YBN Cordae is well on his way to becoming a household name and as he releases his record The Lost Boy, it's easy to see why he's making a mark on the hip hop scene so quickly.
As perhaps the most notable name in the YBN crew - which also includes YBN Nahmir, YBN Almighty Jay and many more - Cordae has delivered a mature, refined offering with The Lost Boy, full of jazzy lines, astute socio-political observations and crisp bars that show off his upbringing listening to the likes of Nas, Rakim, Dr Dre and more. There are fiddles on Bad Idea, a gospel choir on Sweet Lawd, horns and organs on Wintertime, though these compliment harder tracks like Broke As Fuck and Nightmares Are Real.
Now, he's running in the same crowds, enlisting producers on the album like Quincy Jones, Masego, Syd from The Internet, J Cole and features from Meek Mill, Anderson .Paak on the cheeky, best bud jam RNP, Pusha T and Chance The Rapper (on the single Bad Idea).
Speaking to Cool Accidents, though he's not super talkative, he's overly polite, incredibly thankful and full of a quiet energy like he knows more than he lets on. He seems like he's on the same trajectory as Kendrick Lamar was a few years ago with To Pimp A Butterfly - maybe we'll be referring to Cordae as the new GOAT soon.
How are you feeling about The Lost Boy coming out? You nervous?
Nah I’m not, I can’t wait.
Your record has songs with Anderson Paak, Pusha T, Ty Dolla Sign and Meek Mill, what’s your favourite memory of working with these guys?
Probably with Anderson .Paak, he’s probably one of my closest friends in music, you know what I’m saying? And just in life, in general. We made a song back-to-back. It was dope.
[Meek is] amazing. Meek is really dope, he’s one of the realest people I’ve met. He’s super real. Pusha’s a legend. It was an honour to work with those cats, for sure.
How did you hook up with Chance The Rapper?
We met at Coachella, actually, and we just linked, exchanged numbers and then I was in Chicago and we did some records together. Bad Idea was like the first, I really loved it, we did a couple records but I really rocked with that.
[I call him] for advice, for sure, 'cause he has a lot of knowledge, you know what I'm saying? He's done things that no one else has done as far as the [being musically] independent thing. Just everything.
Is that your grandma singing on Grandma’s House? You have a lot of these jazzy organ interludes on the album, do you listen to a lot of gospel?
Yes it is, absolutely. No, but it just naturally came, you know what I’m saying?
Songs like Thousand Words are really honest and raw, especially when you talk about how everyone wants to be known and that’s why we’re all so addicted to Instagram. Is this how you feel when you use Insta?
Yeah, it came from how before we do anything, I feel like we broadcast everything we do in our lives, every step of the way.
I don’t really love social media, but at the end of the day, it’s kind of my job. It’s all about finding the balance, it’s all about balance. That’s the starter kit. Instagram is more important than a lot of things – it’s almost more important than the music! [laughs]
You met the rest of the YBN crew through playing GTA, right? How did you guys go from gaming to realising you all wanted to make music?
I really always been making music, you know what I’m saying? I’ve always been making music and something that I always loved and it brought us together. So it was really dope.
It started off on XBox Live, it was like an internet thing more so than just Xbox. I was more on the internet side versus Xbox, I wasn’t really on Xbox but I met them through the internet. It’s all the same basis, but yeah, then we came together.
You’ve spoken a lot about being the bridge between new school hip hop and the old school legends like Nas, Dr Dre and Jay Z. How do you think you’re going about bridging this gap?
It’s not even really that I tried to. It’s just something that comes natural. It’s more so like that.