CyHi the Prynce takes us all to school by giving us a lesson in Black history and his life with his brand new "Black History Project" mixtape.
When we last heard from CyHi the Prynce, he was cruising around college campuses with his Ivy League: Kick Back mixtape early last year. Now, ready to show us what he’s learned, he takes us back to school with Hystori: Black History Project. His most socially conscious body of work yet, CyHi gives us a history lesson throughout the project.
BHP opens up with an elementary school teacher asking a little boy named Chance to present his Black History Month project to the class. Chance states that his project is on Cydel Young, otherwise known as CyHi the Prynce. This theme is carried throughout the skits on the mixtape, similar to Lauryn Hill’s classroom conversation about love on her classic debut album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
CyHi starts off ambitiously, comparing himself to Huey P. Newton, Nelson Mandela and Napoleon within the first three songs, and his arguments are compelling. Opening up with the hard-hitting “Huey,” CyHi likens himself to Nas with a Pac flow and then backs up his point. He makes anyone who believes there aren’t anymore true lyricists coming out of Atlanta to think again. “Mandela” is an African-tinged song that finds CyHi taking on the spirit of the legendary freedom fighter. On the chorus-less “Napoleon,” CyHi does what any short dude with a complex would do and gets aggressive with his lyrics:
“Revenge will get ya even but what are your odds/ Of getting away with it or getting stuck with a charge/ Flowing so ethical plus I’m cold and poetical/ It’s my time according to this gold Oyster Perpetual/ Ghetto activist, I’m not a Devil’s advocate/ As humble as a dove but I run with some savages/ Catch my goons laying on a nigga, mattresses/ You ain’t from the streets if you thought that was some faggot shit”
On the rest of BHP, he shows us why he’s one of the best rappers in the game, without an album out. In “Basquiat,” CyHi paints the perfect lyrical picture over the Soho’s “Hot Music (Jazz Mix)” sampled beat. He inspires in “Be Great” and makes some thought-provoking observations in “Is It Me” featuring Tate Dumonde and Crystal Renee. The Georgia rapper doesn’t shy away from becoming socially conscious and drops some gems on how crack-cocaine destroyed Black communities in “Bury White:”
“Ronald Reagan introduced us to that perfect lady/ If you cook it right, it’s just like you cooking rice/ Now your pockets looking right then you bought your first Mercedes/ Now people getting addicted, mamas having early babies/ The streets is getting crazy so you bought your first .380/And that’s when niggas started dying every night/ So go and sell some weed cuz nigga this shit can carry life/ I’m here to bury white”
Using his government name, his royal highness gives us a bit of a history lesson on his own life in “Cydel Young”:
“Came a long way from hamburgers and apple pies/ I was so broke sometimes I couldn’t ask for fries/ But I knew that God had a plan for me/ All the problems in my life made a man of me/ Took three bags to my folks in Scottdale/ Came back with like twenty grand on me/ Call me what you want just don’t put your hands on me”
Towards the end of BHP, CyHi plays to the fairer sex and isn’t shy to show his softer side. CyHi gets sensual in “Guitar Melody” while rapping to his own private dancer. In the Keni Burke’s “Rising to the Top” sampled “Black Pride,” he celebrates couples that stick together through the storms with the help of Miloh Smith and Kissielee. An ode to the type of strong, Black love Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta had, CyHi taps into his romantic side with the R&B tinged “Coretta” and raps about spending the rest of his life with his soul mate:
“I just wanna see you in Celine/ Yea, I’m a Prynce but I see you as a queen/ Pick a team, it’s like I‘m D Wade and you LeBron/ I’m your partner, I just wanna see you with a ring/ I see you in my dreams/ Either you a stranger or my wife, shit, I don’t see you in between/ Cause to call yourself a girlfriend is such an injustice/ That’s just another name for a girl you hit the club with”
Working closely with his boss over at G.O.O.D. Music, it’s clear Kanye West executive produced the entire project. CyHi’s distinctive gravelly voice is in a perfect marriage with West behind the boards, carefully crafting the perfect sound. A genius at what he does, West takes the beats produced by Tec Beatz, M 16, Sekou Muhammed and others to help turn BHP into CyHi’s best work yet. As we eagerly await his long-awaited album, BHP will be sure to stay in rotation well past February.
Download the mixtape below, and let us know what you thought of it.