YBN Cordae's "The Lost Boy" Album Review

By Sandra Reyes

Courtesy of Genius.com

Courtesy of Genius.com

Baltimore, Maryland native YBN Cordae has gained some much-deserved recognition this past year.

After his track “Old N****s”—a remix to J. Cole’s “1985,” an assumed diss track by Cole to new generation rappers, dropped last year—Cordae began to create buzz. The track, initially perceived as a diss track aimed at J. Cole and other older rappers, was actually just the opposite. Cordae had a louder message: People in his generation can rap, and he planned to prove it. Cordae did just that. Cordae’s “1985” remix got the attention of some of music’s biggest names, including J. Cole himself and even Dr. Dre. 

YBN Cordae’s new album, “The Lost Boy,” delivers a style of rapping that combines old school and new school in an unexpected way. “Wintertime” is the first track on the album, and it outlines his struggles with money and addiction as a young rapper. 

Many of his tracks feature sounds from a piano, saxophone, choir, and even Cordae, proving that he also has a smooth singing voice. The album has skits, something that’s rarely used nowadays, and they tie the album together as a fun, not too serious project. 

Cordae keeps his range fairly similar throughout the first few tracks, and he’s able to match Chance the Rapper’s flow perfectly on “Bad Idea.” The next track, titled “RNP,” features Anderson .Paak and is far more upbeat and playful than what we’ve heard so far. Other features include Ty Dolla $ign, Meek Mill, and Pusha T, which all prove that this 21-year-old shows some serious promise in the rap game.

“Broke As Fuck” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. We catch a glimpse of how rough Cordae has had it through the lyrics: “Grandma passed, had a heart attack, only 62 / My cousin shot, got me paranoid, who to trust or not / Gave my brother 25 years, that really sucked a lot.” These are more serious topics, and Cordae incorporates them into a faster flow with a beat that uses more trap drums for sound. The song is essentially him reminiscing about his childhood, and eventually wraps up with a lyric that sums up where he is now: “Premonitions over reminiscing / Lamb’ truck how I lane switch (ah),” depicting in the shortest lyric how different his life is now versus two years ago.

“Thousand Words” is one of the most lyrically considerate songs on the album. The track has the ability to reach millions of people based solely on these lyrics: “But no amount of likes can heal up all this pain that I'm feeling / Maybe conceal it, and hide in all these problems we deal with.” In just a few lines, Cordae tackles something a lot of us struggle with head-on; the song paints a perfect picture of the infatuation younger generations have with social media and being liked, all the while admitting to how much harm it causes. The song is a perfect choice for Cordae, especially considering his rap career blew up because of social media. 

Needless to say, Cordae knows exactly where he stands in the rap game. His song “Lost & Found,” which sums up the whole album with lyrics like, “I am just another rebel rappin’/ But that studio time lead to Louis Vuitton / That I just bought for my mom,” shows that he knows he has a unique style and is not afraid to show it off.  

YBN Cordae has successfully proved that old school and new school can be combined to make a unique sound. “The Lost Boy” is unlike many hip-hop albums you hear today. The flow is different, the lyrics may be more relatable to more people, and the overall feel of the album leaves you wanting more. (Which is why we linked the album below. Enjoy!)