Chance & YBN Cordae’s Lyrics & Beat Prove They’re Making Hip-Hop For All Ages (Video)
Maryland-raised 21-year-old rapper YBN Cordae has been making a name for himself these past few years. His Young Boss Ni**as collective has been booming for several years, breaking through many walls care of YBN Nahmir’s debut viral 2017 hit, “Rubbin Off The Paint.” Then came follow-up looks such as “Have Mercy,” “Kung Fu,” as well as incredible freestyles and remixes, in which the rapper goes in on Eminem’s “My Name Is.” Last year, Nahmir, Cordae, and YBN Almighty Jay released YBN: The Mixtape, an independent effort that very nearly cracked the Top 20 of the charts.
However, if anything has showcased YBN Cordae’s distinct voice, in particular, it was a track called, “Old Ni**as” (embedded below), which was the rapper’s charged response to J. Cole’s “1985 (Into To ‘The Falloff’).” Although not a diss by any means, the lyrics rebuked the Dreamville founder’s illustration of many young rappers just wanting money, women and partying. It also offered a 20-year-old’s point of view on the subject of Rap. Cordae commentates on a moment in that moment in time, rapping: “And other idols, they be broke, get your funds in order / And Kanye West is a Trump supporter / Then, we got R. K*lly and Bill C*sby / Who still probably got lil’ girls in the hills lobby / And these supposed to be our heroes? / N*gro, please / Old n*ggas unreliable like D-Rose knees / Only man I can trust is G-O-D, Not to mention Mos Def and Talib Kweli.” If there’s anything Cordae has proven since his viral debut, it’s that he’s unofficially carrying his YBN counterparts through intense wordplay, sharp social commentary, and consciously-charged lyricism. He also gets his inspiration from some interesting sources. Apart from Black Star, a just-released Nardwuar interview recently revealed that Cordae is a major Jedi Mind Tricks fan.
YBN Cordae is now prepping the release of his debut solo project, The Lost Boy, which, according to a recent interview with Zane Lowe, is due out in July. The Atlantic Records project’s first single is “Bad Idea,” a Chance The Rapper collaboration, which boasts a soulful hook that serves as an interpolation of Gil-Scot Heron’s “Home Is Where the Hatred Is” (familiar to Late Registration Heads). The beat also mimics the melody of Scarface’s “My Block” (via Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway’s “Be Real Black For Me,”). The single is a potent, keep-your-head-up-styled rap song, as both Cordae and Chance reminisce on their harsh times and take the time to smile toward the future.
YBN Cordae raps a sweet first verse that’s aimed at anyone who faces current financial troubles and stress, enunciating a thoughtful set of bars. He opens with, “I know myself all too well to be a stranger of pain / Despite it all, we remainin’ the same, I’m just changin’ the game / Heart pure, never tainted with fame
/ Straight ahead, I’ma stay in my lane.” As he asserted in his 2018 rebuttal to Cole, this rapper is an MC with something to say. Cordae adds, “I know the sh*t you goin’ through the last month, you stressin’ as you hittin’ on that glass blunt / A ni**a prayin’ to get lucky like Daft Punk / You can’t even stomach the pain, now that’s a bad lunch / Ramen noodles on the regular / Add some seasoning and some hot sauce for a better touch / Peanut butter, jelly and syrup sandwich, et cetera / And we just flyin’ in the nebula.”
Chance delivers the second verse, focusing on his current wealth and fame, and recalling his past mistakes: “Confused where all my art went, monsters in a quiet place / Some of these decisions is like Sharpie on a dry-erase / I know they thought I wouldn’t, but I’m a fireplace / I had my cake and ate it too, that sh*t is an acquired taste / I promised I would buy a place / I got my favorite roommates / They used to never see me, like when you zip up a new Bape / Do that sh*t ‘fore it’s too late / Don’t ever drink the Kool-Aid.” In his abstract lyrics, Chance references getting married, kicking bad habits, and trying to mature. The music video sees both rappers surrounded by friends and family, celebrating life and sharing in happiness.
Cordae’s closing verse may be his best moment on the song. Right as Chance finishes, he begins, “So don’t you shed a tear / ‘Cause there’ll be better years / I live life by faith, ni**a, instead of fear / God cryin’, thunderstorms is Heaven tears / The feelin’ of lost hope, sh*t is never here / ‘Cause we gon’ make it happen, by any means.”
YBN Cordae will join Logic on the Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind Tour, which kicks off in North America on October 5 in Vancouver. The Lost Boy is currently planned for July.
This song is among the ever-changing selections on Ambrosia For Heads‘ official playlist.
#BonusBeat: YBN Cordae’s “Young Ni**as” music video: