YBN’s Cordae & Almighty Jay Interview: Speak Crafting’YBN: The Mixtape,’ & Mac Miller’s Death
YBN is now hip-hop’s newest fast-rising neophyte collective that is looking to follow in the footsteps of several legendary rap crews who’ve altered the genre’s landscape . “Young Boss N–” is obscured from the contrasting personalities of Nahmir, Almighty Jay along with the current inclusion of burgeoning Maryland-bred rapper Cordae, who joined the squad this past year.
Another step in cementing their ascension came with the launch of YBN Cordae Type Beat 2018: The Mixtape earlier this month (Sept. 7), a melting pot job that sees each of the YBN celebrities stepping around to showcase their distinctive ability through a range of previously published bangers weaved between fresh tunes to constitute the 23-track work.
“I fuck with the fact that everybody in A$AP Mob does something different. That is kind of like us. In YBN, most of us have our very own lanes,” the 21-year-old Cordae tells Billboard. “We are not always a group. We’re more of a collective — it’s like a movement. It is like a brotherhood out music and everything has been organic.”
Pay attention to the remainder of our talk with YBN’s Almighty Jay and Cordae as the talented duo dishes onto a great number of topics, including crafting their introduction mixtape, MGK’s feud with Eminem, the loss of Mac Miller, what is in store for the future, and much more.
YBN Nahmir wasn’t present for this particular interview because of illness.
Billboard: What was the creative process such as when putting the mixtape together?
Almighty JayWe did not plan it out like,”Oh, we are going to use this for the tape.” We went into the studio and made audio. Most of them we guessed to just put them on there since we have not dropped a lot of music recently. Basically, we just made a lot of music that way and kept piling it up. We listened to all of the music and then decided what we really wanted to be on there.
YBN Cordae: The mixtape was pretty much finished before I arrived around. I only added in some songs I felt full of the missing pieces of the undertaking. “Goal” was one of those songs with a different sound. I wished to complement them well. The intro has Jay and Nahmir storytelling so I came in with the storytelling too. I didn’t wish to go overboard.
Cordae, you detailed a scary experience with authorities on”Target.” Why did you want to speak about this?
YBN Cordae: Because it’s based on a true story. I was in school and driving but that I did not know my license has been suspended. It was homecoming weekend so that I had five of my homies in the auto. I just wanted to put that into song form and believed that was the perfect way to express how I felt. It made me realize so many experiences are like this.
I ended up not getting booked. He realized we’re going to school and a bunch of 18-year-olds. I had to go to court to get this and it was a huge inconvenience because I had three distinct court dates. It was dreadful.
Did you guys have a hard time working with each other and deciding what ultimately made the cassette?
Almighty Jay: Yeah, I figure they say I am hard to manage. They are constantly trying to tell me what I want to be shifting with my music and I just tell them,”Nah.” I will change it sometimes but it comes out fire. I don’t write nothing. Everything is a freestyle. I really don’t enjoy composing music.
YBN Cordae: That is his lifestyle, simply wing it. Nearly all my shit is composed. I’ll freestyle the flows or first four pubs to get a hook and then I kind of get my inspiration from this. I freestyled the hook to”Target.” I received to cadence and then it sparked the idea. I will freestyle the leaks because that comes naturally but I simply plug in the phrases and write.
Walk me through how”Alaska” came together, Cordae.
YBN Cordae: This was initially a throwaway track. It fit really well on the mixtape. I shot the movie with Cole Bennett. He hit me up the day of and was like,”I have a free afternoon, do you want to shoot a movie?” I rocked with him to knock it out with this double-time flow. Mike Dean produced it. Him and a 14-year-old named Maddox, who is his protege. I moved to his house in Los Angeles and he cooked this up. I freestyled the whole song out the next verse.
What would you both think of Machine Gun Kelly’s”Rap Devil” diss track firing back at Eminem?
YBN Cordae: When he dropped I was like,”You’re fucking mad bro.” But if you really feel like that is what you have to do, then take action. Always go with your instinct. The diss is hard. I think it was fire. This really is a great factor for Machine Gun Kelly. I would be very happy as shit when Eminem dissed me. He made lots of good points on the market. That is what Eminem does with beef. I want to hear what he’s got to say. I don’t believe he was expecting an answer. You have ta be crazy to want beef with Eminem and MGK is that.
Almighty Jay: I listened to”Rap Devil” and enjoyed it. I haven’t listened to his music really but he knows how to knock his ass off.
Did any collectives already in hip-hop inspire you men to come along?
YBN Cordae: Professional Era and Oddfuture were enormous. A$AP Mob a small too. I fuck with the simple fact that everyone in A$AP Mob does something different. That’s kind of like us. In YBN, most of us have our own lanes. A$AP Rocky is a style icon, [A$AP Ferg] kills the rapping, Yams was the mastermind behind the whole thing. With Oddfuture, just to see exactly what [Tyler, the Creator] is doing, [Frank Ocean] is performing, that which Earl was performing. That is what we’re attempting to create.
You took shots sneakers designed by Ian Connor through a current installment of Sneaker Shopping, even speaking to them as a”little rapey.” Did you believe that is the ideal setting for those comments?
YBN Cordae: In the close of the day, I said what I said. Looking back today, I wouldn’t have stated on camera. The final thing I need to do with my stage is celebration another young black guy who is getting money. I have no any difficulties with Lil Yachty or even Ian Connor.
What did you consider the response to your”Old N–s” track? Did you end up speaking with J. Cole?
YBN Cordae: He rocked with it and said,”It had been fire.” J. Cole is a bridge-gapper. The”Fuck J. Cole” motion was lame. He embraced it.
How was locking at the studio with Dr. Dre?
YBN Cordae: It was fire. It was at his house for 20 hours straight. I enjoy working with him because it is like moving through basketball exercises. I felt myself becoming better by the hour. [Dr. Dre’s] working with me with this solo project. That’s a mentor of mine. He had all his Grammy plaques and I have never seen one in person before which was inspirational.
What is up with the younger generation abusing their plaques? I saw Lil Xan piss on his.
YBN Cordae: I kind of get where Xan was moving with that — fuck these materialistic things in existence. It does not mean shatter or anything to himliterally.
Have you got a tough time going beyond the relationship play with Blac Chyna and turning people’s focus toward your own music?
Almighty Jay: I just keep dropping my music. I was never really concerned about it. I am an artist in the end of the day, not a soap opera[star]. I am just gonna maintain putting the [music] in their face.
– Aaron Fernandes (@AaronRFernandes) September 14, 2018
Were you Mac Miller lovers rising up?
YBN Cordae: I was a huge fan of Mac Miller. You know the best way to listen to music and you reminisce about where you were when you heard it? I simply had that a month ago with Mac when I was listening to Blue Slide Park, K.I.D.S, and Macadelic. I was a huge Mac Miller enthusiast. He was straight sick. Even going back into his old mixtapes such as The High Life. He has been in the sport since a youngin, that is how large his postage is. He grew as an artist and actually evolved each album on some funkadelic shit.
What are some of the favourite albums that motivated you from this year?
YBN Cordae: Not because they’re dead, [XXXTentacion’s?] Album was crazy. This was pure artistry. Mac Miller’s Swimming too. Cole Bennett pressed me to hear it a few weeks ago. This was fucking insane. J. Cole’s KOD Too. I enjoy Teyana Taylor’s K.T.S.E. record the best from the G.O.O.D. Music releases.
Almighty Jay: Associate II for me. I enjoy lifestyle songs, I do not get into all that lyrical shit. That is just how I am. I don’t return to follow the older shit but I like to listen to what’s presently happening.
Whose side are you currently taking for this Nicki Minaj versus Cardi B feud?
YBN Cordae: It’s on sight for them. They be more gangster than a few of these rappers. Do not sleep on Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy. “Barbie Dreams” was fire too. That was some real hip-hop shit. I like concept songs like that.
What is next for the two of you musically?
Almighty Jay: I am working on my album at this time.
YBN Cordae: I am working in a solo project that’s coming real soon too. We are not always a group. We are more of a collective — it is like a movement. It’s like a brotherhood out music and everything was organic.
Is there anything planned for the remainder of 2018?
YBN Cordae: I’m probably going to drop a couple videos. Likely a project near the end of the year or start of next year. I have so much songs. I’m only hoping to generate a timeless job.
Almighty Jay: We’re going on tour starting in Europe shortly.
YBN Cordae: I only want that”Young Boss N–s in Paris” caption out there. Before we do, I’d like to sightsee in every city we go to. That is educational. I’m gonna write about some cool shit now.
Almighty Jay: I’m attempting for the Wu-Tang Clan to come out for us. Trying to get my man Method Man to open me up.
YBN Cordae: I don’t co-sign any of this.