CyHi The Prynce may be a name that sounds familiar, but you might not necessarily know why you remember it. CyHi has been steadily flying under the radar throughout his career so far, but his new mixtape, Black Hystori Project, is a sign of intriguing things to come.
For those who may not know, CyHi The Prynce is a member of one of the most-recognized cliques in the game today: Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music. He had a few features on the label’s collaborated release, Cruel Summer, and had a blip of a feature on Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Other than that, he’s received little mainstream notice up to this point in his career.
Black Hystori Project perfectly stands in the middle ground of the abstract thematic elements of Yeezus and a consistent thematic core. After a first listen, you’ll understand what CyHi was trying to do with this mixtape, but you’ll have enough lingering questions that urges a second listen through.
As the title suggests, Black Hystori Project is an ode to African-American culture. It celebrates prominent figures of the African-American community yet grapples with the trials and tribulations he and the community deal with. It’s a book of instructions on how to persevere through the adversity. At the end of the day, this mixtape celebrates African-American culture and does a fantastic job of doing so.
On Black Hystori, CyHi celebrates Nelson Mandela, Coretta Scott King and Jean-Michel Basquiat, all of whom possessed strength and pride. Interestingly, CyHi also includes a song mentioning Napoleon. This could be due perhaps to the way Cyhi portrays the strength and power in himself and his community.
CyHi also discusses how the introduction of crack into predominately African-American communities has damaged the community as a whole. The notoriously cheap alternative to cocaine has plagued urban centers since the 1980s and has hurt many people in these communities. However, at the end of Black Hystori, CyHi partakes in a chant that celebrates how far African-Americans have come. While he does acknowledge some troubles the community may be experiencing, he also celebrates how far African-Americans have come over the years. The mixtape looks at the past but also looks to the future. This is what makes Black Hystori Project great.
The mixtape is produced by Kanye West, which in retrospect makes sense because Black Hystori Project does not really have any songs that would particularly standout as a “hit,” similar to the abrasive, polarizing songs on Yeezus. These songs all expertly mix together, each playing a specific piece in a larger puzzle. It’s a mixtape to be listened to in full. In essence, it forces you to respect CyHi’s ode to his people as it was intended to be.
This mixtape is a diamond in the rough. CyHi The Prince has released five mixtapes on his own, and Black Hystori Project is his first solo release via G.O.O.D. Music. In 2011, Big Sean had his debut with Finally Famous. In 2013, Pusha T had huge solo success with My Name Is My Name. 2014 may very well be the year where CyHi The Prynce becomes G.O.O.D. Music’s next breakout artist. Stay on the lookout and remember this name.