YBN Cordae continues to separate himself in the hip hop industry with the release of his first studio album, The Lost Boy.
It’s easy to discount an artist’s struggle when it consists of a young and tenacious Xbox Live squad whose coronation seems speedy, to say the least. Thankfully in hip-hop, timing is everything and how quickly YBN Cordae appears to have arrived is a nod to that very proverb. Throughout his debut album – although fifteen tracks deep – there is a fluid time clock that allows the listener to take a trip through different stages of his experience.
When I heard that J.Cole produced the Anderson.Paak-featured track, “RNP”, I was unprepared for the direction of the record. The almost 30-second beat buildup gives the top of the track drama, while Paak’s tone adds to the soulful aesthetic of the beat. For me, it’s one of the joyful listens of the project.
In moments like “We Gon’ Make It”, which features a vulnerable Meek Mill as he almost croons, “I could’ve died on that pavement/Every time I see my mom I be like wait a minute”, YBN Cordae separates himself from the perception of Gen Z rappers. The sound meshes old school production with the boisterous and naïve nature of his counterparts. The “Sweet Lawd” skit, that simply serves as a more gospel-inspired version of the hook from “Have Mercy”, is a properly placed pause in a composition that many may see as lengthy or overstated. In my eyes, there is no such thing as too much music – purposeful music.
The Lost Boy wraps with “Lost and Found”, whose title is self-explanatory. The song presents itself as the MC’s last laugh, as he has run away from home, promised to never go back only to return and recognize how much he cherishes those blemishes in his life that made him. The denouement wraps up a finely tuned project with another peek into the rapper’s lyrical ability.
Take a listen below on the Spotify media player.
YBN Cordae’s first studio album is not yet a marvel, but a grand entrance. It is a well-constructed “hello” into a game that takes no prisoners and wastes no time. The Lost Boy was meant to show Cordae’s textured style and truly introduce a fresh voice into a saturated industry. For me, it checks those boxes.