YBN’s Cordae & Almighty Jay Interview: Talk Crafting’YBN: The Mixtape,’ & Mac Miller’s Death
YBN Cordae Type Beat is now hip-hop’s newest fast-rising neophyte collective that’s seeking to follow in the footsteps of several legendary rap teams who have shifted the genre landscape before them. “Young Boss N–s” is fronted by the contrasting personalities of Nahmir, Almighty Jay along with the current addition of burgeoning Maryland-bred rapper Cordae, who joined the group this past year.
Another measure in cementing their ascension came with the release of YBN: The Mixtape earlier this month (Sept. 7), a melting pot project that sees all those YBN celebrities stepping around to showcase their distinctive ability through a range of previously published bangers weaved between new tunes to constitute the 23-track work.
“I fuck with the fact that everybody in A$AP Mob does something different. That is sort of like us. In YBN, most of us have our own lanes,” that the 21-year-old Cordae informs Billboard. “We’re not always a group. We’re more of a collective — it’s like a movement. It is like a brotherhood out of 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 on a great number of subjects, such as crafting their introduction mixtape, MGK’s feud with Eminem, the reduction of Mac Miller, what’s in store for its future, plus even more.
YBN Nahmir wasn’t present for this particular interview due to illness.
Billboard: What was the creative process such as when putting the mixtape together?
Almighty Jay: We did not plan it out like,”Oh, we are going to use this to the tape.” We went into the studio and made audio. Most of them we guessed to just set them on there since we haven’t dropped a lot of music lately. Basically, we just made a lot of music like that and kept piling it up. We listened to all of the songs and then determined what we actually wanted to be on the market.
YBN Cordae: The mixtape was pretty much finished before I arrived around. I only added in certain songs I felt filled in the missing portions of this project. “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 want to go overboard.
Cordae, you detailed a scary encounter with police on”Goal” Why did you need to speak about that here?
YBN Cordae: Because it is 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 car. I just wanted to put that into song form and felt that was the best way to express the way I felt. It made me understand so many experiences are like that.
I ended up not getting booked. He realized we’re going to college and a bunch of 18-year-olds. I had to go to court for it and it was a massive annoyance because I had three distinct court dates. It was terrible.
Did you guys have a tough 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 need to be shifting with my songs and I just tell them,”Nah.” I’ll change it sometimes but it still comes from fire. I really don’t write nothing. Everything is a freestyle. I really don’t like writing music.
YBN Cordae: That’s his way of life, just wing it. The majority of my shit is written. I will freestyle the escapes or first four pubs to get a hook and then I sort of get my inspiration from that. I freestyled the hook to”Target.” I received into cadence and then it sparked the idea. I’ll freestyle the flows since that comes naturally but that I simply plug in the words and write.
Walk me through how”Alaska” came together, Cordae.
YBN Cordae: This was originally a throwaway track. It fit really well on the mixtape. I shot the video with Cole Bennett. He hit me up the day of and was like,”I have a free day, do you want to shoot a video?” I rocked with him to knock it out with that double-time flow. Mike Dean made it. Him and a 14-year-old named Maddox, who is his protege. I went to his house in Los Angeles and he cooked this up. I freestyled the whole song out of the second verse.
What did you think of Machine Gun Kelly’s”Rap Devil” diss track firing back at Eminem?
YBN Cordae: When he dropped that I was like,”You’re fucking mad bro.” But if you really feel like that is what you got to do, then do it. Always go with your intuition. The diss is tough. I think it was fire. This is a great factor for Machine Gun Kelly. I would be very happy as shit if Eminem dissed me. He made a lot of great points on there. This is exactly what Eminem does with beef. I want to hear what he’s got to say. I don’t think he was expecting an answer. You gotta be mad to want beef with Eminem and MGK is that.
Almighty Jay: I listened to”Rap Devil” and liked it. I have not listened to his music really but he knows how to rap his ass off.
Did any collectives already in hip-hop inspire you men to come along?
YBN Cordae: Professional Era and Oddfuture were huge. A$AP Mob a little also. I fuck with the fact that everybody in A$AP Mob does something different. That’s kind of like us. In YBN, we all have our own lanes. A$AP Rocky is a fashion icon, [A$AP Ferg] kills the rapping, Yams has been the mastermind behind the whole thing. With Oddfuture, just to see what [Tyler, the Creator] is doing, [Frank Ocean] is performing, that which Earl was performing. That’s what we’re trying to make.
You took shots at sneakers designed by Ian Connor during a current installment of Sneaker Shopping, even speaking to them as a”little rapey.” Can you believe that is the right setting for those remarks?
YBN Cordae: In the end of the day, I said what I said. Looking back now, I would not have stated that on camera. The final thing I want to do with my platform is bash yet another young black man who is getting money. I have no any difficulties with Lil Yachty or even Ian Connor.
What did you consider the answer to your”Old N–s” track? Did you end up talking with J. Cole?
YBN Cordae: He rocked with it and said,”It was fire.” The”Fuck J. Cole” movement was helpless. He embraced it.
How was locking in the studio with Dr. Dre?
YBN Cordae: It had been fire. It was at his house for 20 hours straight. I love working with him because it is like moving through basketball exercises. I felt myself getting better by the hour. [Dr. Dre’s] working with me on this project. That’s a mentor of mine. He had all his Grammy plaques and I’ve never seen one in person before which was inspirational.
What is up with all the younger generation abusing their plaques? I found Lil Xan piss on his own.
YBN Cordae: I sort of get where Xan was going with that — fuck these materialistic things in life. It doesn’t mean shatter or anything to him, literally.
Have you got a difficult time going past 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’m an artist in the end of the afternoon, not a soap opera[star]. I’m just gonna maintain placing the
in their face.
YBN Almighty Jay Calls Himself Blac Chyna’s ‘Oldest SON https://t.co/lBwkY58T4E #blacchyna #puppy #ybnalmightyjay pic.twitter.com/UwjoI43cRI
Were either of you Mac Miller lovers rising up?
YBN Cordae: I was a Enormous fan of Mac Miller. You know how you listen to songs and you also about where you were when you first heard it? I simply had that per month ago with Mac once I was listening to Blue Slide Park, K.I.D.S, and Macadelic. I had been a big Mac Miller fan. He was straight ill. Even going back to his old mixtapes such as The High Life. He’s been in the sport as a youngin, that is how big his postage is. He grew as an artist and actually evolved each album on some funkadelic shit.
What are some of the favorite albums that motivated you out of this year?
YBN Cordae: Not because they are dead, [XXXTentacion’s?] Album was mad. This was pure artistry. Mac Miller’s softball also. Cole Bennett pushed me to listen to it a couple weeks ago. That was fucking insane. J. Cole’s KOD as well. I like Teyana Taylor’s K.T.S.E. record the best out of the G.O.O.D. Songs releases.
Almighty Jay: Associate II for me. I like lifestyle songs, I do not get into all that lyrical shit. That is just how I am. I don’t return to listen to the older shit but I love to listen to what’s currently happening.
Whose side are you currently taking with this particular Nicki Minaj versus Cardi B feud?
YBN Cordae: It is on sight for them. They’re more gangster than some of these rappers. Do not sleep Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy. “Barbie Dreams” was fire too. This was some true hip-hop shit. I enjoy concept songs like this.
What’s next for the two of you musically?
Almighty Jay: I’m working on my solo album at this time.
YBN Cordae: I’m working in a solo project that is coming real soon too. We’re not always a group. We are more of a collective — it is like a movement. It’s like a brotherhood out of music and everything was organic.
Is there anything planned for the remainder of 2018?
YBN Cordae: I am probably going to shed a few of videos. Probably a project towards the end of this year or start of next year. I got so much songs. I am only trying to generate a timeless job.
Almighty Jay: We’re going on tour starting in Europe shortly.
YBN Cordae: I just want that”Young Boss N–in Paris” caption out there. Before we perform, I’d like to sightsee in each city we visit. That’s informative. I am gonna compose about some cool shit now.
Almighty Jay: I am attempting for the Wu-Tang Clan to come out for us. Trying to get my man Method Man to start up for me.
YBN Cordae: ” I really don’t co-sign any of the.