Cordae – “From a Bird’s Eye View” review

Cordae is 23 year old MC from Suitland, Maryland that came up as a member of the YBN collective just a few years ago. He first came on my radar with “Old N****s”, an immensely well written response to “1985”, which was one of the better tracks that J. Cole’s 5th album K.O.D. had to offer. That single alone earned Cordae a HUGE co-sign from none other than Dr. Dre as well as a deal with Atlantic Records, where he put out a potential showing debut The Lost Boy the following summer right after his 2019 XXL Freshman Class placement. But after dropping a prelude EP Just Until….. over the spring, Cordae’s finally back with his 2nd full-length.

After the “Shiloh’s Intro”, the first song “Jean Michel” sets it off with a rich boom bap instrumental & Cordae providing listeners with introspection whereas ”Super” has a soulful trap vibe boasting his success. “Momma’s Hood” has a more woozier vibe to it talking about driving down his mother’s old stomping grounds in a Jeep just before “Want From Me” goes into a more psychedelic direction with the help of Dem Jointz & Jake One asking this girl what more does she want from him. Meanwhile on “Today”, we have a unique trap beat from Kid Culture as none other than Gunna tags along with Cordae to talk about grinding & dismissing bullshit leading into “Shiloh’s Interlude”.

Following that, “C Carter” instrumentally has a west coast feel to it reminding listeners that he’s arrived & then Lil Wayne comes in for the Hit-Boy produced “Sinister” going at anyone who chooses to go bar-to-bar against them. Boi-1da takes it into acoustic trap territory for the H.E.R./Lil Durk-assisted “Chronicles” talking about not being sure where their hearts are headed while “Champagne Glasses” with Freddie Gibbs finds them on top of a spacious beat detailing conversations being complicated these days.

The song “Westlake High” works in a soul sample apologizing for his mistakes as well as shouting out his loved ones while the penultimate track “Parables” finds him & Eminem talking about on top of a twangy boom bap instrumental from Cardiak. “Gifted” with Roddy Ricch then ends the album with the 2 going back & forth with each other telling the world how blessed both of them are over a moody Bongo instrumental.

Compared to The Lost Boy, I think From a Bird’s Eye View happens to be a slightly better yet very much enjoyable follow-up. His production choices have gotten better & lyrically, it seems to me that he’s detailing a lot more of his life than he did 2 & a half years back.

Score: 3.5/5

Cordae – “Just Until….” review

This is the debut EP from North Carolina emcee Cordae. Emerging in 2014 as a member of the now defunct YBN collective, the 23 year old released a total of 3 mixtapes under his original moniker Entendre before catching mainstream attention 4 years later by dropping the J. Cole response “Old N****s”. After landing a spot in the 2019 XXL Freshman Class, the kid continued to turn heads by dropping a potential-filled debut album The Lost Boy & is returning after 2 years with a 4-track prelude to his sophomore effort.

“More Life” is a funky, boom bap opener as Cordae proclaims life being an antidote while the next song “Dream in Color” talks about his boldest dreams over some vocal harmonizing hanging behind him. Young Thug hops on the Take a Daytrip-produced “Wassup” for a flashy party starter & then the EP rounds out with “Thornton Street”, which returns to that boom bap sound as Cordae recalls his childhood.

I know he said on Twitter that none of these joints will appear on the upcoming album, but it has me excited for it nonetheless. With his artistry continuing to grow at a rate like this, I geniunely think his potential is being fully realized & he could possibly top The Lost Boy.

Score: 3.5/5

YBN Nahmir – “Visionland” review

YBN Nahmir is a 21 year old rapper from Birmingham, Alabama most notable for being the de facto leader of the now defunct YBN collective. We all know Cordae has proven to be the most successful member of the crew given how well The Lost Boy & it wasn’t until earlier this month that Almighty Jay dropped his painfully boring debut EP Battling My Spirit. However, Nahmir is the last one stepping to plate & is dropping his long-delayed debut album.

“Still (Family)” is actually a good way to kick off the album as Nahmir speaks on doing this rap shit for his family with a guitar & harmonious vocal harmonies backing him. However, the next song “Regardless” sounds like he’s vocally riffing for 2 minutes despite the tranquilizing trap beat whereas the rowdy “Politics” links up with DaBoii & G Herbo to take shots at people talking shit on the internet. The “Opp Stoppa” remix with 21 Savage is better than the original, even though it’s weird how Nahmir puts the OG version of it as the closer later on.

“Get It Crackin’” samples “Chaos” by TekraBeats as Nahmir goes on about nothing & then “Fast Car Music (Stain)” serves as a half-baked ode to Lamborghinis. The track “Prison” is pretty much a 2-minute, abrasive self-defense anthem & then “Lamb Truck” is an underwritten cut about wetting up those who cross him with an aquatic beat. The twangy, bass-heavy “Fast Car Ending” is another short & off-the-cuff freestyle that could’ve easily been left on the cutting room floor, but then “Wake Up” goes into a more orchestral direction as he talks about getting his dick sucked in the morning.

“Belgium” is a 2-minute diatribe about how Nahmir been “thuggin’ since a youngin’” over a skeletal piano instrumental while the cumbersomely-produced “Make a Wish” literally says in the hook that he’ll kill the children of his enemies. The electronic-tinged “Homework” opens up about the snakes in his life & even though the classy instrumental on “Streets” is ok, it once again sounds like a barely written song. The soul/trap fusion “WooWAM” goes on about wanting bitches at his mansion, but then “Soul Train” is even worse with it’s funk-influenced production & the gross lyrics about giving his girl everything.

The rubbery, Hitmaka-produced “2-Seater” with G-Eazy & Offset continues to go on about their love for luxury cars over a rubbery instrumental from Hitmaka while “Ca$hland” is a money anthem with a hyphy beat along as well as stellar features from E-40 & Too $hort. The final song on the album (excluding the original “Opp Stoppa” like I mentioned earlier) “Over Now” is a touching sequel to the opening cut.

I said it in my review for Battling My Spirit a few weeks ago & I’ll say it again right now: this is just another reminder that Cordae carried the whole YBN crew. I’ll even say this is even worse than the latest Almighty Jay EP. It didn’t need to be 20 tracks long, the songwriting is vapid, his performances don’t have any “oomph” to them & the production is uneventful.

Score: 1/5

YBN Almighty Jay – “Battling My Spirit” review

YBN Almighty Jay is a 21 year old rapper from Houston, Texas who came up as a founding member of the now defunct YBN collective. Dude has dropped a handful of singles in the span of 6 years & has now whipped up a 20 minute EP as his first official project.

The opener “Get Rich in the Hood” talks about going out like Suge before going out like Pac over an acoustic guitar & a dizzying backdrop whereas the next track “Big Check” shows off his wealth over a drab beat. The song “Murder in My Eyes” talks about how all his homies balling over an instrumental trying to rip off the aesthetics of Travis Scott’s previous album ASTROWORLD while the title track is easily the best off the entire EP, as Jay confesses that he looks at his family different & the dejecting tone of the beat is perfect.

The song “Drank Sealed” talks about going from a futon to a mansion over a guitar & some hi-hats while the track “Bring Out the Hoochies” is a mediocre attempt at making a strip club anthem. The song “Shoutout to My Dentist” talks about being flashy over a buoyant instrumental & then the closer “Red Light Special” talks about not having time for affairs over a syrupy beat.

Other than the title track, I hardly got anything out of this EP at the end of the day & I really don’t see what makes YBN Almighty Jay an appealing artist. His songwriting is insipid, the flows are pretty basic & the production is incredibly generic.

Score: 1/5

Cordae – “The Lost Boy” review

Cordae is 21 year old MC from Suitland, Maryland that came up as a member of the YBN collective just a few years ago. He first came on my radar last year with “Old N****s”, an immensely well written response to “1985” off of J. Cole’s last album KOD. That single alone earned Cordae a HUGE co-sign from none other than Dr. Dre as well as a deal with Atlantic Records. The kid even made it on this year’s XXL Freshman Class last month, so it’s only right for him to keep the hype for him going with his full-length debut over here.

The album starts off with “Wintertime”, where Cordae gives the listener a proper introduction to himself over a funky beat. The next song “Have Mercy” talks about the struggles of life over a flute-inflicted trap beat & after the “Sweet Lawd” skit, the next track “Bad Idea” with Chance the Rapper sees the 2 making a modern version of the iconic Scarface cut “My Block”.

The song “Thanksgiving” talks about bringing a girl home for the titular holiday over a mellow trap beat while the track “R.N.P. (Rich N***a Problems)” with Anderson .Paak sees the 2 over a bouncy J. Cole instrumental. The song “Broke as Fuck” angrily recalls his rough past over a piano-inflicted trap beat while the track “1,000 Words” talks about people who cap over a smooth beat. The song “Way Back Home” talks about being yourself over an intoxicating trap beat & after the “Grandma’s House” skit, the song “Been Around” is a tribute to those who’ve stuck by Cordae’s side since Day 1 over a summery instrumental.

The track “Nightmares are Real” with Pusha T sees the 2 talking about how the good guy always wins over a haunting instrumental while the song “Family Matters” is an heartwarming tribute to his loved ones with a relaxing beat. The penultimate track “We Gon’ Make It” with Meek Mill sees the 2 getting motivational over a chilled out instrumental & then the album ends with “Lost & Found”, where Cordae tells his rags to riches story over a blissful trap beat.

I’ve been waiting a minute for this & at the end, the kid really delivered. It’s focused, it’s well produced & I really feel like the listener really gets to know Cordae as a person.

Score: 3.5/5