CyHi The Prynce was still in the studio on Monday afternoon, just a day before the third installment in his Ivy League mixtape series dropped on DatPiff.
Rockin' a Hermes belt with a Ralph Lauren hat, a familiar smell drifts from the studio where CyHi says he's just “adding little skits and stuff...trying to give it that little extra shine” in his classic Southern style.
The Prynce has put out a few mixtapes, but especially loves his Ivy League series. It's where he gets to tell his best stories. And CyHi has plenty of stories.
Ivy League: Kick Back is a specific story, one that's accompanied by a short-film/musical – as he describes it. The first two videos were released ahead of time – “Favorite Things” and “Far Removed” – which tell tales of CyHi and his crew robbing a house.
“The story is metaphorically a story of my life. It kinda shows my upbringing as far as street life and what I did there. I was a big marijuana guy, you know, that's all we did was smoke. I found a creative way not to say that and say Ivy League, and I feel like it's a cool concept because it gives a lot of the stories and things that I went through and experienced within the streets.”
“Cool” is a word CyHi throws around quite a bit. It's almost in contradiction to “street” or “gangster” but there's no room for labeling or judging in CyHi's realm. Plus, he's got both angles down, and he's pleased that many facets of hip hop are returning to the game, hip hop that's also “cultural and artistic” rather than “swaggy rap.”
“That's why I feel like it's good we have people like Kanye, who changed the culture from that and made it possible for guys like Drake, and Wiz, and me and the cool kids, Kendrick, you know, people who can really bring that hip hop back from an honest place.”
Honesty is what CyHi is all about. He tells a story about he and his friends as teenagers acting like “the realest mobsters alive” in the booth until a OG put him in his place.
“'Everybody pull your gun out,'” CyHi recalls him saying. “So we had like a little neighborhood gun, that was it, it was like stashed in the back, and we're looking around like what is he talking 'bout? He's like, 'I don't wanna hear nobody talkin' about who they gon' shoot if you ain't got a gun on you. Everybody pull your dope out!' Like, he made us go through everything we rapped. 'I don't wanna hear that sh*t if you ain't got it.'”
That, in essence, explains CyHi's mentality in the booth, and, similarly, his attitude on and about the streets. In his experience – which he noted was different that a lot of his friends simply because he had a mother and father present – it was all about knowing limits. He had a mental list of crimes he could go to jail for and crimes he wouldn't. If you didn't have limits or couldn't control them, that's on you, and it's not representative of everyone.
That awareness and his intelligence are elements he feels have been absent in hip hop, too often spent glorifying street-life and things that “really aren't that cool.” You don't have to be the king on street, you can be “cool with your little ounce.”
“My whole thing is that it's just a cool vibe. That's why I call it Ivy League, cause at the same time it's like the highest degree of what we do.”
That's the world CyHi is trying to create, one where “it's cool to be you.” And he's only just getting started. Plans are in the works for an album in 2013 which will allow CyHi to delve even further into some of his issues and stories.
“I go in-depth with a lotta my music, but on my album I'm gonna really be able to touch on some situations, some stories that I've been saving. It's almost like you might not even wanna say this story, but you're just gonna say it just because there's only one chance somebody gets to hear it.”
Until then, CyHi is good with building his fan base organically and taking things to the next level when the time comes. There's no rush. With a bag of the good shi*t, fun beats and a cool vibe, The Prynce can afford to take his time.