Even in a crowded field, Maryland’s Cordae has been a frontrunner among gifted Gen-Z lyricists in recent years. From his emergence in 2017, the rapper has worked with all of the greats – especially Dr. Dre, who’s taken the young protegé under his wing. And after his critically acclaimed first album ‘The Lost Boy’ (2019), which hosted a few of his more memorable hits (such as as the Anderson .Paak collaboration ‘RNP’), there was still room for the musically sound rapper to grow. On his latest feat ‘From A Birds Eye View’, the 24-year-old truly finds his pocket.
The album’s jazzy tone allows the Gold-selling artist to show off. Whether he’s singing his heart out like he’s on Soul Train on ‘Want From Me’ or spitting murderous rhymes with one of his idols, Lil Wayne (who doesn’t let him down), on ‘Sinister’, this album finds him leaps and bound ahead of its peers. The highlight of the whole record, however, are the two collaborations that appear near the end: ‘Chronicles’, featuring H.E.R and Lil Durk, and ‘Champagne Glasses’ featuring Stevie Wonder and Freddie Gibbs.
The former perfectly blends his bluntness with the H.E.R’s sense of serenity, while ‘Champagne Glasses’ proves that Cordae is here to stay as he goes toe-to-toe with the hugely respected Gibbs. On a stellar verse, Gibbs celebrates his own longevity: “Crackers don’t understand nothin’, can never, they treat us like cargo, they stashed us / I just sit back and get high and I just think ’bout how long this rap shit gon’ last us.”
Lead single ‘Super’ is the outlier here. Understanding his role as the bridge between the old and new schools of the rapping world, Cordae has crafted a head-jerker with deeply evocative wordplay and metaphors. The muted production takes a backseat to his sticky flow and confident rhymes: ‘They tried to question my character / Young, rich, and Black / They hate me in America’.
This is an album to give you goosebumps, as Cordae sets glorious tales to nostalgic hip-hop sounds, crafting three-minute bursts of quality. The older generation may wish to cast doubt on younger artists, but he breathes hope into the continuation of hip-hop with his imaginative, playful flows. ‘From A Birds Eye View’ is a true delight, revealing greater depth with each listen, and Cordae truly seems to be having fun while proving he’s here to stay.
Release date: January 14
Record label: Atlantic