It was a lovely evening in the city of angels when Shirley Ju attended the exclusive playback session for Kanye West collaborator CyHi the Prynce. The No Dope on Sundays event was held at the Live Nation offices just three days before his highly-anticipated album dropped. So if you ever wondered what it’s like to listen to a project side-by-side with someone of CyHi’s caliber, then keep reading to get a look inside the industry.
Written By: Shirley Ju
December 15, 2017
If the name “CyHi” sounds familiar, you’ve probably heard him on one of those monumental collaborations only a mastermind like Kanye West could pull off so effortlessly.
Songs like “The Morning” and “So Appalled” immediately come to mind. While being signed to G.O.O.D. Music gives you an automatic co-sign from Ye, that doesn’t take away from the fact that CyHi is a beast behind the mic. Not only is his pen game beyond impressive, but he somehow pairs it with an even greater delivery.
CyHi is one of the best lyricists in the game. I’m not biased, those are just the facts.
Just listen to his intro on “Elephant In The Room” from 2015 and you’ll get an idea of CyHi’s journey from being in-the-streets to being side-by-side with Kanye in the studio. Now, he’s ready to tell his story on No Dope On Sundays. Have you heard his comeback single, “Dat Side” featuring Ye? Well, that was only a teaser.
As a journalist, few things get me more excited than when publicists tell me that an artist I love is coming into town for a press run. My immediate reaction is usually: when are they available, and where can I meet them. Before the playback session I was stoked to have him stop by Young & Reckless. Although he came in his own swag (a really dope military jacket from Atlanta), we had the pleasure of gifting him with some merchandise and shooting some flicks.
When we parted ways it was only a temporary goodbye because we would soon meet again at the glamorous Live Nation building for his playback session. This was familiar territory for me because I was just here for Marc E. Bassy’s listening party. Side note: any event hosted by Aishah and her team at AKW PR (shout out to Ashlee and Jeremy) is a guaranteed good time. The last one I attended was with Ty Dolla $ign and that was definitely one for the books.
Everyone from label execs to artists and industry insiders were in attendance at CyHi’s playback session.
While this was an invite-only event, strangers soon became best friends as the complimentary cocktails from Stillhouse kicked in. With CyHi hanging out near the front, I soon realized it would be way more productive if I said “hi” and then absorbed the album on my own time.
As I listened to the album playback, one question came to mind: how important is the power of a collaboration? This question was top-of-mind because I attended a conversation at ComplexCon with André 3000 a week before CyHi’s event. With music being as subjective as it is, I went ahead and asked an music industry influencer at the playback session what his thoughts on collaboration are:
As one of the West Coast’s premiere DJ’s and founders of Young California, I knew DJ Amen would have the type of insight I needed.
“I think it’s very important because it draws from two different fan bases, first and foremost, he said. “People know that adding someone like a 2 Chainz is such a great compliment [to a track]. Depending on where you’re trying to take the piece, the song, the project, whatever it is, there’s always that salt and pepper you can add to make it better. I don’t think it’s mandatory to collaborate, but I definitely think it’s a positive thing because people can bounce ideas off each other.”
After we listened to No Dope On Sundays we learned more about the project during a Q&A moderated by Justin Hunte, the former Editor-in-Chief at HipHopDX.
They could not have chosen a better person to interview CyHi about his album. Hunte embodies hip-hop like no one else I know in the industry. I’m not just saying that because he is the guy who hired me as an intern at HipHopDX. But, I do feel like I am forever indebted to him for the opportunity he provided me.
Then the playback session ended and I said bye to CyHi and the AKW PR team. When I left, I thought about all the people that came together to create No Dope on Sundays and plan this playback session. It just proves that it’s always better to collaborate with each other instead of compete with one another.