It has been a long time coming, but the time has finally come. CyHi The Prynce’s first official studio album No Dope on Sundays is here. After spending too many years in a place that is now far too common, debut album purgatory, we almost saw CyHi The Prynce join many of the other talented musicians that never released an official debut. Luckily, we finally can hear CyHi’s own personal creation, rather than his work for other artists. On this conceptually-driven album, CyHi The Prynce takes-off on his street pilgrimage to delve into his upbringing, street life, and how he made it out.
Now known for his credits on influential albums: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Watch The Throne, Yeezus, and The Life Of Pablo, he was not always one of the game’s most talented writers. Born Cydel Young in Stone Mountain, Georgia, he was no stranger to hustling and hard work. It took a handful of mixtapes before he was finally discovered by Kanye West and signed a deal with G.O.O.D. music in 2010. He now has appeared on almost every major Kanye West or G.O.O.D music release and has even been nominated for a few Grammys awards. While he was a very valuable writer and team player for Kanye’s G.O.O.D Music, this new project finds CyHi reborn and proves that he has what it takes to be a headlining, stand-alone artist. While he recruits the help from G.O.O.D music heavy hitters Kanye West, Travis Scott, and Pusha T as well as high caliber features like 2 Chainz and Schoolboy Q, they do not overshadow Prynce’s verses.
Of course, Prynce is known for his lyricism. His skills with the pen are what sets him apart from the rest. However, on his debut project, he displays a willingness to experiment and think freely while in the studio. On songs such as “Trick Me” with 2 Chainz, “Dat Side” with Kanye West, or the autotuned “Looking For Love”, he expands his creativity and disproves that he is confined to a lyricism-only box. They also share a lighter more celebratory vibe as compared to the rest of the vibe on the album to create some balance. Nevertheless, listeners will still find plenty of lyricism, metaphors, and punch-lines on this album. The intro “Amen” is a perfect example of his continued lyricism skills. “See me and a bear in the woods then help the bear then / Huh, my life is Leonardo in The Revenant / Listenin’ to lead playin’, I ain’t talkin’ Zepplin.” Prynce vigorously raps as he forcefully lays down bar after bar. He follows this by bestowing his own 12 commandments before exiting the song. “(Seven!) Promise this, ye will always be truthful / Never pick sides, ye should always think neutral / (Eight!) The next commandment I’m ‘bout to bring is crucial / Thou shall never misuse friends, ye should make themselves useful.” This is not only unique and impressive to include within your debut album intro, but it also helps set the tone of the theme that is present throughout the rest of the project.
Fittingly the next track is “No Dope On Sundays” featuring Pusha T. This song further pushes the grim narrative of trivialized street life with a gospel-like twist added by the church sample. This title track is basically the thesis statement to the album. “Yeah, no dope on Sundays / That’s only if you really out here getting money” CyHi raps as he explains that he has earned enough money that he can take a day of rest on the Lord’s day. “Nu Africa” is an interesting track that stems from inspiration that CyHi received from Kanye while in an Atlanta club. “Imagine if all the rappers were / To get with all the athletes or activists and actors for / A conference in Zaire to meet with all the ambassadors” CyHi spits as he explores the idea of escaping to Zaire on top of one of the catchiest beats on the entire album. Following close after is the stand-out track “80’s Baby” that sounds as if it is a mash-up of a cut off 808’s and Heartbreaks with a dash of production by Chance the Rapper. This is perhaps one of the most serious and somber tracks on the project with the lyrics “Every time I kick, you say feel his little feet / When I listen to my heart, I can barely heat the beat”. Vastly from the viewpoint of an unborn child, it is a close subject for CyHi who has been open about an experience he had with a past girlfriend.
Overall, the album plunges into an at-times dark world that has its share of trials and tribulations as well as its victories. The album is powerful, poignant, and engaging with an ear pleasing sound. CyHi The Prince achieves a perfect equilibrium of the come-up, faith, and party music within No Dope On Sundays. After many years, he has truly manifested his potential that was seen in him by Kanye back in 2010. When hard work, dedication, and patience all come together, this is the aftermath.