If you’re a CyHi The Prince fan then you’re aware of what is about to happen in the next month or so. The former G.O.O.D Music rapper is literally a little under 30 days from releasing his debut album, No Dope On Sundays and music listeners from all over have been clamoring over this release for more than a few years.
The Georgia MC gained a wide range of recognition being under the wing of Kanye West and of course being signed to his G.O.O.D. Music record label. His pen has assisted on multiple Ye projects such as Yeezus, Watch The Throne and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy as well as a few randomly dropped singles like “All Day” but now that same pen has been used to create his first full-length LP. Although Kanye still lent a hand in CyHi’s forthcoming album as the executive producer, the new LP will be released under Sony’s independent label, Brooklyn Knights.
Recently, CyHi dropped two amazing records in which one of them is the first single from No Dope on Sundays. One song is called “Nu Africa,” a record extremely powerful and conscious. The second track is titled “Movin’ Around” which features TDE affiliate, ScHoolboy Q. “ScHoolboy Q has been my guy for a minute since Kendrick and I were on the freshman cover,” CyHi said in regards to him and ScHoolboy linking up for the record. “We were playing music for each other and he was always saying that we need to do something.” That something eventually led to something even bigger and shortly after the release of the song, the visual was revealed.
With his highly anticipated debut album on the brink of release, we had the chance to chop it up with CyHi to discuss his brand new project. In addition, he elaborated on working alongside Kanye West and G.O.O.D Music, signing with Sony’s Brooklyn Knights, the features on his upcoming album and the possibilities of a tour. Read the entire interview below. Also, check out the videos for “Movin’ Around” as well as “Nu Africa.”
How did you and Schoolboy manage to link up for “Movin’ Around”?
CyHi: You know it’s crazy, ScHoolboy Q has been my guy for a minute since Kendrick and I were on the freshman cover. They were in my room I think it was Ab-Soul, Kendrick, and ScHoolboy. We were playing music for each other and he was always saying that we need to do something.
I remember back in the day I did something on my mixtape with him, and I kind of wanted to bring back that era when people first started listening to me. Also, I feel like he’s one of the guys that relate to my life as well, so when I sent him the record he was like yo this shit is crazy and there was a lot of things he related to as well. So it was kind of just both of us being in the same lane. It was a record before he was on it and JAY-Z told me this should be my first single. He said you should put this out first just to set the template of what you want to do, who you are and where you been.
The record “Nu Africa” seems to be receiving a lot of praise. He has well over a million views on YouTube and it’s still growing. Can you explain your thought and creative process when you decided to make that powerful record?
CyHi: I just wanted to really give the people especially African Americans, I wanted to let them know their worth and their power. Sometimes we go to the negotiation table with no worth and no power and expect to get certain things and a lot of times they don’t even know the strength that we have. So just being able to give them the idea of this utopia, this perfect world that we own and that we nurtured from the grass up you’ll have more pride about it. It’s like if someone gives you a car and you bought a car, you’re going to take care of the car you bought better than the car that someone bought you.
It’s almost like someone giving you food and giving you this and that verse you going to go build something yourself you’ll have more pride in it. That’s all I was really trying to give the people. It’s just a youthful way of telling people to recognize your worth and you can build whatever world you want to build.
Your debut album is titled No Dope On Sundays. How did you come up with the title and what is the concept behind the album?
CyHi: When I was playing it for people I always used to be like “Man, when I’m done I’m going to tell niggas ‘No Dope On Sundays’ and you’re not going to be able to buy a dime bag in the streets.” I used to always say that, but I never had a title. Then one time Al Branch my manager said yo that should be the name of the album. So I thought about it for a few days and I was like cool, ‘No Dope On Sunday.’
I just always used to say that because I felt like my music was so powerful and had such a message, that one day eventually I would be able to you knows how like JAY-Z tell you “take off the jersey, we wear button ups” but even on a bigger scale. That was just something I felt like my music is that powerful that eventually, I will be able to make those type of claims and a lot of guys going to listen to it. Just shooting for the moon, that’s where I’m at with it.
Kanye West is executive producing your debut album but this isn’t the first time he has executive produced a project for you. What have you learned from him over the years and when was the decision made that he would be executive producing it?
CyHi: You know when I was working with him, I would always have my own songs that I was working on with my free time and I would play it for him and he would give me pointers and different ideas. I would use them and it would come out dope so it just got to that point. He let me put it together but he definitely wanted to be apart of it as far as ideas, sequencing, and whats sounds you should use. I think that was him just being intrigued. I remember the first time I sent him like 10 songs and he went crazy, he was like “yo these are crazy, you gotta do this to this one and this to that one” so I just did that and sent it back. Then we just started linking up and building it ever since. It’s been about 8 months to a year in the making so you guys have a great project, you’re not gonna hear anything like this before or ever again.
With you being around Kanye for some time and you lending a hand on multiple things, what would you say are the top things you learned being around someone like Kanye?
CyHi: He taught me how to communicate with the producer and the engineer. I didn’t know the reverbs, and the 808’s, and the 909’s and the kicks, I didn’t know what none of that shit was. So just him being a producer and me being a rapper I can learn from the greatest of them all and that really helped me. More so having the utmost confidence in yourself. You always strive to get better, people think that because your rich your content and I think that’s the biggest thing I learned from him. Keep striving, make new goals for yourself, make imaginary enemies, make imaginary goals you have to keep shooting at something. You fuck around and think you accomplished everything and now you don’t work hard and now you can’t get that energy back. I think those were the two things being able to communicate with the people in the studio and being driven, his work ethic and driven that’s what I learned from him.
You have a few dope features on the project from Travis Scott to Schoolboy to Ty $ and a few more. Who would you say was the most fun to work with during the process of putting the album together?
CyHi: Well, the most magical one was Trav. The song I got him on, I wanted him to be on but I didn’ t think he would sing it so I was just like let me give him something that was more down his lane. So I played the song and he was bobbing his head and said: “Oh that shit hard” but when I played him the song that I really wanted him on he went crazy “like yo this shit crazy, I gotta sing this shit right now, hook this shit up” woo woo woo. He recorded it himself, he mixed it, everything himself. I was like ah this nigga a genius. I think that was the best, we had a bunch of girls on the bus a bunch of smoke. I think we were in Madison Square Garden when we did it. It was super dope, that moment when he heard it, he went did all that shit himself. He knows how to do his own vocals so he doesn’t need an engineer. That was probably the most special time, with all the people on the tour bus he just stopped it for like thirty minutes to do his verse, it was dope.
Are you aiming for a particular sound on the album?
CyHi: Well this my first album, so I didn’t want too much sonically, I really wanted to get the message across. I think this album is like very spiritual and very street. I don’t know how to really explain it but it makes sense. It’s like it’s so street from Monday through Saturday but Sunday we get to reflect and I kind of give you records to fit that mold. You’re going to have street records, inspirational records, you’re going to have storytelling, it’s very suspenseful, it embodies everything. Your plate is going to have everything, it ain’t just going to be poultry on your plate, you’re going to have your vegetables, your dessert, your appetizer.
You have co-written a numerous amount of tracks for Kanye West. How would you explain the difference between actually creating a song for someone else than creating a song for yourself?
CyHi: Me doing songs for myself and me doing songs with Ye is totally different. It’s like this I would go around him and I would have to sit around him for like two weeks, three weeks to understand what he wants to do musically. His life changes so much and I have to kind of gather information of what he likes and what he doesn’t like and rap from those perspectives.
With my album I already know what I’m going to do, I already know what I’m going to say, it’s my concept, it’s my vibe and my life experiences. I didn’t grow up like him, he’s a more artistic kid, grew up in a certain city where he was the producer. Me I was growing up you know, fist fights, suspended from school, kicked out of alternative school, scared straight, juvenile, that type of shit. It’s a different life but we still have the same black man struggle so I can relate to it. We just get in there chop it up and brainstorm and put it together that way.
What are your projections for this album? What do you want people to take from it?
CyHi: This album right here I wanted it to be therapeutic for people. I’m not so much tripping off the numbers. I do want to be successful because it helps me be able to do other things that I really want to do for the community and also my people. As far as philanthropy work, as far as film and other endeavors I would like to get into.
This is the holy trinity I tell everybody before ‘Cruel Winter.’ It’s the last album that has to go up before you get that. At the end of the day, I think this is something that hip-hop fans should really enjoy and my fans will be excited to hear what an album would sound like from Cyhi if he had the resources and enough time to really put it together. That’s what No Dope is, it’s going to be very motivating for my fans as well to hear my story and also for people to get to know who I am.
A lot of people just know I can rap and go crazy on the freestyles, but people don’t know where is he getting these thoughts, this pain or this cleverness that he adds to it. So I want to give you guys my story and upbringing, I think that’s what this album entails.
What would you say is your favorite track that you have co-written with Kanye?
CyHi: My favorite track would probably have to be, damn there’s so many of them I like. I like some stuff I did on ‘Watch The Throne’ that some people probably don’t even know about. I’d say “Black Excellence” and probably “All Day.” The experience of being in the room when “All Day” was made was crazy. “Black Skinheads” was a record that I really liked because it was something different, just the way he was putting it together I never experienced anything like that. I’ll take everything though because I know how prolific he is and who he really is to the world, so I take everything as a jewel. Seeing Paul Mccartney was pretty cool, being in the studio with a legend like that, you just feel like public school all the teachers can suck my dick, you just feel like man these motherfuckers didn’t think I was going to be shit, I’m in here with Paul Mccartney.
You recently inked a deal with Sony Music’s independent label Brooklyn Knights. What made you decide to sign with them and put your album out through them?
CyHi: Brooklyn Knights to me if you don’t know them are some of the best radio promo guys ever. I always had an issue with good rap not being able to be on the radio, it’s like we always got to be underground or something. I wanted that feel but be with a label that would understand being in that lane. They also used to work with J. Cole and Kendrick too, so it kind of gives me the best of both worlds being able to do radio but also be able to put together an organic body of work that can last for a long time. Those are the reasons why because a lot of time you get on these labels that have a lot of people like where I was on Def Jam where they never got to me. You don’t wanna be nowhere where there’s a lot of people and a lot of people that got to delegate a lot of different things versus I came to this label and I can go straight to the boss man. I don’t have to do go all the phone calls and have to wait for people to get back.
Aside from the new album dropping, what else is next for CyHi as the rest of 2017 plays out? Should we be expecting a tour anytime soon?
CyHi: The album will be coming out in less than a month, tours coming up, some television shows as well and people will definitely be getting a lot more music. I want to make sure I stay consistent. I have a stockpile of music to release. The fans will be getting a lot of music from CyHi within these next 18 months.