Cordae’s honest take on success | “From A Bird’s Eye View”

In 2019, Cordae made a strong impression with the critically acclaimed Lost Boy. Lyrical, modern and still bearing the traits of tradition, the MC imposed himself as an one of the few artists able to bridge the gap between different generations, getting accolades from elders and his contemporaries. With From A Bird’s Eye View, Cordae releases an effort inspired, on many points, by his arrival to new heights.

Cordae’s Lyrics: Power of Relatability

 « But I could tell you what I seen or what I lived, it’s up to you
Or let my brother tell the story from a bird’s-eye view » Shiloh’s Intro

A common denominator shared by hip-hop greats is the power of relatability. He leads the listeners in his personal stories. In that spirit and much like in Lost Boy, Cordae brings a great level of transparency in his new effort.

Coupled with his ability to come up with great lines, relatability becomes the driving force behind some of the best songs of the album such as the remorseful « Momma’s Hood » or the contemplative « C Carter ».

« I keep it real and that’s what people admire » Want From Me

To listen to Cordae is also to be introduced to a gallery of people from his inner-circle. Unfortunately when it comes to the rapper’s loved ones, pain is never too far. From the start, we get introduced to his brother Shiloh who raps from prison on the intro, « Momma’s Hood » was created a day after the passing of his friend Juwan Ross. Moreover, the MC dedicates this album to his late grandmother (who sang on his first album’ skits). In substance, what transpires in Cordae‘s work is a strong sense of survivor’s guilt but also his sincere amazement at success.

I MADE IT: Cordae’s Lift Off

« I used to dream about a new Hummer
Back when G.O.O.D. Music dropped Cruel Summer
Back when ni***s wondered if I’d do numbers
Check the stats, boy, a ni**a doing huge numbеrs » C Carter

Through this project you’ll never escape the fact that Cordae has moved to a different tax bracket. You’ll see it through his bars, his prestigious features (from Lil Wayne to Stevie Wonder and Eminem on a bonus track) but also through a few songs as well … and it’s not always for the best. At times, tracks like « Super » or « Today » seem to invade the album’s course. If they efficiently tap into hip-hop’s zeitgeist, they fail to transcend it.

On the other hand, the bluesy « Chronicles » (featuring H.E.R and Lil’ Durk) gathers all the ingredients of a great single, it showcases Cordae’s versatility behind the mic to a great extent. Melancholic, easy to sing along but still truthful, « Chronicles » proves that the rapper has great paths and spectrums to explore in the future.

Westlake High: Looking back, From A Bird’s Eye View.

« I went to Westlake High where death rates rise
And some people go on to waste the rest they lives
I go back every now and then to check they vibes
The rest of my classmates workin’ tech-based jobs »

After an intense journey, Cordae takes it back to his teenage years for the outro « Westlake High ». Named after the high school he attented as a youth, « Westlake High » encompasses the rapper’s very strength, it is modern and nostalgic. On the irresistible sample of Linda Jones’s « What’ve I Done », Cordae pauses and reflects before dedicating his album to his grandmother. In a way, the MC channels the spirit behind great outros that we’ve heard from legends such as Kanye West (« Last Call »), Drake (« Look What’ve You Done ») or J.Cole (« Note To Self »).

From A Bird’s Eye View provides enough strong moments to confirm Cordae’s ambitions as an artist. If at times the album tends to be less transcendent, it won’t turn us away from the fact that the MC, as he says it, is “gonna be here for a long time”.

Alfred Dilou

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