“If God had an iPod, I’d be on his playlist.”
CyHi The Prynce didn’t mince words when he barreled through his breakout verse on Kanye West’s 2010 record, “So Appalled.” Co-signs from both Beyoncé and Kanye will do that to an MC.
The same week that CyHi found out that his verse made it onto West's classic album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, he laid a loved one to rest and helped his significant other deal with the emotional aftermath of an abortion. Anyone would be pushed to the edge by this series of events, but not just anyone can stand toe-to-toe with JAY-Z, Pusha T, Kanye and RZA on wax.
Those 16 bars were the throwing of the gauntlet, the altar of Prynce officially opening to the public on a grand scale. G.O.O.D. Friday after G.O.O.D. Friday and mixtape after mixtape, CyHi would continue to prove to the world what diehard fans already knew—he could rap his ass off.
After seven long years of waiting, both for CyHi The Prynce and his fans, it's a huge relief, then, to know that his purgatory at Def Jam Records is in the rearview (CyHi is currently signed to Brooklyn Knights/Sony RAL) and that his official debut album, No Dope On Sundays, has finally arrived.
Like most of his mixtape and loosie catalog, every song on NDOS is a rap decathlon, but this time around, the atmosphere runs thicker with purpose. CyHi is the world-weary man who has waded his way through drugs, guns, and church, and is sifting for the punchlines that will stick to the back of your throat; think Vic Mensa if only his autobiography had a few more gray hairs and slightly more powder residue on the pages.
On the second verse of “Get Yo Money,” CyHi drags listeners through a world where Crips rep so hard “all they eat is C food” before offering up a new age step-by-step booklet for getting your bread and leaving unscathed. In the span of 16 bars, CyHi manages to both write off dudes who can’t pay their taxes and tries to make sense of both the traphouse sinner and the Christian Baptist saint doing battle in his mind.
Nobody who has ever heard a CyHi The Prynce record would dare question his ability to deliver bars as sharp as steel but that doesn't mean No Dope On Sundays isn’t without some obvious yet minor drawbacks. Some of the vocals, particularly on the heartfelt “Don’t Know Why” and the Kanye West-assisted “Dat Side,” sound like they were recorded on the other side of a closet door and, despite delivering an overwhelming number of lethal rhymes, a few hit dad-joke groaner territory (“Might fuck a midget and have twins / I’m tryna have two many [mini] kids”).
Despite these missteps, No Dope On Sundays is still a mostly cohesive trip through the punchline-lined streets in CyHi’s head, a journey fans have been waiting to hear and go on since “So Appalled.”
Welcome home, CyHi.
Three Standout Songs:
“No Dope On Sundays” ft. Pusha T
A gospel sample turns into a muted war cry that CyHi rides across the album's title track. "No Dope On Sundays" is the closest thing the album has to a thesis statement, with CyHi preaching his position as “Not a street nigga, but a nigga in the street” who’s caking enough to stop moving dope on the Lord’s day. Lex Luger delivers a piano-synth arrangement halfway through the record, soundtracking both CyHi’s raspily crooned stories of survival and a surprise verse from Pusha T that offers the most mournful view of the dope game I’ve heard in a minute (“When I realized what that did to your nose / I couldn’t justify what I did to my bro”). Excuse me, I've got some dust in my eye.
“Trick Me” ft. 2 Chainz
Even if he’s on a righteous path, that doesn’t mean CyHi’s here to play around. “Trick Me” is a bouncy proclamation of his place in Atlanta’s streets, with killer punchlines to match (“Why you niggas mad? Sammy Sosa, lighten up”). 2 Chainz, a fellow trap prince of punchlines, joins in for a tag team effort I never knew I needed in this life. Having money as long as Godby Road is a God-level flex. After all the flexing is done, though, another beat switch sees CyHi diving right back into the grimier side of the drug game.
“Nu Africa” ft. Ernestine Johnson
CyHi is about as pro-Black as rappers come, and he opens the bumping “Nu Africa” with thoughts of rappers, actors, athletes and activists all converging on Zaire to work on founding a new country to escape suffocating racism. “If you’re Black, you fit the criteria,” he says, with his chest puffed out. Fittingly, “Nu Africa” boasts one of the hardest beats on the entire album, courtesy of Epikh Pro and S1.