Two delicate gold chains connected CyHi the Prynce's bowtie to his pocket square, gleaming against his black suit. Fellow Atlanta rapper Pill followed him as he strolled inside, then stopped to scope out north Atlanta lounge Moderna -- only to step back outside and do it two more times, before greeting a single person. Yesterday by 11 p.m., he was supposed to have wrapped a music video shoot and previewed his new mixtape Ivy League: Kick Back, out January 29. But by 11:15, he had only just arrived.
CyHi the Prynce has endured a few false starts: In 2009 he was one of six emcees in Atlanta rap group Hoodlum, who were signed to Jazze Pha's Shonuff Records. After Hoodlum failed to take off, the Stone Mountain native released solo mixtapes that caught the attention of V-103's Greg Street, then Def Jam vice president Bu Thiam, also Akon's brother. A Def Jam deal led to a G.O.O.D. Music deal, then XXL Freshman status -- but then, to the disappointment of his fans, just two verses in the final cut of G.O.O.D. Music's Cruel Summer.
Dozens watched as CyHi the Prynce performed snippets of Kick Back -- an intro, the title track, a new verse, a song called "Sexy." They snapped photos with their phones as he rehashed what he's already released: the music videos for "Far Removed" and The Sound of Music-referencing "Favorite Things," plus a remix to "A Town" (featuring Travis Porter and 2 Chainz) that he dropped on January 19, in time for the NFC Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons.
Stream "A Town" below:
But as CyHi the Prynce revealed to Hive, 2013 will be a year of building momentum. He plans to kick off a Kick Back tour, and he is now gathering producers and potential collaborators for his debut, still-untitled album that's "about 20 percent in" and due out later this year. By now, he's fully aware that he faces dueling expectations, from longtime fans who remember the gas station-referencing "Sweet Georgia" and listeners who only caught wind when Cruel Summer dropped.
"I'm more hip-hop than the average Atlanta rapper may be, and me coming through with Kanye has made me so much hip-hop that it's hard to do my own city music," he said. "The music I may party to -- I like doing that music too, but people just love to hear me rap. So, I kind of have to appease both sides of the spectrum."
Despite having arrived two hours late, CyHi the Prynce wrapped both the "All Night" video shoot and Kick Back listening party in just an hour. He completed just three takes of his entrance and three takes of the final performance scene, while rapping verses in between shots. Tardiness aside, the only noticeable setback was a wardrobe malfunction. As CyHi the Prynce performed his "A-Town" remix, his pocket square slipped out of his jacket and swung from its chains like a pendulum. The rapper kept dancing, as if he didn't notice.