It’s YBN Cordae’s first time to Australia and he wants something to remind him of home–lemon pepper chicken wings. The Puma team are trying frantically to source some to be ready at his hotel room after he finishes his set, an intimate show at the Puma Melbourne Central store.
Standing on the makeshift stage with his DJ behind him he asks the group what songs they want, and though he admits it’s meant to be an “intimate” gig, he spends most of the show on the shop floor, now made to appear like concrete slab, among the crowd.
He blitzes through fan-favourites, including “Kung Fu” and spars bar-for-bar with those in the crowd during “RNP”.
From this short performance, you can see how his debut album, “The Lost Boy”, earned him hordes of fans, critical acclaim, and industry recognition—even if the show is just an in-store appearance with 20 to 30 punters, plus PR personnel hovering.
After his set wraps he squeezes in local radio promos, another interview and then we get five minutes to sit down with him before he’s off again to the hotel, and then a headline show, a flight to Perth for Origin Fields, and then straight on through to Sydney for Field Day–where he’s booked alongside fellow Puma ambassador Gunna.
It’s quite literally the end of a whirlwind year, but for him, it’s all still “just the start”.
Cordae is doing things differently. His music is somewhere on the barometer between soundcloud rap and old heads. During an appearance on “Sneaker Shopping”, a platform notorious for artists flexing their cash, he returned a pair of sneakers. In interviews, he prefers to sip tea. He still has a Photoshopped image of him with a Grammy as his lock screen. Now that he’s a two-time Grammy-nominated artist, the ‘after-shot’ is next—of course.
Before the success of “The Lost Boy”, Cordae recorded three mixtapes under the name Entendre (a name he always hated). The titles, “I’m So Lost”, “I’m So Anxious”, and “Anxiety” reflect difficult times for him. But now that he’s notched up some serious wins, are more optimistic records coming?
“We’ll see, I just speak about the time. Music is a time capsule, my music is a time capsule for me”.
The novelty doesn’t wear off for him, who having worked at TGI Friday’s waiting tables before all this, is now performing some 50 or so meters from a franchise.
“This shit crazy, I’m in Australia and there’s a picture of me up there”. He points to the looping digital display of imagery for the campaign Cordae is fronting for Puma.
Before he goes, he gets a group picture with the Puma team. He reassures them, saying, “don’t act like ya’ll to Hollywood now!”
Written by Darby-Perrin Larner