I can’t lie, Cordae’s marketing team did a good job promoting this album man. Once I saw the album anouncement video, I was sold. I was going to press play on this album whether it was good or bad. Marketing aside though, Cordae’s debut album “The Lost Boy” was solid and I was interested in seeing what his follow up to that would sound like. With that said, here is day four’s album review of Cordae’s “From a Birds Eye View”.
*Disclaimer: For the purposes of this review, I’m only going to talk about Disc 1 of the album. Disc 2 is still good but it’s two bonus tracks that seems a bit out of sync from the original 12 songs on Disc 1. *
Cordae starts off the album with a recorded call from someone in that’s in prison (who I would assume is Shiloh) and Shiloh just starts rapping for real. Normally I hate when a rapper isn’t the first to rap on their own album, but this seems to have sentimental value and it set the tone for the perspective that Cordae highlights as a theme throughout.
Cordae continues on with the initial set tone on an introspective record. He talks about experiences that a lot of people can resonate with all while rapping from a reflective standpoint. Similar to the album title, it feels as if he’s rapping from a birds eye view.
“You lust for power too much
And it’s getting worse
The more you get, the more that you’ll desire, can’t quench your thirst”
Cordae’s in his flex bag with this one. From being able to text names like Jack Dorsey (co-founder of Twitter) to being in a Pepsi Superbowl commercials, Cordae’s got some accolades. He’s letting the world know he’s in big stepper mode now and he’s got the rapping ability to back it. I didn’t necessarily love the video but it’s a great song.
Cordae is showing out again here. He changes his cadence and flow throughout the song and showcases a presents some reflective story-telling. What I will say though is something about this song reminds me of Cole. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, but the way in which the story was told reminds me of him.
“Caught up in a matrix, shit I had to find a way out
Lost too many niggas, swear this shit is gettin’ played out
Student loan forgiveness, all my debt was finally paid out
Appreciate this shit because the gutter, I come straight out”
This song seems to be Cordae’s reflection on the current generation and its approach to relationships. He addresses what he feels we do now, what we’ve lost sight of and some aspects of how things were before. He also seems to be contemplating if he does enough for his girl in their relationship. That part could be a reach, but that’s the impression I get from the hook.
Cordae didn’t want us to think he was sweet* so he followed up the last record with “Today”. This was that “chase the bag” music mixed in with grade school references. Gunna’s actually a great feature for this song and the timing to have it couldn’t be better (Gunna’s on fire right now). Gunna’s rapping style, delivery and subject matter all contrasts Cordae’s and that makes for a fun listening experience. This is the tun up* record on the album for sure.
Shiloh’s Interlude is the midway point in the album. It’s a call back to the intro where Shiloh raps and explains the theme of the album. It’s like a quick reminder that brings you back to the overall theme of the album again.
I can’t lie, this is one of those songs that you get from someone that’s studied Cole. I’m not saying it’s identical or gimmicky but it definitely has that Cole feel to it. From the beat to the content of the record it sounds Cole inspired. That’s all okay though. Cordae grew up on Cole like a lot of other people and he still found a way to make the record his own. Who else do you know that’s in this lane at his age and doing this?
Listen if you just wanna know if this guy can rap or not for real, look no further than “Sinister”. Cordae and Wayne just go off man. It’s a nice old and young generation collab that really works. To me, this is really the standout record on the album.
On a separate note, everything Hit-Boy touches right now is gold man. This beat’s fire for real.
See this is like one of the fire tracks that rappers make for you to play with a shorty around. To me this is in that lane of Cole or Chance the Rapper love songs that I aren’t necessarily for me, but a much stronger version of them. The hook’s sentimental but it’s not done in a way that feels corny. The H.E.R. and Lil Durk features were actually perfect. This song is solid yo.
This is a more laid-back beat which makes sense following a song like “Chronicles”. It’s an introspective hip-hop record, which usually means the beat isn’t made for you to necessarily party to. Now I don’t think this is the best Freddie Gibbs verse I’ve heard, but I do think that he showed some versatility here. You wouldn’t normally expect him to be on a beat like this and for that I still rate the feature.
This right here is a solid hip-hop album outro. The flow, the content, his cadence and the production issolid. I’m not saying those are the only criteria but those are some of things I believe need to be at least present on the beginning and end of a solid hip-hop album. Not every rapper raps on their album outros these days but I’m glad Cordae did.
To me, this is where the album ends. The other songs on Disc 2 feel more like bonus tracks. They aren’t bad songs, I just think they’re on Disc 2 because they don’t necessarily flow with the rest of the album and Cordae knew that. However, Eminem, Roddy Ricch and Ant Clemons are all featured on Disc 2 so it’s definitely worth a listen.
Overall, I think this was a solid album from Cordae. I still liked his debut a bit more but this album is far from a “sophomore slump”. If anything, this album reassured me that what I thought about him as a rapper from “The Lost Boy” still holds true. This guy can rap and to be honest, I think he fits right in that J. Cole lane but for the new generation of rappers. At some point, people will step in for Cole, Drake and Kendrick and currently, Cordae’s looking like he’s aligned nicely to be one of the people to do it.
Sweet – to be soft or weak (I believe the use of the word starting in Chicago)
A Bag – A substantial amount of money/currency
Tun Up – To turn Up, to party, to celebrate