Forgive me for being a little late with this review(I was on vacation for the last couple of weeks) but I couldn’t just not talk about this new YBN Cordae record. This was one of my most anticipated albums of the year; YBN Cordae has released a string of very good singles since he first came onto the radar in 2017, impressing the hip hop world with his introspective and complicated lyricism and a multitude of fun flows. Cordae has been called a rapper’s rapper, having been compared to a lot of top artists in the game such as J. Cole or Chance the Rapper. Lost Boy is not a disappointment in any way; on his debut album, YBN Cordae totally showcases everything about him that has made him blow up so fast in the last couple of years. This tape really reminds me of something that would have come on in the early 2010’s mixtape era; it has a very similar feeling to Chance’s legendary tape Acid Rap. The album seems to follow a core theme of family and his come up, with Cordae explaining all of the struggles he has gone through to make it to this point. Although it does not necessarily have a super cohesive story, Lost Boy is full of a combination of sweet and soulful tracks that are very personal sounding and funky and fun bangers that truly showcase Cordae’s versatility as an artist. Fans of his previous music definitely should not be disappointed with this one.
The first two tracks of the record, ‘Wintertime’ and ‘Have Mercy,’ put this record off to a strong start, with Cordae showing us how diverse he can sound as a rapper right off the bat. Both of these songs have a central theme of family, and kind of set the tone for the whole project. This first track that I really dig, though, is ‘Bad Idea,’ which features the aforementioned mixtape champion Chance the Rapper. It is interesting to me that Chance was picked to feature on this track because it reminds me a lot of something that could have been on Chance’s Acid Rap. The instrumental has a very acid jazzy hip hop feel, and it fits both of these rappers styles so well. Cordae and Chance talk about a bunch of struggles they had to go through to get to the point they are at. With the instrumental being so happy and sweet-sounding, the lyricism is a cool contrast that makes the tone of this track super interesting. The upbeat and super fun ‘RNP,’ which features Anderson.Paak has already become one of my favorite songs of the year. This duo makes such a great team on this track, with them bouncing off of each other with such fun and tongue in cheek lyrics that are bound to get everyone laughing and vibing. This song just has such a happy and funky vibe that makes me dance so badly. Can’t wait to hear this one at the club. I can just imagine how fun it will be to scream that chorus with the boys while sipping a White Claw. The next cut has a very different vibe from any of the previous songs on this record and is probably the hardest and most in your face track on the project. The instrumental is super tough and distorted, reminding me of something Three 6 Mafia would have done in their horrorcore trap days. Lyrically, although it is rapped so hard, this song is very sad. These bars from the chorus really explain the feeling of the song: ” Grandpa passed, had a heart attack, only 62. My cousin shot, made me paranoid, who to trust or not? Gave my brother 25 years, that really sucked a lot…”
‘Thousand Words’ is a super dope and clever song about Cordae and our whole generation being addicted to Instagram. Cordae goes back and forth about how good and bad apps like Instagram can be, acknowledging that Instagram is a major reason for his success as a young hip hop artist, but that it still can make him depressed since it is so easy to notice the things that you aren’t doing that the people you are following are doing. I think this is a super cool take from a young artist on the state of our digital world right now, and Cordae seems to be encouraging us to take advantage of the opportunities Instagram can give you, but be careful so that you do not become addicted to it. ‘Way Back Home,’ which features Ty Dolla Sign, takes us back to that acid jazz hip hop feel that Cordae seems to really love. Cordae reflects on who he is with this track, singing on the chorus “You can be who you want yo be, but I’d rather be myself for real. No pretending or faking for me, because getting out this shell is real.”
‘Nightmares are Real,’ is another low key and introspective track that reminds me of a lot of Chance’s Acid Rap, which is obviously a huge influence on this record. My favorite thing about this song is the Pusha T feature. That guy just kills it on every verse and it is easy to see why many rappers think he is one of the best. I would love to hear more music from this duo because their sounds mesh so well. ‘We Gon’ Make It,’ which features Meek Mill is easily one of the best songs on this record. This track has a very jazzy trap beat and is highlighted by the super hype chorus that is sung by Meek. I swear to god, every single feature on this album is truly great. I really dig this chorus from Meek: “I could have died on that pavement. Every time I see my mom I’m like ‘wait a minute.’ She knows there’s something wrong with me, and I don’t say shit. And I have been tired of chasing dreams, but I’m gonna chase it…”
I have been looking forward to hearing YBN Cordae’s Lost Boy for a while, and I am glad to say that it did not disappoint at all. After receiving a ton of well-deserved hype from his XXL Freshman cypher and freestyle performances, Cordae delivered a great hip hop record that shows that this guy is here to stay. He definitely is not a flash in the pan and has the diversity as an artist and rapping ability to be a staple in the hip hop game for a long time. In a year with so many great debuts from hip hop’s up and coming superstars, YBN Cordae continues to proved with Lost Boy that he is the cream of the crop. Definitely, do not miss this one.