The Grammy-nominated rapper performs at Skully's on Saturday
Prior to joining the YBN collective, YBN Cordae, born Cordae Dunston in Raleigh, North Carolina, released a string of mixtapes with titles that explicitly revealed his jittery state of mind, including Anxiety, from 2014, and I’m So Anxious, from 2016.
Similar emotions swirl throughout the rapper’s 2019 debut, The Lost Boy, which earned Cordae a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album, the MC confronting depression (“No amount of likes can heal up all this pain that I’m feeling,” he confesses on “Thousand Words”) and his troubled upbringing (“Nightmares Are Real” traces the roots of his anxiety to the death of his grandmother). But where past releases sometimes felt bleak, The Lost Boy, which traces a lifetime of bumps and bruises, is cut through with at least some sunlight, Cordae gradually pivoting from his past to a comparatively wide-open future.
It’s an optimistic feeling best exhibited by the album-closing “Lost & Found,” where the rapper boasts of decking his mom out in Louis Vuitton and compares his life with the rags-to-riches tale of Will Smith’s Fresh Prince. “I had to switch up my lifestyle,” he raps, and both the song and album document this payoff. “Yeah, I was a lost boy, now I’m found,” Cordae beams.