“I just been itchin’ to prove myself, I just pray throughout the struggle I don’t lose myself”. These words echo through Cordae’s sophomore release From A Birds Eye View, detailing an artist comfortable in his own voice and determined to grow while staying true to what he believes in. The album heralds so much sonic growth it’s easy to see how much Cordae has come into his own as an artist.
Effortlessly switching between nostalgia and flexing, we see versatility on both beat selection and his own ability to ride the rhythms of each track to bring his vision to life. Even the features on the project serve only to confirm the standard Cordae sets for himself, with contributions from H.E.R., Lil Wayne, Eminem, and even a guest harmonica solo from the legendary Stevie Wonder.
The album opener “Shiloh’s Intro” sets the tone with Cordae’s childhood friend doing a freestyle while incarcerated. The music builds to a climax as Shiloh namedrops the album before throwing us right into the smooth and soulful “Jean-Michel”. Soulful tracks like these are where the album truly shines, with Cordae flowing fluently over these boom-bap inspired beats.
While he spends time reminding us that he is in fact an avid student of classic hip-hop, he still gives us some of that braggadocios trap music on tracks like “Super” and “Today”. He may be considered an outlier on the landscape of modern mainstream trap, but he proves that he can adapt.
Ever since he exploded onto the scene in 2018 with his remix of Eminem’s “My Name Is”, Cordae has been noted for his lyricism and storytelling capabilities. Naturally, he does not hold back from showcasing this through his ability to capture his life experiences.
On “Momma’s Hood” he raps about and dedicates the song to his friend Pit, who passed away in a shootout. As he says on “Want From Me”, “I keep it real and that’s what people admire”. Cordae’s album represents a sort of victory lap based on his previous successes and, while he’s still on his way to the top, it’s great to see him acknowledge how far he’s come.
The latter half of the album is where the features come in and it’s interesting to see the interplay between them. On “Today”, he manages to find interesting flows despite the beat seeming more suited to one of his peers like the featured Gunna.
However, on “Sinister”, Cordae effortlessly keeps up with industry legend Lil Wayne on simple but aggressive beat that works beautifully in the context of the album. At this point, Cordae displays yet another level of versatility by singing (and I mean really singing) on the acoustic guitar-based R&B joint “Chronicles” that features a standout verse from H.E.R. as well, making it one of the most noteworthy tracks on the album.
“Champagne Glasses” follows with more lyrical content while a driving but mellow beat, but a lackluster verse from Freddie Gibbs slows the momentum of the track. The final track of the core album “Westlake High” has that nostalgic, soulful, vibe that is reminiscent of some classic Kanye West, with the introspection and lyric-centered discussion we’ve come to expect from Cordae.
From A Birds Eye View is, at its core, a solid addition to Cordae’s discography and shows the rapper in good form. In his own words on the closer, “I’ma be here for a long time, man, As long as I wanna do this shit”.
We got a peak into where he’s at in his life with this release and, if those words ring true, the future is bright for Cordae. As he wraps the album, the final lyrics before the outro ring poignantly, “Tryna move past the lows and prolong the highs, huh, But still I rise, yeah”.
Cordae’s From A Bird’s Eye View album is out now via Atlantic Records, download and purchase it here and stream it below.
Words by Mark-Anthony Pierre