Storytelling school

The Republic of Minnesota | Cordae’s second album: a great example of good storytelling in rap

Debuting January 14, Cordae’s second album features appearances from Gunna and Lil Durk, and even established industry heavyweights like Eminem and Stevie Wonder. The scrapbook, From a bird’s eye view, consists of 14 tracks in total, with an intro track and an interlude, totaling 12 real songs. Ahead of the project’s official release, Cordae teased fans with singles “Super” and “Gifted” featuring Roddy Ricch, which were released on October 7, 2021 and August 27, respectively. Both tracks have over three million plays on YouTube alone.

Cordae’s second album, and first since leaving the YBN label, From a bird’s eye view offers fans an intimate look at the evolution of the MC’s psyche over the past two years. The intro track features Cordae’s childhood friend Shiloh freestyling on the phone via a collect call while incarcerated. On the track “Momma’s Hood”, Cordae reflects on the death of his close friend due to recent gun violence, and later dedicates the project to his late grandmother, who appeared on his debut album. The honesty and humanity of Cordae are found throughout the project with the song of the young woman of 24 years: “What do you want from me? What do you need? I’m just a human baby and we’re all bleeding.

What do you want from me? What do you need? I’m just a human baby and we all bleed”

—Cordae

On the night of the album’s release, Cordae took to social media to ask fans to listen to his album “the way it was meant to be heard”, without “pauses, skips or interruptions”. In the same way as his freshman album, From a bird’s eye view is a cohesive project both sonically and thematically, yet features an evolution of sound and message over its approximately forty-minute runtime.

Opening tracks “Jean-Michel” and “Momma’s Hood” provide listeners with gritty instrumentals with equally demanding lyrics, describing Cordae’s past circumstances and experiences in Maryland. On the track, “Jean-Michel” Cordae describes the vicious cycle of crime and poverty that plagued him at a young age. “On the brink of extinction, determined to survive, this life is a continuous cycle, consider this a venomous haiku, this ain’t a nigga verse and I’ve dealt with the worst niggas before, the guy stole your fuck it and search with you.

Midway through the project, the sound slowly begins to evolve, with more pop and uplifting beats with lyrics about making money. “I remember I ain’t got shit, I was broke as f**k, put that shit in the past tense, check my Jag shades, I had to run n***a can’t live average” , raps Cordae on the track “Today” featuring Gunna.The album’s midsection depicts Cordae’s journey to the top of the new school of hip hop, from his time at YBN to meeting his girlfriend, Naomi Osaka. The MC references their low-key romance on the track ‘Chronicles’ with HER and Lil Durk, rapping, ‘I’ve traveled to these crossroads, gotta compromise but it’s a small toll, crazy when we met for the first time we were lost souls, but i know i have to grow up.

I’ve traveled these crossroads, I have to compromise but it’s a small toll, crazy when we first met we were lost souls, but I know I have to grow”

—Cordae

My favorite cut of the project is hands down “C Carter”, which comes in at track number eight, halfway through the album. The song features an infectious beat and hook, kicking off the middle section of the album that I’ve dubbed the “celebration portion.” On the track, Cordae sings “I used to dream about a Dodge Charger, sat on 24s, tried to get a job, but damn why bother, being broke can make you try harder. ” This song is full of good vibes and cultural references that remind us all of simpler times.

I used to dream of a Dodge Charger, sat on 24s, tried to get a job, but damn why bother, being broke can make you try harder”

—Cordae

Entering the third and final section of the project, listeners are treated to features from industry heavyweights like Lil Wayne, Eminem, and Stevie Wonder. These high-profile appearances are paired with soulful beats and references to the old hip hop adage coined by the Notorious BIG, “mo money, mo problems.” On the track “Champagne Glasses,” featuring Stevie Wonder and Freddie Gibs, Cordae recounts what it took to get to the top and reminds listeners that fame isn’t all it seems. “I have my, my aunt, my brothers, my dad, my cousin, backstage passes, everyone celebrating with their glasses of champagne, I’m just sitting there full of pain as I tour the country , I thought the stress-free life was going to come with the money.”

Cordae’s second album, From a bird’s eye view, is a complex and comprehensive listening experience from start to finish, and is best enjoyed in its original order and in a single listening session. Interested in hearing Cordae play the project live? You’re in luck ! He will be in Minneapolis on March 1, performing at First Avenue in their main venue. Be sure to get your tickets now, previous tour dates are already sold out! I hope I will see you there.