FROM CYHI THE PRYNCE'S PERSPECTIVE:
I used to be the type to write lyrics before I had the beat ‘cause I never had any beats. But now that I’m blessed to have some beats, I write them to the music.
On the beat & song concept of "Start A War":
The beat brought it [the concept] out in me. Once I heard the track, you know. I’ve been through that situation a few times, so it kinda just whatever the emotion of the track is where I go. I like the emotion of the track to fit the actual song.
It’s actually easier for me to do [personal tracks] than weed, and money and everything else [Laughs]. Actually all that is harder for me to write.
I mean because I’m more of a distinctive person. I’ve been through some real problems and real situations that I wouldn’t wish on my enemies. So I like to enlighten them because, you know, when I was doing what I was doing, you be cool with the money and you got the fly cars and stuff, but there’s some causalities to that, and I like to sometimes give ‘em both sides, the pros and the cons of it.
It’s a real experience for me, but it’s like I’ve been through it so many times, so I kinda added all my situations in one. I done had over ten friends who’ve been shot. So it’s like that situation going over and over again in your head. So I just put it together in one story that happened to me when I was younger.
On growing up in Georgia:
You know what’s crazy, in Georgia at 18 we we’re allowed to have rifles. You couldn’t have a handgun, but you could have a rifle. At 18 we have shotguns, everybody has a shotgun, everybody has a pistol too. But you know, growing up in Georgia, it’s crazy for me, ‘cause I’m not from the streets...All my family is from the streets it's just my mother and father, they both got married and once they both had two jobs it was good enough for us to move out the hood. So now we’re not in the hood anymore, it was like a black community, but it was in a good-looking neighborhood. But you know, just being us, we get to breaking into houses, and getting guns and stealing cars, and all that just goes and goes and goes. Even though I’m from a good neighborhood—we ain’t have to do it, but everybody wants the new Jays. You gotta go get the new Jordan money ‘cause your mother definitely don’t got it.
On his story-telling style of rap:
‘Cause when I’m story-telling I can actually tell the truth. I don’t like to over-exaggerate. I don’t like to just be flamboyant on the track. ‘Cause when I’m really getting that type of money I wanna rap about it and be fresh. I don’t wanna just rap about the Lamborghini and everything on my first album ‘cause then what else you gon’ give us? That was your pinnacle. Plus I’m a fan of like, I tell people this all the time, you got to the club you hear UGK, 8Ball, you know what I’m sayin, those type of artists, but I studied like the Nas', the Jay-Zs, the Eminems, the Big Ls. I really studied those artists, and implicated that in my style.
Yeah,absolutely. I’m glad you noticed that. I be in there sayin’ that, people be lookin’ at me like I’m crazy, but I be like, "trust me, man, there’s somebody in the world that understands this." So if you hear it, it’s like a real movie, I want to let you know I’m not that far removed from that life. I’m not someone who grew up on that lifestyle like, "oh I’m still in it." If you still in the streets and you're doing music you’re stupid to me. When I heard it I was like, "okay, let’s give them "Far Removed" so they understand where I’m from and what I’ve been through, then give them a situation in the deepest form, and then give them "Round Da Corner" to sum it up, to say this is what happens when you hang around and do these type of things." Absolutely.
On his favorite verse or lines from “Start A War”:
Ah, there’s so many in there. There’s so many real lines. "I feel like Tre in the back of the Impala"—a lot of people don’t know from "Boyz In The Hood," Tre was the dude where his dad would tell him this ain’t right cuz they killed his best friend, you know what I’m sayin. He didn’t know how to handle it, he was tryna handle it like he thought he should and how everyone encouraged him too, but sometimes you need that rude-awakening moment in your life. I like um, "we was like brothers, used to hang tight/we used to wear the same clothes, rode the same bike," it don’t get no realer..’we even hit the same girl/we was the same height.’ It’s crazy how many of friends have been shot, now that I’m talking to you, doing an interview about it, it’s like ridiculous. Get shot in a car accident, everybody got in one of those.
FROM ARKATECH BEATZ' (MIKE D & JUG) PERSPECTIVE:
On beat inspiration and creation:
Mike D: Honestly I have to give credit to my wife. One day she was playing this Adele record in the house and I said, "what's that?" She said, "it's Adele 'Turning Tables.'" I said, "word? Aight." I wrote it down and knew it was something I wanted to work on. Like a week later I started putting it together, gathering additional sounds and getting a good blueprint. After I did my part I sent it to Jug and he tweaked it, sequenced it and added some additional things and that's pretty much it.
On the sample:
Jug: The sample is what we love best, dark, brooding piano loop with beautiful vocals as an added plus. Samples like these producers search high and low for.
Mike D: Amen!
On if the beat was made specifically for CyHi:
Mike D: No, we usually just make beats in general and stash them. Later we find out who's working and go through what we have and send what we feel will work for them. CyHi picked that one and it wasn't a surprise to us, CyHi is very good at being descriptive in his records and really knows how to paint a picture. If you watched some of his videos from his past mixtapes you can see that's a craft he has mastered. So when he picked that beat we knew he was going to create something memorable.
Jug: Being able to tell a story on record these days is a lost art and CyHi definitely knows how to get it done vividly. We felt it would be a perfect combo and we were right!
On equipment used to create the beat and go-to machines:
Mike D: That beat was made entirely with Native Instruments Maschine
Jug: After the beat was made in Maschine we run it through Pro Tools for some additional mixing, equalization etc..
Mike D: We use Maschine, Pro Tools, Fruity Loops, Logic whatever we feel like messing with that day.
Jug: Yeah, We still have hardware we mess with like the MPC 2000XL, The Phantom and a few other things.
On getting the beat to CyHi:
Mike D: We spoke a few times via email and Twitter about it. So it really wasn't about if it was going to happen, it was more about when it will it happen.
I just reached out to him letting him know we had some things for him. He was wrapping up so he immediately wanted us to send them.
Giving you the direct perspective from CyHi The Prynce and Arkatech Beatz, "In The Cut" is an HNHH series that highlights a specific cut by speaking to both the artist and producer about the song's creation.
In The Cut is a new series we're starting on HNHH, and the premise is pretty straightforward: we choose one track that we are really feeling and talk to the artist and the producer of that specific cut to find out how it all came together, from both sides.
The first edition features a CyHi The Prynce song, "Start A War," off his recent mixtape, Ivy League: Kick Back. The Arkatech Beatz-produced track was the perfect joint to kick off the series, with CyHi's lyrical ability and story-telling on full display, backed by a strong sampled-instrumental from Arkatech Beatz.
CyHi helps put the song into context by explaining how life was growing up in Georgia, he details why he likes to tell stories when he raps, shares his favorites lines from the song and more. Arkatech Beatz reveal how they found the sample on "Start A War," and how the instrumental came together before finally sending it off to the rapper.
Check out the full piece below. If there are any songs you'd like to see featured on In The Cut, let us know in the comments.