At the beginning of 2019, YBN Cordae was on everyone's Artists to Watch list, and now, the rapper has officially released his debut full-length studio album, The Lost Boy — and it's been a journey to get to this point for the 21-year-old, born Cordae Amari Dunston.
A part of the YBN collective,YBN Cordae helped drop YBN: The Mixtape back in September 2018, and first gained notoriety with his response to J. Cole's "1985" called "Old N*****" and then went viral with his remix of Eminem's "My Name Is." At the end of July, he finally dropped The Lost Boy, a 15-track studio album showcasing features from artists including Chance the Rapper, Anderson .Paak, Ty Dolla $ign, Pusha T, Meek Mill and Arin Ray.
Cordae tells iHeartRadio of the meaning behind his album title and how the project came together, "The title Lost Boy really just came from I was at a point in time in my life, really, like, last year, while creating this project. I did feel like I was lost or still finding myself. I'm still learning new things about myself; my weaknesses, my strengths as a human being while going through a bunch of seasonal changes and just regular life sh*t that everybody goes through, whether it's loss, whether it's stress, struggles." He adds, "Putting together The Lost Boy, that was it. It came together effortlessly. It just was a creative zone. I'm always recording. I've been recording nonstop [over] the last year with the project in mind, but I didn't start making music like ... I got the name of the project, I got the idea in December, so we probably cut 50 or 60 songs, and just put it together in one cohesive project with the whole concept."
To intro his new album, "Have Mercy" became the lead single, and the song sums up the meaning behind The Lost Boy. Cordae tells us of the song, "The song 'Have Mercy' ... man, that sh*t means f***ing everything to me. I love that song, because it sort of exemplifies The Lost Boy and what most of us, as humans and people, are. The lyrics are just so true to myself and to my situation; 'I don't know where I'm goin'/ But I hope I'm on the right path.' You know, I'm just winging this life sh*t. I don't know what the f*** I'm doing. I just hope, that I'm walking the path that I'm supposed to be going."
The rapper adds, "'Life'll hit you with a light jab/ Mike Tyson, strike back,' like I took Ls [losses]. I had to bounce back. Your Ls build character. Sometimes, you just gotta look to higher power, you know, to God, to Jesus or whoever you believe in. That's where I was in life when I created that song. That was just the best thing, 'cause the lyrics are just so profound to my situation and what I was going through. I just feel like it's relatable, but in an organic way. Because I don't know where I'm going, but I hope I'm on the right path — The Lost Boy — It just exemplifies it."
Cordae describes the songs on The Lost Boy as "so many different moods and so many different vibes and emotions throughout" the album, but what he wants fans to take away from the record is a picture of who he is. He explains, "The things that I want fans to know about me and my music is that it's more so about me, it's just all authentic; I'm just expressing my truth, my realities. I'm not portraying something that I'm not. And mainly my emotions, how I feel at that time, how me seeing certain situations inspire me to come up with creative songs, whether it's just real life situations with me and my family, things that I've witnessed, things that I've gone through personally."
The rapper adds, "My fans are like my family, a part of my family. We connect. Our energies are aligned. And, mainly, I just took my time with this. I put a lot of grind, late nights, a lot of hard work into this. I put my all into this sh*t. Everything's on the line. I'm very vulnerable on this project."