently called up the label and asked for his release, he says.
He’s also cultivating his own label, Ivy State. And says from now on he will be dropping music more frequently leading up to his debut. Even with most important queries touched on, we still had some questions. After the presser, we chopped it up with the heir to the throne one-on-one.
I’m sure the time right after “Elephant in the Room” was released was hectic for you with people calling and texting like WTF, or did most people get it?
Yeah, it was going crazy. I was like, OK, this is getting bigger than I thought. When I sat back and listened to it afterwards, it sounded so real to me. I was like, I see what scared everybody. It sounded like I wanted it to sound. So I just thought I did a great job.
What were some of those calls and texts from people after you dropped it saying?
They were just concerned. A lot of people were reading the headline before they actually listened to the song. They were just calling me all crazy. [I’m] like, ‘Did you even hear the record?’ [They like], ‘Nah, I just heard you snapped.’ Listen to the record, man.
You addressed the song on Twitter briefly before this. What made you say, you know what, I need to speak up?
People were taking away from the genius of it. I’m like, I spent a long time on this record. This ain’t a diss record. I could have just pulled up a beat and started freestyling if it was a diss record. I’m just trying to really make great music. I just wanted to make sure the art of it didn’t get looked over, over a bunch of beef and fake headlines.
On your last two projects, Black Hystori Project and BHP2:NCAA, you have had a clearly pro-black theme. What made you want to put out projects that had that message?
It’s just a part of me. It’s how I be thinking. Back then ’Ye was into “New Slaves” and “Black Skinhead.” That’s the mind frame I was in at the same time. I just wanted to elaborate on my background and something that interest me. Poker is something that interests me, so when I named my mixtape Royal Flush, people didn’t know that I like to play poker. Black history is something that interests me. It’s something I don’t want people to forget about. Hopefully I will be named amongst those people one day, so that’s why I embodied that theme and that theory.
I’ve also seen you speaking on some social issues via social media. Do you ever feel like you will come across as preachy?
No, it ain’t even preachy. Niggas don’t understand it’s just real. I ain’t finna [act like] I haven’t got down in the streets. I’m just really giving you some gangsta shit. This is really staying out of prison. The object of the game is not to get caught. Y’all getting caught at a hell of a high rate. I see you got the busting your pistols part down, but I don’t think you really have the being a fugitive part down. I feel like I want to help. How to live and survive as a young African-American, period.
The last two projects have also had a lot of dope but not as well known producers and feature artists. Did you make it a point to bring on as many creative minds as possible?
My producers are more in-house. It kind of cultivated itself. Because I want to start working on my sound and my movement. If I’m the biggest artist in the world, cool. But if I have my crowd and my fans and my movement with me I’m cool.
Is that something you learned from ’Ye?
Yeah, I found out how to make a record from scratch. Everything else I had was two tracks. Like microwaveable meals. Like something I could just stir fry and throw on the stove. And just serve it to a bitch like, “Hey, baby, I cooked for you.” Nah, I want to know how to go to the grocery store, how to get these steaks, how to skin these potatoes, how to clean these greens. And that’s how you make the real music that’s timeless. Once I learned how to do that with ’Ye, I learned to take it from there.
Kanye West’s a great mentor. He taught me so much musically and how to move through the industry.
What is your relationship with ’Ye like?
Great. He’s a great mentor. He taught me so much musically and how to move through the industry. That’s why it’s part of his idea, with the record. Me going independent I thought that was beneficial to both of us. He always been in my corner. It’s always the same thing. I help him where he needs me to help. I get his help when I need his help on my songs. It’s like brothers.
Have you had him listen to the album so far?
Yeah, last time he was here. Funny thing is, I let him Andre 3000, Big Boi, 2 Chainz, and a few other guys that were in the studio listen to my new music and they liked it. That was a dope listening session.
How long have you been working on this album and what has the process of putting it together been like?
It’s everything I wanted to this point. That’s why I’m eager to put it out because I feel like it’s time. I want to get to the other parts in my life and others things in my life that I feel like the fans and other people can learn from.
You been putting in work for a while, but this is your first official project. What do you hope to get across with the LP that you haven’t on the previous mixtape?
When I used to listen to ’Pac it was therapeutic to me. When I listened to Biggie I had more fun and it made me think more. I kind of want to combine the two. I want people to understand I’m going to have this album that is going to be fun. It’s going to have metaphors. It’s going to have first person, second person, and third person stories and point of views. But at the same time, it’s also going to have lessons. It’s going to have the “Brenda’s Got a Baby.” It’s also going to have “Wonder Why They Call You Bitch.” I want them to understand the pros and cons of growing up as a young black man in the inner city.
What have you learned from this whole process? Obviously it’s been a lengthy one.
I learned a lot about myself. I had to go back and think of different stories and situations I’ve been in growing up to really get the picture of a young black man that kind of grew up like all of us. Sometimes people don’t speak on certain issues that we go through coming up because we feel like it’s lame or you gone look like a soft nigga. Me, I don’t really give shit. I was sent here from heaven and I’ve been kicked out of better places. So, I just like to put out the real music and the real ideas and the real situations in my music and hopefully it touch somebody and help them in their life.
After each release you have been putting out, you have been posting “Mission Complete” on IG, so I’m assuming there is a master plan. Is the master plan the album or something more?
There’s more, but that’s our first plan. We are working toward our first goal. And after we accomplish our first championship, we going for back-to-back. After that we are going for the three-peat. After that we just gone try to outdo the Spurs, the Lakers, and the Celtics altogether. It’s time for it, like PJ Bankroll say.