Review Summary: An underrated and consistent tape that outshines its predecessor.
Cydel Young, working under his moniker Cyhi the Prynce, is a rapper born in Stone Mountain, Georgia. He signed with Kanye West’s GOOD Music record label in 2010. Black Hystori Project
, the spiritual predecessor to BHP 2
was executive produced by Yeezus himself in 2014. Black Hystori Project
was a shift in style lyrically for Cydel, which contained a fair amount of dialogue about civil rights and musical tributes to his heroes. For the most part, it succeeded in being a great conscious hip-hop tape with stellar production.
BHP 2: NAACP
is without a doubt a sequel in the same vein, and not just titled that way to ride the original tape’s success. This time around, TEC BEATZ and M16 handle the bulk of the production instead of Kanye. There’s some stylistic departures instrumentally from the original, but the variety is high quality and welcomed. Some beats here are more trap-inclined than the previous tape (see “Intro” and “Forever”), and for the most part they are very layered and aurally pleasing. The sample in “Forever” has someone crooning the song’s title behind Young’s verse, and it’s a subtle but perfect addition.
His brand of conscious hip-hop continues to be fleshed out here, “Weak People” includes extended samples from a Reverend James David Manning speech, criticising the lack of positive role models and leaders in the black community. The track also shouts out Kendrick Lamar, who treaded similar lyrical ground in his song “The Blacker the Berry” off To Pimp a Butterfly
. There’s lyrics and references to topics that aren’t as deep found on songs like “TV” and “Get Money”, but Cyhi is a gifted rapper technically and lyrically. He’s able to pull these ideas off using similar wordplay and metaphors to keep the project cohesive and worth more than the sum of its parts.
Young’s verses are a pleasure to listen to. There’s tons of clever wordplay, catchy alliteration, and metaphors across the board. The lone feature on this whole tape is a sung hook from Alanna on “Everyday People”, a solid track that blends modern g-funk with gospel influence not unlike most of Kanye’s early projects or Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book
. The lack of guest appearances works to the tape’s benefit. Especially with a project like this, almost any guest feature would either be out of place or redundant. He’s a very versatile rapper, channeling Pusha T-esque viciousness on opening tracks “Intro” and “Master P”. On the softer side of the spectrum, he blends in well with the more relaxed mid-tape cuts “Forever” and “One Woman Man”.
There are no standouts here like “Napoleon” or “Guitar Melody” on this tape. However, BHP 2
is way more consistent than its predecessor. It lacks the filler tracks and unnecessary interludes that Black Hystori Project
had. With 11 songs clocking at 42 minutes, it’s a short outing, compared to most unfortunately bloated mixtapes released these days. However, it’s concise length and lack of features gives us a focused, criminally underrated tape where you can tell everyone involved put their best effort into each cut.