YBN Cordae Recites Nas & JAY-Z Verses Word For Word (Video)

Last week, Suitland, Maryland MC YBN Cordae released his solo debut, The Lost Boy. The YBN band-mate of Alabama’s Nahmir and Texas’ Almighty Jay has a largely different sound and message than his crew, especially on this album. With involvement from J. Cole, Pusha-T, and Chance The Rapper, The Lost Boy offers some Rap wisdom from the mature 21-year-old Cordae Dunston.

Appearing on Genius’ For The Record with Rob Markman, Cordae discusses his new LP. “The concept behind it is basically like—the whole project is a journey. ‘Cause I feel like anybody who hasn’t found their purpose or their journey or their particular path is a lost one, in a sense. It’s telling my story, the story of the lost boy.” He gets specific, “At the beginning, it’s ‘Wintertime;’ I’m kinda just giving a little bit of background information about myself as I’m leaving. It has those chill, rainy vibes with the saxophone from Terrace Martin, who comes in [and brings] that soul to that. The next song is ‘Have Mercy,’ that’s like the second step on that path. You know when you first leave home to go on a path, it’s like you enter into that hellfire,” he says calling the video single “life sh*t.”

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Cordae says that his Chance The Rapper-assisted (and Gil Scott Heron-interpolating) “Bad Idea” emphasizes trying to distance oneself from home. The very next song, “Thanksgiving,” reconsiders this thinking, and finds the restorative value in family. The next song, the Cole-produced, Anderson .Paak-featuring “RNP (Rich Ni**a Problems)” examines the stress of success and fame. “The next one is ‘Broke As F*ck,’ where we’re reminiscing about other problems. The next joint is ‘Thousand Words,’ speaking on social media and things. The song after that is ‘Way Back Home.’ So it’s like, I’m further down in this path and now I went this far just to realize what was most important in the beginning.” After featuring his grandmother on a skit, Cordae says The Lost Boy gets to a point of self-realization with “Been Around.” The Atlantic Records artist notes that his debut ends with the Meek Mill-assisted dose of inspiration in “We Gon Make It” and the celebratory “Lost & Found.”

Markman asks Cordae about sample choices, which honor a tradition in Hip-Hop. The host points that “Bad Idea” uses the same Donny Hathaway & Roberta Flack “Be Real Black For Me” source used by Scarface on “My Block,” as well as M.O.P. on “World Famous.” Cordae praises his producers on the album, and says he is aware of some of the sample history.

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As For The Record episodes often end, Markman (who recently released It’s Too Late At The Wake) asks his guest to spit a favorite verse from another MC. “I really love Blueprint; that’s one of my all-time favorite albums,” he says, breaking into “U Don’t Know” at 31:20. After spitting the opening verse, Cordae asks viewers, “Forgive me if I f*cked up a line or two,” noting that it was an impromptu display. As Markman asks Cordae if he has a Nas verse of note, the guest recalls being four years old when “I Can” dropped. With that, he spits the closing and substance-filled verse to the highest-charting God’s Son single.

Elsewhere in the interview, Cordae looks back at his time as a server at T.G.I. Friday’s, where he was a customer favorite. He opens up about getting past using Xanax and Percocet and encouraging others to do the same. He stresses the importance of being authentic, vulnerable, and transparent.

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Music by YBN Cordae is currently on the official Ambrosia For Heads playlist.