Once in a while, a rapper emerges who seems to have it all. It is very difficult for a Hip Hop artist(or any artist in general) to be lyrically sophisticated and vulnerable while also making music that is extremely fun and catchy. Typically, artists will gravitate towards either focusing on the lyricism in their music or focusing on how nice and easy their music is to listen to. Some artists are able to pull off both of these things, though; three of the most recent examples are Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, and J. Cole(JID is a newer rapper who also seems to be able to do this, but he hasn’t put out enough mainstream music to be compared to the other three I mentioned). When I first heard Cordae, I thought he might be able to be fit into this category. He had a really sweet and catchy flow and a lyrical ability that was way beyond his age. his early releases were very special and made me like him a lot. Cordae’s debut album, The Lost Boy, was one of my favorite records of 2019. It had an old-school Neo-Soul theme in its instrumentals, and Cordae was able to make heartfelt, deep, and lyrically introspective songs catchy with sticky and interesting hooks. On his new record, From a Bird’s Eye View, it is obvious he tried to follow a similar formula, but it, unfortunately, didn’t land as well this time. It feels like he could not find the right balance between making his music sophisticated or catchy on this record, and he ends up losing some of the sophistication that has provided a spark in his previous music. The record feels way more simple than a Cordae album should; he definitely reeled back the elegance in a huge way, and it didn’t pay off that well. Maybe I am being a bit harsh because I think Cordae has so much potential, but this record just didn’t hit for me how I thought it would. It still has a solid amount of very good songs, though. With that all being said, here is a list of my favorite tracks off of Cordae’s From a Bird’s Eye View. Please let me know in the comments below how you feel about this record, and also let me know what your favorite songs are from it.
‘Jean-Michel’ is a Jazzy old school R&B Hip Hop joint with so much vivacity and life. The background vocals give the song so much soul, and the melody fits in with those vocals well. The overall sound of this song reminds me a lot of something The Pharcyde or A Tribe Called Quest would rap on back in the day. This is the kind of instrumental that Cordae typically excels on. His voice and cadence fit so well over this melody and beat. Unsurprisingly, Cordae does kill it on this instrumental. On ‘Jean-Michel,’ Cordae is sputtering his thoughts, talking about how his old life compares to his new life; at one point, he even references the fact he is an overthinker and how he hopes this trait of his helps him sell music since he needs to get these thoughts out of his head. This track is one long verse without much structure or reason; it feels as much like a poem as it does a song. Even though there is not much of an actual meaning to the song, it does show how great of a lyricist he Cordae can be, as he flexes his verbal catalog. This song also demonstrates how nice Cordae’s flows can be. ‘Jean-Michel’ is the kind of song that makes me remember why I originally liked Cordae so much in the first place.
‘Super’ was the lead single that was dropped in anticipation for this record back in October of 2021. ‘Super’ has the typical Pop-Trap banger feeling to it. The instrumental is extremely catchy and has a club hit feeling to it, and Cordae goes with one of his most catchy flows on this track to make it a total earworm. ‘Super’ is not one of Cordae’s deepest self-reflective songs; this one is all about flexing, as Cordae wants to show off how fast he has risen in Hip Hop in such a short amount of time. ‘Super’ is not the kind of song that one would typically expect from Cordae, and it is exciting how well it works. When I first heard this song, it actually made me very excited to hear the new album. It is not the kind of thing that Cordae usually does, and I was excited to hear him go down a completely different lane. As we know from the rest of the record, this adventure did not exactly work out the best. ‘Super’ is a song that shows Cordae can do well at making this kind of music, and I hope he does not completely abandon it in the future.
Sinister feat. Lil Wayne
If you are a Hip Hop fan who loves bars and flows, this is the song for you. ‘Sinister’ does not have the kind of instrumental that is going to draw a listener in. This track has a pretty simple Trap instrumental that is meant to just be in the background as a beat for these two rappers to try to outdo each other on. Cordae grew up listening to and idolizing Lil Wayne, so he knew he would have to do his best to go toe to toe with him. And Cordae puts forth a valiant effort on ‘SInister,’ delivering bar after bar with utmost confidence and with a very catchy cadence. In a song where both artists are trying to explain why they are among the best at what they do, Cordae does his thing and stands out in a big way. Lil Wayne is still the real star of this song, though. He spazzes on this track, making me think of the late 2000s when he was in his heyday. On ‘SInister,’ Lil Wayne is successful in his mission of showing why he is one of the greatest rappers. “Sinister’ is a song where two rappers who are known for having great vocabularies and killer flows show off how great they can be when they want to be.
Chronicles feat. H.E.R. and Lil Durk
“Chronicles’ is one of the risks that Cordae took on this record which worked out in a big way. This song has a sound and style that I would not have expected to hear from Cordae, and I have to say I am glad that he went down this route. ‘Chronicles’ has an R&B Trap beat and old-school R&B melody that reminds me of music from the late 1990s and early 2000s. On this track, Cordae has to show off his singing chops. I honestly did not know he could sing like this, and I was presently surprised. This instrumental is the kind that H.E.R. Is known for killing it on, so it is no surprise that she performs well on this track. She was born for it. I love how much chemistry she had with Cordae on this song. Their voices bounce off each other’s very well. Lil Durk’s performance was a pleasant surprise. One would not expect to hear him on a song like this, and he does a great job. Every big-time feature Lil Durk does, he proves how diverse he can be with his sound. ‘Chronicles’ is the kind of risk I didn’t know Cordae would try to take, and it works well.
Champagne Glasses feat. Freddie Gibbs and Stevie Wonder
On ‘Champagne Glasses,’ Cordae takes advantage of the fact he has a legend like Stevie Wonder on the track and brings the old school funk in a big way. This song has so much soul and flavor. This instrumental brings the classic funk in a massive way. Cordae has a way of rapping that works super well over this kind of funky instrumental; his voice and flow mesh well with this kind of instrumentation. Freddie Gibbs sounds as smooth as ever on this instrumental as well. The low and raspy tone of his voice contrasts the melody of this song so well. Unfortunately, Stevie Wonder does not sing on this track, but he does deliver a cool harmonica solo. Even though Stevie Wonder did not bless the track with his vocals, ‘Champagne Glasses’ is a funky jam that brings out the best in Cordae and Freddie Gibbs.
Gifted feat. Roddy Ricch
‘Gifted’ is a track which was released back in 2020 as a single. I feel like it wasn’t originally meant for this album, and it was thrown on here as a way to re-release it. Sonically, it is probably the furthest away from anything else on this record. Even though it doesn’t fit in too well on this album, I really like this song. ‘Gifted’ has a melodic Trap sound one would probably expect to hear from Roddy Ricch on his solo music. It has a bright and vibrant R&B melody that is bound to put anyone in a good mood when they hear it. ‘Gifted’ has the kind of melody that just makes a listener smile when they hear it. ‘Gifted’ is another song where Cordae shows off how nice a singer he can be. Songs like this make me wish he would dive headfirst into the R&B Trap sub-genre some more. As I said before, this song is the type that is made for someone like Roddy Ricch, and he unsurprisingly kills it on this track as well. ‘Gifted’ is an example of how Cordae can kill it when he pushes his boundaries in the right way.