Behold, a Prynce! CyHi da Prynce Interview
Tuesday, November 2, 2010 by PointOfLu | 4 Comments; | Category: Entertainment, Interview
The land of hip hop is full of paupers who proclaim to be Kings and Queens, yet have done almost nothing to acquire such terms of royalty. In the midst of a battle for the seizure of diamonds and hearts- the self proclaimed King heads back to the dungeon to serve another term, and here appears a Prynce.
The following is his tale.
Why The Prynce and not The King?
A lot of artists don’t give themselves a chance to grow. Personally, I don’t want to have a Lamborghini on my first album. I don’t want to have millions of dollars, and claim that I have all of this money when I first come out, because that’s supposed to happen at the pinnacle of my career- not the start of it. I know what it is to be a real king. No disrespect to anybody, but how can you be a king if you were never a prince? Every prince has to fight a battle or war before they become king. These self proclaimed kings haven’t even been to war yet. I want to let young men know that before you can become a king, you need to go through the proper process of becoming a king. I don’t want to proclaim myself as king until I am the king, you feel me? I feel like you won’t ever know how to lead if you’ve never taken the chance to follow.
Were you really born on a plane?
No, I wasn’t really born on a plane! The funny thing is- my mother always wanted to be a stewardess, and she didn’t know she was pregnant with me for about six months…so it could have happened!
After getting kicked out of high school, did you have any aspirations to return? Or do you feel as if getting kicked out of school was your gateway to success?
After getting kicked out of high school, I didn’t want to go to an alternative school so I moved to Texas for a year and a half. I wanted to play football when I got down there, but my grades were too bad and I didn’t want to be held back and look like a sped (laughs). I was really smart, but my attitude was just not geared toward school.
So because you couldn’t tackle people, did you believe that your next option was to hit the lines?
Shit, I hit the streets first! I knew I could do music, but I just didn’t know how acceptable I would really be or if I would ever meet the people that I needed to meet in order to really make this dream an actual career. Once I realized that I could actually meet the people that I needed to meet, I took it seriously.
A lot of people do music, but they don’t believe that they’re actually going to get anywhere with it. When did you begin to realize that this could be more than just a hobby, and you could be successful doing it?
I used to freestyle over the phone and people like Eric Sermon, Redman and Method Man, would try to sign me. My first real situation came from Ludacris, and that’s when I realized that people actually did like what I was doing. I was always a workaholic, but I didn’t know how far I could go…until Cash Money and Interscope started to express their interest in me in 2005. That’s when I started to take it more seriously and treat music like a business. But before then, it was just a hobby. In high school, that’s how I got my girlfriends. I’d write them poetry. Well, that wasn’t the only thing I’d do. I’d bring a girl some roses and sing to her in front of the class. I didn’t really care what people thought of me!
When you would write these poems and give girls roses and stuff, did it actually work out in your favor?
Yes! That’s the crazy thing. My mother had a miscarriage with my brother, so I grew up saying that God gave me my brother’s talent- in addition to mine. I always knew that I was going to be successful one day, because I was good at everything I did. I used to win all of the games at the school’s field days at the end of the year, I used to play varsity football and basketball, I ran track, I used to be the main character in the school plays, I won talent shows- rapping and dancing, I played in the band, I sang in the choir at church; I considered myself a prince of all trades. I always knew I was going to do something, I just didn’t know what it would be. The last thing I thought I would be was a rapper…
What made you pursue a career in hip hop rather than any other genres? You say you used to sing in the choir. Why didn’t you take up R&B?
I was a fan of music and entertaining, but singing wasn’t my favorite thing to do. I just loved to perform. I sang in the choir because my mother always made me go to church, so I figured that I might as well do something while I was there. I only took chorus because it was an easy class and there were a lot of girls in there! Anything that had to do with entertaining was something that I wanted to do.
What’s your opinion of the current state of hip hop?
I like it! I just don’t like how over saturated it is. The internet makes it very over saturated. It used to be an accomplishment to be known by people. Just because you sold all the dope in your city doesn’t mean you can rap. It just means that you sold all the dope on your side of town! A lot of these rappers out here don’t have anything musical in their background. Their mothers can’t say that they sung in the choir, or played the drums when they were little. They can’t say that they always wanted a saxophone, or nothing! They just woke up one day and decided to start rapping! Thank God that Def Jam got Kanye. It’s hard to get artists like that, like Jay-Z who put out 10 albums. Rappers these days don’t even want to put out albums. They just want to do shows! To me, that’s not even music anymore. You just want to show up at somebody’s club, scream on the mic and put on!
Picture hip hop as a potluck. What dish are you bringing?
I would say that I’d bring gumbo, or something with a lot of different things in it. What makes me who I am are the different experiences that I’ve had in life- which were not all in the streets. I used to be a land surveyor, I was athletic, I had to grow up in the church, I used to go around and cut grass in the neighborhood, I worked at Foot Locker, and I even used to work at Burger King. I can attract the skateboarder. I can attract the street dude. I can attract the well cut, blue collar business man. I’m versatile. I can bring something that everybody can enjoy. I’m bringing gumbo to hip hop.
You cut your hair. Was there a specific reason, or did you just want a different look?
I just really wanted a different look, but since I cut my hair my life has turned around tremendously. I had my hair since I was in the 8th grade. I used to let it grow, then cut it, and then let it grow again. At the end of the day, I figured that it was time for me to mature. I just turned 25 this year. There were a lot of things that I’d been holding on to from the past, and I just wanted to cut it away and leave it in the past. People don’t understand how deep I was in the streets before I left the streets. I’m a proud individual who will tell you that I left the streets! I rap now! Period. Now don’t think that the dude next to me isn’t as involved in the streets as I was, or maybe even more. I’m just not in the streets anymore because I believe that the streets should always be your last resort- not your first one. I tell people all the time that if the streets were full of gangsters and killers, there wouldn’t be any problems because they already know the rules. Back when Al Capone and them were doing their things, there were no problems! But then here come the guys who glorify those types of dudes, and think it’s cool. They get in it and end up getting caught up in real shit and then return to their not-so-gangster ways when the police show up and something really serious happens! I always felt like it was cool to be you, and I feel the need to express that. I used to get picked on for not going on certain licks. They used to call me scary, or a pussy- until they returned and one of my partners had a bullet wound in his leg and we’re rushing him to the hospital! I’ve experienced these things first hand, so I feel like I can reach the people that Talib, Mos Def and Common can’t. What’s the point of preaching to the church? Most of the saints are in the church! Let’s go preach to the sinners! It’s like giving money to the rich. Why? They don’t need money! In my neighborhood there are a lot of problems because of grief, and one of the main causes of this grief is women! Women cause most of the fights were I’m from. I always tell people, I believe that one day there is going to be a young man who’s upset about a girl, so he goes to his boys to tell them that they need to bang on some dudes because they threw their set down- but really, the guy in the other gang is just talking to his girl. So of course everybody hops in the car, getting ready to go kill the other guy- not knowing that it’s over a girl, and then my song will come on the radio. A song where I’m like, “Fuck that bitch! She aint shit!” I believe that they may hear the song, and be like “Man…it’s not even worth it. Fuck that bitch. She aint shit. Let’s go back to the crib.” Music affects people’s actions, whether you believe it or not. If they hear a song like, “Boaw! Shoot a nigga in the face! Ayyyeeeee! Kill everybody in the neighborhood!”- what do you think they’ll do? Go kill everybody in the neighborhood, right?
What possessed you to read The Secret?
My group situation [Hoodlum] fell through and I was stuck in the middle of nowhere. My partners were still in the streets, so I was thinking, ‘damn…I have to go back to doing this?’ It was never cool to me from the jump. I was just riding just to ride and make me a couple of dollars, you know what I mean? So one day this bad chick, who wanted to be an artist also, brought the movie over and we watched it. The movie was just basically stating that the universe can detect the vibes that you give off, and coaxing me to think positive no matter what and stay on things every day that I wake up. After watching this, I decided that I would just stay in the house for a month and a half and just make music. Everybody wanted to give me a solo deal- but I was always with a group, so I had no songs alone. I always had to tell them which verse I was whenever I played a song for them. I couldn’t keep doing that, so for a month and a half I just stayed in the house, continued to think positive, and just recorded more and more songs. I told myself that in 2 months, I was going to have a solo deal. I stuck to my plan, and had a solo deal in a month and a half. I’m a testimony to that movie. If you put your mind to it and stay positive, you can have anything and everything that you want. That’s how I’ve been living ever since.
Oprah made it clear that she’d be retiring soon. You say, “Rap without me is like TV without Oprah…” What exactly did you mean by that?
Oprah is a very influential person on TV. Now that she’s about to retire, I don’t believe that things will be the same! But speaking of Oprah, I never understood how she never liked the way rappers spoke of women, yet she never invited the right rapper to her show when she demanded an answer about it. She always invited those commercialized rappers who don’t really want to get into it. She’d never invite Kanye and ask him, “Why do you call women bitches and hoes?” She’d rather bring somebody who wasn’t going to challenge her as much. If Oprah were to invite me to her show, she’d finally understand why we call bitches…bitches, and hoes…hoes. If you see a gang of boys on the corner with red rags hanging out of their pockets, what are you going to call them?
Exactly! You aren’t going to call them a nice group of young men! You’re going to call them gang bangers. If you see them with drugs, they’re drug dealers! Okay, so if you see a prostitute- she’s a whore, right? It’s not that complicated. I have girls who pick up my phone and say, “He’s with his bitch, but I’m his main bitch! What’s up?” They call themselves my bitch without me even calling them my bitch! Oprah wouldn’t understand, because she doesn’t understand the inner city. I have stripper bitches that come over together and be like, “This my bitch right here.” So I’m like, “Okay! That’s my bitch too, then!” (Laughs)
You released an EP called The Royal Flush. Explain to the fans your concept of this project.
The Royal Flush is basically me just breaking myself down into four suits. The prince of spades symbolizes all of my street music and the different things that I’ve gone through in that environment. The prince of hearts is for the females, giving them the softer side of me. I want them to understand that’ I’d love to have a woman! She just has to be the right one, and we’d have to have an honest relationship. The prince of clubs is self explanatory- that’s all club music. The prince of diamonds is more motivational hip hop, music that’s inspiring and powerful. That’s the Royal Flush all together. I broke it up into different suits to represent the different feelings I had at those times. If I’m angry, that’s prince of spades. If I want to kick it with a chick, that’s prince of hearts. If I want to go to the club, that’s prince of clubs. If I want to keep it real, that’s prince of diamonds. I picked the Jacks out of a deck of cards and filled them in with Princes, so now it’s Ace, King, Queen, and Prince- instead of Jack. My first two mixtapes were called, ‘What da Dec Been Missing.’ The “Dec” really stood for Decatur, but then I figured that it could represent a CD deck. Finally, I made the “Dec” represent a deck of cards. Growing up, I always wondered why there was never a prince in a deck of cards! So I started to say, that’s what the deck has been missing. A prince. My third tape was called the ‘Prynce of Jacks’. That was symbolizing me taking the Jack out of the deck and replacing it with a prince. Now you have ‘The Royal Flush’.
What artists do you aspire to work with in the future?
I won’t tell you who I’ve already been working with! That’s a surprise. I can tell you who I haven’t, but would like to work with, though. I wouldn’t mind working with Drake. I wouldn’t mind working with Lil Wayne. Eminem would be cool. I’d love to work with Alicia Keys. I’ve always wanted to do a song with Beyonce, because I felt like no rapper could work with her as good as I could…but then Kanye did it. I’ve always wanted to do a song with Earth, Wind and Fire. Gladys Knight. Anita Baker. I’m not in a rush to work with too many rappers, because a rapper can always conflict your message to the listener. I’m okay with rubbing shoulders with who I can rub shoulders with, but I’m in no rush to find people to work with. Of course I’d love to work with Kanye, but I’ve already done that so it’s not much of a mission anymore. Oh yeah, God. I’d like to do a song with God. If I can’t do one with him, then I’m cool on everybody else.
I’m going to say a few phrases, and I want you to tell me the FIRST thing that pops into your head the second after I say it.
The Power Remix.
I was actually there throughout the whole thing. To watch them put it together was surreal. I was sitting in there thinking, ‘this is how it really works!’ Kanye’s really a genius. I take up for him when he gets a lot of criticism from people, because I believe that if he didn’t have the alter ego side of him, he wouldn’t give you the music that he gives you. You have to take the good with the bad. It’s like Chris Johnson- the quarterback for the Titans. He has Tourette Syndrome. Are you going to say that he can’t play for my team because he has a disorder? No! That’s the reason he runs so fast- because his muscles flinch. So it’s like…take the bad with the good. Kanye is incredible. He’s like a super hero…like Batman, Superman or something.
A brother, an uncle, a father…everything. A mentor. A consultant. A legend.
Zooooonnnnneeee six! Where I was born. Where I lived my whole life. My family, my friends. My experiences, just everything. My blood, sweat and tears are in zone six. It’s where I first got robbed, where I had my first fist fight, where I got my first piece of pussy, first everything. Zone Six.
My favorite player is Mookie Blaylock.
The greatest learning experience that I had throughout my whole life. I learned a lot about being a man, being a friend, and being in the streets. It was a very trivial experience. We learned a lot about the music industry as well. It was a very good learning process for me.
That was my partner, man! He used to bring the girls over to my house, and you know…we’d knock them down (laughs). He stayed in the same neighborhood as me, and we always used to have the same girls. That’s how we connected.
Kush, Dro or Purp?
Keisha, Kush. I’d take the kush over everything. That really got me a lot of notoriety throughout the hood. Everybody knew I had the good numbers, and I was plugged like the internet!
Not real. I mean, I’m not in it so I don’t know anything about it…and I haven’t seen anybody that does, or that is in it. People say it’s real, but I believe in the Lord, I believe in Christ, and that’s all I believe in.
Intelligent, sharp, innovative young men!
How was meeting Kanye West for the first time?
Man, that was such a humbling experience and a blessing. To hear him quote my lyrics was just amazing. Let’s get back to this Illuminati theory real fast, because he really can’t explain it. He’s not in the position to. He’s so misunderstood, and people fear what they don’t understand. If you haven’t been around the world and experienced different cultures, seen different art, different fashion shows, met different people and experienced different religions, then you wouldn’t know what the Power [music] video really means. You wouldn’t understand the artistic things that he may do or say. You wouldn’t know where his opinions come from, because you’re not in the same room where you have on a tuxedo and bow tie, eating caviar and couscous. If you haven’t experienced what he’s experienced, then you wouldn’t know what he knows. Some people think he’s weird. Some people think he’s an asshole. Some people need to open their eyes, because he’s none of the above. He’s a regular person. People say that he sacrificed his mother, and Dame Dash sacrificed Aaliyah. Let me ask you something- have you ever lost somebody in your family?
I have. My step father.
Okay, cool! That’s Illuminati!
It is! It is! I am Illuminati, actually. You caught me!
(Laughs) People just aren’t saying that because you’re not famous. People don’t understand. I was in Hawaii, and my sister passed while we were in Hawaii. But nobody knew that because I wasn’t famous, therefore they wouldn’t say that I’m in the Illuminati. Imagine if I was famous, and my sister passed. Guess what they’d probably say.
You’re in the Illuminati.
Exactly! In my religion, Christianity, anything that you worship outside of God or Jesus Christ is a false idol- which is a sin! However, people [that consider themselves Christians] worship musical artists! People worshiped Michael Jackson! Michael Jackson was just as popular as Jesus Christ, and even more popular in some parts of the world! In some places, they don’t even know of a Jesus! Some places practice Buddism, others practice Shapashukashe. Do you even know what Shapashukashe is? I don’t either. I’m not saying that the Illuminati is nonexistent, or that there aren’t things that people do know outside of what we know. That’s always!
What are your thoughts on a G.O.O.D. Music tour?
Oh, man. That’s going to be crazy. Me, John Legend, Mr. Hudson, Big Sean, Pusha T, Consequence and the list goes on. People that are affiliated like Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Raekwon, Alicia Keys, Swizz Beats, Kobe Bryant…You’ll be hearing a lot of different collaborations. The tour is coming, the magazines, the G.O.O.D. Fridays…you’re going to hear a lot from G.O.O.D. music. It’s going to be epic.
Is Georgia still sweet?
I will never leave here ever again, because I can’t stand it anyplace else! I mean, I like other places, but Georgia is my home. It’s the best place that you’ll ever be. It’s romantic, hospitable; when I go to New York, I can’t ever catch a cab! I try to get at a girl on the street and she’s walking too fast, and doesn’t want to speak to me! The city of God is not in LA to me. It’s really the city of lost angels, and can be the worst place to be at times. You have to be on a list to get in the club, and all kinds of other nonsense. I just love Atlanta because we treat everybody with hospitality.
You’re the Prince. Who would you like to crown as your princess?
I wouldn’t mind Nicki Minaj. She’s beautiful. Megan Good…she’s probably already taken, though. Other than that, I’d like whoever is humble and can work with me. I don’t care who she is! Just come. Wherever you are.
Who do you consider to be a current mid-grade rapper?
Man! I can’t go there, but I’ll say this- some people like McDonald’s. Some people are vegetarians. Some people enjoy regular food. Shit, I still eat McDonald’s and Wendy’s. People digest whatever they want to put in their system. Sometimes it’s cool to just be free and have fun. Everybody looks at me like it has to be a competition. No, we’re just having fun! You’ll always have one hit wonders (starts singing Baby Got Back). That’s a one hit wonder, but it still gets played and people still want to dance to it. It’s quality or quantity. Which one do you want? I could sell 5 pounds of Kush, or I can sell 20 pounds of mid. It’s still going to end up being the same money! It just depends on what you want to sell!
If you could form a supreme team of yourself and four other artists, who would you want the four artists to be?
It would be me, Yelawolf, Big K.R.I.T, Pill, and Donnis.
Tell me what happened on Rainbow Drive.
(Pauses) That…was basically an exchange of product that didn’t go too well. A nice little war…of many battles that took place. Things…flew across our heads and different parts of our body, and holes were left in different vehicles, but luckily we made it out of there alive. There were a few more similar situations, but that was the most memorable. That was the incident that forced me to decide to do something else with my life and leave the streets.
Would you rather be the first, or the best?
I’d rather be the first. I’d rather be Jackie Robinson than to be Alex Rodriguez, because there will always be somebody that’s better than the best. In basketball, we had Wilt Chamberlain, then Larry Bird, then Magic Johnson, then Jordan came and took it from Magic, then Kobe took it from Jordan, and now Lebron is trying to take it from Kobe! There will always be something better than the best. We still talk about Babe Ruth! People will always pay homage to the first. There will always be somebody better than the best, but nobody will ever forget the first person to do anything. The originator of something is always special. What goes up must come down, but will you be remembered on your way down? On your way down, somebody might pull you back up because they’ll recognize that you were the originator, and they wouldn’t even be where they are if it weren’t for you. Jackie Robinson didn’t make any money while he was playing, but I bet you he died filthy rich! There were kings and queens of different countries sending Martin Luther King Jr. crowns, but he couldn’t even get them insured because they were worth so much. He would have to fly to the country to get them himself. The first is always something special.
Is there anything else that you’d like to tell your fans?
I’d like to give them thanks, thanks, thanks, and more thanks! If they keep supporting me, I’ll continue to give them my heart and my mind. That’s it!
Follow him on Twitter @CyHiDaPrynce
Follow me on Twitter @PointOfLu