It's not that CyHi The Prynce doesn't hear the criticism being whispered -- it's that he doesn't care. The rapper, born Cydel Young, has never paid much attention to the doubt-filled comments regarding his career. His understated presence beneath the G.O.O.D. Music umbrella hasn't affected his relationship with his label head, so he's paying no mind to what's being said in the comments section.
Since his G.O.O.D. signing nearly two years ago, the Georgia native has earned his keep on a couple guest verses under Kanye West's tutelage, including 2010's "So Appalled." That same year (2010), CyHi dropped his first mixtape as a G.O.O.D. Music artist, titled "Royal Flush." In 2011, he released two mixtapes, "Royal Flush 2" and "Jack of All Trades," but rap fans had begun to wonder if he was simply a vanity signing for West as he wasn't being seen and heard on other G.O.O.D collaborations. With the recent release of his latest project, " Ivy League Club," CyHi isn't aiming to impress anyone but simply lay tracks exhibiting his growth and confidence. He continues to work towards that debut studio album, "The Hardway Musical," which he's looking to drop in the beginning of 2013.
On Tuesday night (July 17), Atlanta's hip-hop insiders gathered to hear CyHi's newest mixtape at Istanblue in the Buckhead neighborhood. Maybach Music Group's DJ Scream and new Cash Money signee DJ Greg Street were in attendance. Afterwards, CyHi took a moment to speak to The Juice about what it feels like to be doubted, the importance of Kanye West's input, and his debut album.
Why name your latest "Ivy League Club"?
It's really an extension from my younger days. [Ivy League Club] was my code for the marijuana trade. I was looked at as the weed man earlier in my teens. It was a clever way of me saying that without saying that. I feel like I grew up around a lot of intelligent young men and I thought me and my friends were pretty intelligent to be from where we're from. Some of us got caught up but a lot of us didn't. We're blessed. I feel like that was the most resemblance of myself and my upbringing.
Some have said that although they weren't fans of your music before, they are now, off the strength of this mixtape. How do you feel about that?
I mean, this is what it is: when you're from something real and you have a real background you have to set that real foundation. I like to rap about where I'm at, at that time. When I first started rapping, I didn't have a lot to celebrate. You feel me? We was getting it in, but it really wasn't that good. Now, I've kind of loosened up and celebrate because I've done something positive that's feeding me and that's a good thing.
In a month, you'll have been with G.O.O.D Music for two years. What are your thoughts on your own position within the label?
A lot of people don't know my role. A lot of people don't know that Big Sean was signed five years before he actually broke. But what we do is build on foundation organically because it doesn't matter if [Kanye] is on our song or not, we can still promote our music. I can still put out a mixtape and everybody receives it. That's the foundation I built so... And at the same time I do a lot of creative work that people don't see. I play my position, then when it's time for me to do what I do, then I do.
What do you mean by "creative work"?
It's like if you're all in the room and the beat's playing, you're gonna bounce ideas. As the wise man, Kanye, always says, "You have an idea and I have an idea, we have two ideas. But if we keep our ideas to ourselves then we only have one. It's just sharing ideas. [From] fashion, music to relationships, you know what I mean? We indulge in all that, so it's cool.
So you're getting work in, in between the mixtapes...
Yeah, absolutely. I've been working on the G.O.O.D. Music album. We're working on 'Ye's new album. Working on mine, "The Hardway Musical," for the first quarter.
How much input would you say Kanye has had on your debut album, "The Hardway Musical"?
Kanye has a very intricate part of it. Yes. To observe him is to learn. You can kind of see how he does it and you'd better be taking notes. I gathered a lot of different ideas, different things, and different methods from him to incorporate in my project.
What song off "Ivy League Club" will you be shooting a video for first?
"Slick" is out this week.
What was the craziest thing to happen while recording this mixtape?
I had a girl dance naked to "Ivy League Club," but that's not really crazy to me. It was normal. It was just me being creative. I'm in a good space when I'm writing. I try and be creative. I try and be free. I try to have my friends come through, crack some jokes, and get some ideas out.