Childhood & Early Life
YBN Cordae was born on August 26, 1997, in Raleigh, North Carolina. He, along with his family, moved to Suitland, Maryland when he was ten years old.
As he was growing up, he was exposed to rap music from the 1990s and 2000s because of his father, who would listen to the likes of Nas, Rakim, Big L, and Talib Kweli around Cordae, effectively helping him develop a sophisticated taste in music. In later years, his career would be highly inspired by the tracks he listened to with his father.
He first started composing rap tracks after he turned 15. Initially, it was just another hobby, something that he pursued in his free time. Inspired by the countless hours he spent with his father listening to old songs, he would go online and conduct thorough researches on specific artists on YouTube in order to locate more music by those artists and “get lost” in the recommended section.
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As Cordae got older, a desire to pursue a career in the music industry started to solidify within him. During this period, as he was still in school, his education also required his attention. The time he spent writing lyrics would often drastically shorten the time he had for his studies.
Using the professional name Entendre, he released the mixtape ‘Anxiety’ in 2014. At the time, he was affiliated with the independent music label N.A.G.E. He had previously worked on a couple of singles and videos but ‘Anxiety’ was his first mixtape. It is comprised of 13 tracks, including ‘Life’, ‘Genesis’, ‘Questions’, ‘Explanations’, ‘Adrenaline’, ‘Down and Out’, ‘Text Back’, ‘Sucker for Love’, ‘Wonders’, and ‘Not Good Enough’.
In 2016, he put out his second mixtape, ‘I’m So Anxious’. Also featuring the likes of WillThaRapper, Jon Bartley, and Zoe Stream, the sophomore mixtape was bigger than the previous one and contained 17 tracks, including ‘Pressure’, ‘Gone’, ‘Make It Easy’, ‘About Me’, ‘Dying’, ‘Never’, ‘Can’t Take It’, ‘All I Ask’, ‘3 A.M. Thoughts’, ‘Hideaway’, ‘Break Up’, ‘Can’t Breath’, I Feel Good’, ‘2 Worlds’, and ‘The Jungle’.
His third mixtape, ‘I’m So Anonymous’, was released on August 9, 2017 and is comprised of 15 tracks: ‘Long Nights’, ‘All That Glitters’, ‘Bestfriend’, ‘Rock Bottom’, ‘Running Away’, ‘Come Thru’,’Price Tags’, ‘Rap Politicians’, ‘Tough Decisions’, ‘Nervous’, ‘Identity Crisis’, ‘Outro’, ‘Story’, Like Woah’, and ‘2 Worlds pt. 2’.
After graduating from high school in 2015, Cordae had started attending Towson University in Maryland. However, he eventually dropped out in 2018, stating that the college felt “bigger than him”. He was a first generation student and had enrolled there to make his mother happy. Afterwards, he left Maryland for Los Angeles, California.
By early 2018, his interest in building a career as a hip hop artist had increased exponentially. Los Angeles always has had a thriving hip hop culture and it did not take Cordae long to immerse himself into it. While, at the time, he was not putting out any new music, he started associating with YBN Nahmir and YBN Almighty, whom he originally became acquainted with on Xbox Live.
He regarded Nahmir and Almighty as his brothers and was already part of the group in all but name. According to Cordae, the only thing that prevented Nahmir and Almighty from making him an official member of YBN was the fact that his social media handles were still in the name of Entendre. Thus, he changed his stage name to YBN Cordae.
As YBN Cordae, he put out the track ‘Introduction to the World’, a remix of Eminem’s 1999 song ‘My Name Is’, in May 2018 through WorldStarHipHop. Later, he put out ‘Old Niggas’, a response track to J. Cole’s ‘1985’.
He also released two other singles, ‘Fighting Temptations’ and ‘Kung Fu’ in 2018. In June, during an interview with the musical group L.A. Leakers, he performed freestyles over beats like Kendrick Lamar's ‘DUCKWORTH’, Lil Pump's ‘Esskeetit’, and Method Man & Redman's ‘Da Rockwilder’. The video of the performance went viral, effectively introducing Cordae to a wider audience.
He appeared at the Rolling Loud music festival and performed alongside Nahmir and Almighty. This was reportedly his first stage performance. They also made an appearance at the 2018 XXL Freshman Show in New York where Nahmir was inducted into the yearly freshman class.
Cordae is set to be a part of Juice Wrld’s North American WRLD Domination tour. The tour is set to reach 28 different cities. The roster of the tour also includes Lil Mosey and Blake. As a member of YBN, he is also set for an upcoming European tour.