The Rise of YBN Nahmir and Arrival of YBN Cordae

Filed in MUSIC, THINK PIECE by on September 18, 2018 0 Comments

It’s exactly a year from the publish date of this article that YBN Nahmir released the video for track “Rubbin Off The Paint” via Worldstar Hip-Hop. The video pretty much went viral overnight and people soon began talking about the then 17 year old rapper fresh out of Birmingham Alabama.

As the views started to skyrocket the track wound up charting, debuting at 78 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track created a huge buzz around Nahmir and helped secure him a spot on the XXL Freshman Class of 2018, eventually leading to a deal with Atlantic Records less than a year after the video was first released.

Not long after Nahmir exploded onto the scene it would soon become apparent that he was actually a founding member of a YBN collective and that there would be even more artists to emerge from the YBN movement.

YBN Almighty Jay was up next with his video for single “Chopsticks” just two months after Nahmir’s release. Directed by @waterwippinevan the video also quickly went viral, throwing gasoline onto the fire for YBN.

Singles from YBN members YBN Walker and YBN Nickybandz arrived in the months following which were also quick to go viral leading up to Nahmir signing his deal with Atlantic in April of 2018.

The buzz surrounding YBN became hard to ignore, a string of singles were helping to grow the group and the surprise relationship between 17 year old YBN Almighty Jay and the much older Black Chynna secured legendary status for this exciting group of up-comers making it hard to predict what could possibly be next for the group.

Then in May of 2018 one more member of the YBN movement would come to the surface via a freestyle video appropriately named “My Name Is” – creating the entrance music for YBN’s newest member: YBN Cordae.

As the instrumental of Eminem’s classic record “My Name Is” starts to ring out, immediately you know this is going to be something completely different to anything you have seen or heard from YBN up to now. 

For many “My Name Is” would have been their first introduction to the Real Slim Shady. So to use this iconic instrumental as the backing track to your own entrance to the world, in 2018, as a young aspiring rapper can be described as nothing less than bold.

Luckily Cordae has clearly gone through the history books and taken the time to study the greats. He has managed to create a rap style for himself that has already started to raise the bar far beyond what we have typically come to expect from Mc’s of the new age and his entrance to the world shows he hasn’t come to play around.

Perhaps what is different about Cordae is his clear respect and admiration for the artist’s that have come before him and the artists he shares the limelight with now. In his obligatory introduction interview with Adam22 on the No Jumper Podcast Cordae and Adam discover a shared love of Big L but Cordae also notes the role artists like Chief Keef have played in his source of inspiration.

Cordae clearly acknowledges the history of Hip-Hop but it is evident he also wants to show his support for the other new, young artists around him. Cordae explores this topic through his second single “Old Niggas”, which acts as a response to J.Cole who had recently expressed his distaste for rappers of the new age subliminally calling out artists like Lil Pump and Tekashi 69 on his most recent album “KOD”, which had released in the weeks prior.

In “Old Niggas” Cordae plays the role of devil’s advocate. He suggests the older generation of Mc’s needs to ease up on his other young rap counterparts. He attempts to bridge the gap between old and new and calls for a greater mutual respect between both parties.

Once again the track shows Cordae is special. Using an old Slim Shady instrumental for your debut single and putting out a response to J. Cole as your second single could be considered as career suicide to many so to try and pull it off and initiate the sort of much needed conversation that has started as a result further proves the credibility of this new artist to come out of YBN.

Before the arrival of Cordae there was already little the YBN crew could have done to show that they are a new group of artists we need to be paying attention too. But now the group seems like an unstoppable force, something founding member YBN Nahmir can take great credit for. But what will happen next?

Fast forward to today there has been some strong follow ups from Nahmir and Almighty Jay with singles like “2 Tone Drip” and September saw the release of joint project “YBN: The Mixtape”

Apparently the mixtape was already finished prior to YBN Cordae coming into the fold. But in a recent interview with Paul Rosenberg and Ebro, Cordae explains he added tracks to the tape to help shape what he felt was missing. Cordae’s contributions to the project with standout tracks like “Target” provide a welcome change of pace but still fit nicely within the framework initially provided by YBN Nahmir and Almighty Jay.

Cordae’s hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed either – in the same interview Cordae explains how he was recently in the studio with Anderson Paak, which in turn led to a heavily co-signed introduction to Dr. Dre who had been working on Anderson Paak’s new album “Oxnard”.

Dre obviously took a liking to Cordae and wound up inviting Cordae over to his house the next day to talk more and start working together – this isn’t exactly something that happens often to a rapper in their career especially someone who has been on the scene for a matter of months.

This is obviously a really exciting time for Cordae and the rest of YBN that really does seem to show no immediate sign’s of slowing down. What Nahmir has managed to do in the last 12 months is phenomenal and what YBN Cordae has managed to achieve in an even shorter space of time is even more difficult to comprehend.

What we should all take away from the arrival of YBN is that there is space for everyone to co-exist in Hip-Hop. If artists like Nahmir, Almighty Jay and Cordae can all work together and feed off the energy of one another despite their obvious differences as artists then why can’t more within the industry attempt to do so?

Artists past and present need to do more to appreciate one another and respect one another for what they have contributed to the culture. If more people coming into the game took the approach Cordae has in regards to showing love and respect to his predecessors there might be more exciting opportunities out there for the old to work with the new. That being said, perhaps old artists also need to do more to understand the youth and new talent coming through so both sides can learn from one another.

Let us know what you think down below, did you enjoy the YBN Mixtape? Who has been your favourite to come from the group so far? Download the latest project from team YBN here.

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