Cordae is an artist who’s shown plenty of promise and talent throughout his short career, his debut album ‘The Lost Boy’ introduced him to the world and put him on the map with two Grammy nominations. One for Best Rap Album and another for Best Rap Song for 'Bad Idea' featuring Chance the Rapper. Although his time in the limelight so has been full of accolades and praise from peers and award shows, there’s always been a question mark over Cordae’s head as to whether he can fully unlock his undoubted lyrical talent and use it as a tool to create a truly timeless album, which he attempts to do on his latest record.
‘From A Bird's Eye View’ has a solid enough concept throughout, right from the jump it's clear this is going to be a journey of growth and self-discovery for Cordae. The album kicks off fully with ‘Jean Michel’ in which Cordae immediately flexes his lyrical prowess he’s so well known for whilst sombrely reflecting on some of the mistakes he’s made in the past, “Things I could’ve done better it lies in my conscious and I'll never forget it, I’m my worst critic” he raps apologetically. While the album is serious in tone throughout, there are a few bangers sprinkled throughout like ‘Superbowl’. Cordae’s braggadocios bars matched with his relentlessly breath-taking and catchy flow make for a nice change of pace amongst the slower tracks of the album.
There are some moments where the production takes centre stage and 'Want From Me' hosts the most memorable beat by far. The glossy soulful production sits beautifully behind Cordae’s smooth laid-back vocals as he discusses the duality of man and women with a passionate delivery. Unfortunately, as the album progresses some tracks miss the mark. Sadly, on 'C Carter' Cordae’s performance is dull and the song comes across as one dimensional with the lyrics and production being just as forgettable. Comparisons between Cordae and J Cole are often made but this track sounds like something J Cole would’ve left off ‘The Off Season’.
Luckily, the album really picks up towards the final three tracks. Cordae manages to hold his own on ‘Sinister’ but Lil Wayne, who’s been on a sensational feature run the past year, really steals the show. 'Chronicles' gives us Cordae in a light we haven’t seen before, attempting a more melodic, R&B inspired sound which surprisingly comes off fantastically well and is a standout moment on the album. Cordae’s voice is filled with personality and confidence over the guitar sample laced throughout the track and he sounds completely at home while harmonising with an incredible vocalist in H.E.R on the chorus.
As the album comes to a close with 'Westlake High' Cordae begins to accept the fact that nothing will ever be perfect, “I want to apologise in advice for the mistakes I'm bound to make”. The track has a triumphant atmosphere as it seems Cordae has finally found acceptance within himself. It’s a perfect outro to the album, reflecting on some of the journeys and experiences Cordae’s detailed throughout the project.
While 'From A Bird's Eye View' has some amazing moments of storytelling and technical rapping, unfortunately, it doesn’t quite live up to the incredibly high expectations Cordae has set for himself. It’s still an impressive album, there are some stellar highlights but it doesn’t quite have enough momentum to push it all the way through. It might not be remembered as the moment where Cordae realised his astronomical potential but it’s still a solid addition to his discography and undoubtedly more unforgettable than his debut.
Words: Chris Saunders
Click HERE for an extensive Q&A with Cordae on the making of 'From A Birds Eye View'.
- - -
- - -