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Fresh off his flight with his hair untwisted, sweatpants, chilling with no make up on, YBN Cordae lays a pillow under his head and compares this interview to a therapy session. Explaining his journey, he feels as if he’s still in the equilibrium.

“I still feel like I have a lot more to learn and experience. A lot more living to do. I’ve witnessed, experienced, and been through a lot. I struggled a lot. Using all those things and combining them into one, it’s just life.”

This is very humbling coming from someone who has had a co-sign from the likes of Diddy, J Cole and Dr Dre. Even with this and recently being named as part of the 2019 XXL Freshman Class, Cordae has only touched the tip of the iceberg. Rising to prominence after responding to J Cole’s ‘1985’ where Cole warned new artists of the dangers in the industry, Cordae reassures us his response was all in good taste.

“I think everybody misinterpreted what he was trying to say and used it as throwing stones at the younger generation. There’s two sides to every story and I needed to express it the way I could but in a respectful manner that addresses both sides. Like he’s making some good points but consider this as well.”

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Wanting to always be an artist, he cites old school artists as his influences including Nas, Jay Z, Rakim, Big L and much more. Along his list, he also mentions Barack Obama and Malcolm X. “At one point in my life, I wanted to be the President. I can still do that after this and I’m dead serious. I gotta be a billionaire first and around 45.”

Leaving the office before his hair turns grey, he only wants to do a year year term and fuck shit up in a good way. With these inspirations, Cordae’s style of rap is notably different from his collective mates YBN Nahmir and YBN Almighty Jay. With an intense vocabulary and alternating flow, it all comes naturally to this young man. “I don’t really try to be different, I just do what is true and authentic to myself.” he states. 

It seems like this also applies to his thoughts regarding collaborations. Not wanting to go out and seek features, he lets these fusions happen organically ensuring that the process isn’t forced for better resulting music which is what is expected of his debut album ‘The Lost Boy’.

With features from the likes of Chance The Rapper, Pusha T, Meek Mill and an additional appearance by the legendary Quincy Jones for production, Cordae explains that the album includes a lot of transparency about his current position in life. “There’s a lot of soul and being real vulnerable as a human being.” 

Clarifying the visuals for his single ‘Have Mercy’ - that has two videos, he describes that they are two different paths that usually intertwine so the videos had to correlate. “The director of Path A, Cole Bennett is like a Vincent Van Gogh and that was his interpretation of the song. Path B was just like a movie, literally ‘have mercy’ because there’s so much fuck shit going on.”

With the release of his debut album, YBN Cordae doesn’t plan to get off people’s necks in the near future. He sees himself as iconic and legendary and consistently providing music that makes people think and engraves an impression in new listeners leaving them wondering who this man is and making them aware of his insane level of rap skills.

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'The Lost Boy' will be released on July 26th.

Words: Debbie Ijaduola
Photo Credit: Jimmy Fontaine

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