YBN’s Cordae & Almighty Jay Interview: Speak Crafting’YBN: The Mixtape,’ & Mac Miller’s Death
YBN is now hip-hop’s latest fast-rising neophyte collective that is looking to follow in the footsteps of many legendary rap crews who have shifted the genre landscape before them. “Young Boss N–” is fronted by the contrasting personalities of Nahmir, Almighty Jay and the recent inclusion of famous Maryland-bred rapper Cordae, who joined the squad last year.
Another measure in cementing their ascension came with the launch of YBN: The Mixtape earlier this month (Sept. 7), a melting pot job that sees all the YBN stars stepping around to showcase their unique ability through a variety of previously released bangers weaved between fresh tunes to make up the 23-track effort.
“I fuck with the simple fact that everybody in A$AP Mob does something different. That is kind of us. In YBN, we all have our very own lanes,” the 21-year-old Cordae informs Billboard. “We’re not always a group. We’re more of a collective — it is like a movement. It’s like a brotherhood outside music and everything has been natural.”
Check out the rest of our talk with YBN’s Almighty Jay and Cordae as the gifted 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 was not present for this interview due to illness.
Billboard: What was the creative process such as when placing the mixtape together?
Almighty Jay: We didn’t 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 figured to simply set them on there since we have not dropped a lot of music lately. Basically, we simply made a great deal of music like that and kept piling it up. We listened to all of the songs and then determined what we really wanted to be around there.
YBN Cordae: The mixtape was pretty much finished before I arrived around. I only added in certain tunes I felt filled in the missing pieces of this project. “Goal” was among these tunes with another sound. I wanted to complement them as 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 comprehensive a chilling experience with police on”Target.” Why did you need to talk about this?
YBN Cordae: Since it is based on a real story. I had been in college and driving but I did not understand my license has been suspended. It was homecoming weekend so that I had five of my homies in the auto. I only wanted to put that into song kind and believed that was the best way to express how I felt. It made me understand so many encounters are like this.
I ended up not getting booked. He realized we’re going to school and a lot of 18-year-olds. I needed to go to court to get it and it was a huge annoyance because I had three different court dates. It was dreadful.
Can you guys have a tough time working with one another and deciding what finally made the tape?
Almighty Jay: Yeah, I guess they say I am difficult to manage. They’re constantly trying to tell me what I want to be changing with my music and I just tell them”Nah.” I will change it occasionally but it still comes out fire. I really don’t write nothing. What’s a freestyle. I don’t like writing music.
YBN Cordae: That is his way of life, simply wing it. The majority of my shit is written. I’ll freestyle the escapes or first four bars to get a hook and then I sort of get my inspiration from that. I freestyled the hook to”Target.” I received to cadence and after that it sparked the thought. I will freestyle the flows because that comes naturally but that I just plug in the phrases and write.
Walk me through how”Alaska” came together, Cordae.
YBN Cordae: This was initially a throwaway track. It fit quite nicely 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 wish to take a movie?” I rocked with him to knock it out with that double-time flow. Mike Dean made it. Him along with a 14-year-old called Maddox, who’s his protege. I moved to his house in Los Angeles and he cooked it up. I freestyled the whole song outside the next verse.
What did you think of Machine Gun Kelly’s”Rap Devil” diss monitor firing back at Eminem?
YBN Cordae: If he fell I was like,”You’re fucking insane bro.” But if you really feel like that’s what you have to do, then take action. Always go with your intuition. The diss is tough. I believe that it was flame. This really is a great thing for Machine Gun Kelly. I would be happy as shit when Eminem dissed me. He made lots of great points on the market. This is exactly what Eminem does with beef. I would like to hear what he has to say. I really don’t believe 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 songs actually but that he knows how to knock his ass off.
Did any collectives already in hip-hop inspire you guys to come along?
YBN Cordae: Pro Era and Oddfuture were enormous. A$AP Mob a small also. I fuck with the fact that everybody in A$AP Mob does something different. That is sort of us. In YBN, most of us have our own lanes. A$AP Rocky is a fashion icon, [A$AP Ferg] kills the rapping, Yams has been the mastermind behind the entire thing. With Oddfuture, simply to find out exactly what [Tyler, the Creator] is doing, [Frank Ocean] is doing, that which Earl was doing. That is what we’re attempting to make.
You took shots sneakers designed by Ian Connor through a recent episode of Sneaker Shopping, even speaking to them as a”small rapey.” Can you feel that is the right setting for all those comments?
YBN Cordae: At the close of the afternoon, I stated what I said. Looking back now, I wouldn’t have stated on camera. The last thing I want to do with my platform is celebration yet another young black guy who is getting money. I don’t have any difficulties with Lil Yachty or Ian Connor.
What did you consider the answer to your”Old N–s” track? Did you end up speaking with J. Cole?
YBN Cordae: He awakened with it said,”It had been fire.” J. Cole is a bridge-gapper. The”Fuck J. Cole” movement was helpless. He adopted it.
How was locking in the studio with Dr. Dre?
YBN Cordae: It had been fire. It had been in his home for 20 hours straight. I enjoy working with him because it’s like moving through basketball drills. I felt myself becoming better by the hour. [Dr. Dre’s] working with me on this project. That is a mentor . He had his Grammy plaques and I have never seen one in person before which was motivational.
What’s 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 moving with that — fuck these materialistic things in life. It does not mean anything or piss to himliterally.
Have you got a difficult time going beyond the relationship drama with Blac Chyna and turning people’s attention toward your own music?
Almighty Jay: I only keep dropping my songs. I was never really worried about it. I am an artist at 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
– Aaron Fernandes (@AaronRFernandes) September 14, 2018
Were you Mac Miller lovers growing up?
YBN Cordae: Yeah, I was a huge fan of Mac Miller. You know how you listen to music and you also about where you were when you heard it? I just 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 enthusiast. He was straight ill. Even going back into his old mixtapes like The High Life. He has been in the sport as a youngin, that is how large his stamp is. He grew as an artist and truly evolved each record on several funkadelic shit.
What are some of your favourite albums that inspired you out of this year?
YBN Cordae: Not even because they are dead, [XXXTentacion’s?] Album was mad. That was pure artistry. Mac Miller’s softball also. Cole Bennett pushed me to listen to it a couple weeks ago. This was fucking insane. J. Cole’s KOD as well. I enjoy Teyana Taylor’s K.T.S.E. album the best from the G.O.O.D. Songs releases.
Almighty Jay: Associate II for me. I enjoy lifestyle music, I don’t get into all that lyrical shit. That is just the way I am. I really don’t go back to follow the old shit but I love to listen to what’s currently happening.
Whose side are you taking with this particular Nicki Minaj versus Cardi B feud?
YBN Cordae: It is on sight for them. They’re more gangster than a few of these rappers. Don’t sleep Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy. “Barbie Dreams” was fire as well. This was some true hip-hop shit. I enjoy concept songs like this.
What is next for the two of you musically?
Almighty Jay: I’m working on my album right now.
YBN Cordae: I am working in a solo project that is coming real soon too. We are not necessarily a group. We’re more of a collective — it is like a motion. It is like a brotherhood outside music and everything has been organic.
Is there anything planned for the rest of 2018?
YBN Cordae: I am probably going to shed a few of videos. Likely a project towards the end of the year or beginning of next year. I have so much songs. I am only hoping to make a classic job.
Almighty Jay: YBN Cordae Type Beat 2019 are going on tour beginning in Europe soon.
YBN Cordae: I only need that”Young Boss N–in Paris” caption out there. Before we perform, I’d like to sightsee in each city we visit. That’s educational. I’m gonna compose about some cool shit now.
Almighty Jay: I am attempting for the Wu-Tang Clan to come outside for us. Trying to get my guy Method Man to open me up.
YBN Cordae: ” I really don’t co-sign any of the.