Rashad’s Records: Cordae doesn’t show great amount of growth on sophomore album ‘From A Birds Eye View’

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Photo by Josh Meitz

“From a Bird’s Eye View” released Jan. 14.

Since the release of his debut album “The Lost Boy” in June 2019, Maryland rapper Cordae’s career and personal life has already had big changes. He has been nominated for two Grammys and dropped the YBN from his name after the group disbanded. Now, two years after his debut album, he returns with his sophomore project, “From A Bird’s Eye View.”

When Cordae announced the release date of the project would be Jan. 14, he released a video presenting the album in a Steve Jobs homage, where he presents his new project in a similar style as Jobs. He even wore a black turtleneck and blue jeans, just like the late founder of Apple wore. This trailer made me excited for the album’s release, as Cordae’s unique way to announce the project built more anticipation.

However, upon listening to “From A Bird’s Eye View,” the excitement I was looking for was nowhere to be found.

Usually when I hear a really good album, the first few tracks are the ones that really draw me to the project. However, the first five tracks weren’t really anything special. I feel like Cordae’s flow doesn’t really change throughout the songs, and the production is kind of bland and doesn’t really stick with me. His first album’s production was a lot more diverse and engaging, where his new album just sounds like the same song 14 times.

I did like the fourth track, “Momma’s Hood,” where he mentions his story of dropping out of college to pursue his rap career.

The smartest n**** who had dropped out / F*** your graduation / I think that s*** a f***** scam / Somebody had to say it,” raps the 24-year-old, who previously went to Towson University. 

The album does have some high points — mostly the features. Lil Durk, Gunna, Lil Wayne, H.E.R. and the legendary Stevie Wonder make appearances on the project. I feel like all the features played their role well on the songs and were overall the focal point of the album for me.

A song with Lil Durk and Cordae was a collaboration I generally didn’t expect considering their different styles, but it actually worked out with the melodies of H.E.R. on “Chronicles.”

I think the best feature of the album was Freddie Gibbs on “Champagne Glasses.” Gibbs and Cordae are both known for their lyricism and seeing them go back to back on a song really kept me engaged while listening to the track.

While Cordae had a successful debut with “The Lost Boy,” his style hasn’t really changed in the nearly two years since that album. While his lyricism is still some of the best in hip hop, it all just sounds the same. I just don’t see a whole lot of replay value with “From A Bird’s Eye View.” It seems like he thought he could do the same things he did on his debut album with his new project, but it only holds him back from growing as an artist. He has a lot of potential to be a star within the industry, but I think Cordae needs to find different sounds within his music to make that push. Also, waiting to drop a new album after nearly three years made it seem like this album was going to be worth the wait. Unfortunately, it the project just didn’t live to the expectations I hoped for.

I rate Cordae’s “From A Bird’s Eye View” a five out of 10. My favorite songs were “Today” with Gunna and “Chronicles” with H.E.R. and Lil Durk.

This story was written by Rashad Alexander. He can be reached at rashad.alexander@marquette.edu.