YBN’s Cordae & Almighty Jay Interview: Talk Crafting’YBN: The Mixtape,’ & Mac Miller’s Death
YBN is now hip-hop’s newest fast-rising neophyte collective that is seeking to follow in the footsteps of several legendary rap crews who have shifted the genre landscape . “Young Boss N–” is obscured from the contrasting styles of Nahmir, Almighty Jay and the recent inclusion of famous Maryland-bred rapper Cordae, who joined the group last year.
Another measure in cementing their ascension came with the release of YBN: The Mixtape earlier this month (Sept. 7), a melting pot job that sees each of the YBN celebrities stepping around to showcase their distinctive ability through a range of previously released bangers weaved between new tunes to constitute the 23-track effort.
“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,” the 21-year-old Cordae informs Billboard. “We’re not always a group. We are more of a collective — it is just like a motion. It’s like a brotherhood outside music and everything has been natural.”
Pay attention to the rest of our talk with YBN’s Almighty Jay and Cordae as the talented duo dishes onto a multitude of topics, such as crafting their introduction mixtape, MGK’s feud with Eminem, the reduction of Mac Miller, what’s in store for the future, plus even 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 JayWe didn’t plan it out like,”Oh, we’re going to use this for the tape” We just went into the studio and created music. The majority of them we figured to simply set them on there since we haven’t dropped a lot of music lately. Basically, we just made a lot of music that way and kept piling it up. We listened to all of the songs and then determined what we really wanted to be on the market.
YBN Cordae: The mixtape was pretty much ended before I arrived around. I only added in certain songs I felt filled in the missing portions of the project. “Goal” was one of these songs with another sound. I wanted to complement them as well. The intro has Jay and Nahmir storytelling, and so I came in with the storytelling too. I didn’t wish to go overboard.
Cordae, you comprehensive a scary experience with police on”Goal” Why did you want to talk about this?
YBN Cordae: Because it is based on a true story. I had been in college and driving but I did not understand my license was suspended. This was homecoming weekend so that I had five of my homies in the auto. I only wanted to put that into song form and believed that was the best way to express the way I felt. It made me realize so many encounters are like this.
I ended up not getting reserved. He realized we’re going to school and a lot of 18-year-olds. I had to go to court to get it and it was a massive inconvenience because I had three different court dates. It was dreadful.
Did you guys have a tough time working with each other and deciding what finally made the tape?
Almighty Jay: Yeah, I guess they say I am difficult to deal with. They are always trying to tell me exactly 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 don’t enjoy composing music.
YBN Cordae: That is his way of life, simply wing it. Nearly all my shit is composed. I will freestyle the flows or first four pubs to get a hook and then I sort of get my inspiration from this. I freestyled the hook to”Goal” I received to cadence and after that it sparked the idea. I will freestyle the flows since that comes naturally but I just plug in the phrases and write.
Walk me through the way”Alaska” came together, Cordae.
YBN Cordae: This was initially a throwaway track. It fit quite well on the mixtape. I shot the movie with Cole Bennett. He struck me up the day of and was like,”I have a free afternoon, do you wish to shoot a movie?” I rocked with him to knock it out with this double-time flow. Mike Dean made it. Him along with a 14-year-old called Maddox, who is his protege. I moved to his house in Los Angeles and he cooked this up. I freestyled the entire song outside the second verse.
What would you think of Machine Gun Kelly’s”Rap Devil” diss monitor firing back at Eminem?
YBN Cordae: If he dropped I was like,”You’re fucking mad bro.” But if you feel like that’s what you have to do, then do it. Always go with your instinct. The diss is tough. I believe that it was fire. This really is a great factor for Machine Gun Kelly. I’d be happy as shit when Eminem dissed me. He made a lot of great points on there. That is exactly what Eminem does with beef. I would like to hear what he has to say. I don’t believe he was expecting an answer. You have ta be mad to want beef with Eminem and MGK is that.
Almighty Jay: I listened to”Rap Devil” and enjoyed it. I have not listened to his songs actually but he knows how to knock his ass off.
Did any collectives already in hip-hop inspire you men to come together?
YBN Cordae: Pro Era and Oddfuture were enormous. A$AP Mob a little also. I fuck with the simple fact that everybody in A$AP Mob does something different. That is sort of like us. In YBN, most of us have our own lanes. A$AP Rocky is a style icon, [A$AP Ferg] kills the rapping, Yams has been the mastermind behind the entire thing. With Oddfuture, simply to see exactly what [Tyler, the Creator] is doing, [Frank Ocean] is performing, what Earl was doing. That is what we’re trying to make.
You took shots at sneakers designed by Ian Connor through a recent episode of Sneaker Shopping, even speaking to them as a”small rapey.” Did you believe that’s the ideal 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 last thing I need to perform with my platform is celebration yet another young black guy who’s getting cash. I have no any problems with Lil Yachty or even Ian Connor.
What did you consider the answer to your”Old N–” track? Did you end up speaking with J. Cole?
YBN Cordae: He awakened with it and said,”It was fire.” J. Cole is a bridge-gapper. The”Fuck J. Cole” motion was helpless. He adopted it.
How was locking at the studio with Dr. Dre?
YBN Cordae: It had been fire. It had been in his house for 20 hours straight. I enjoy working with him because it is like going through basketball drills. I felt myself becoming better by the hour. [Dr. Dre’s] working with me with this project. That is a mentor . He had all his Grammy plaques and I have 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 kind of get where Xan was moving with that — fuck these materialistic things in existence. It doesn’t mean anything or piss to himliterally.
Do you have a difficult time moving beyond the relationship drama with Blac Chyna and turning people’s attention toward your own music?
Almighty Jay: I only keep dropping my music. I was never really concerned about it. I’m an artist in the end of the day, not a soap opera[celebrity ]. I am just gonna keep putting the [music] 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 you Mac Miller fans growing up?
YBN Cordae: I was a Enormous fan of Mac Miller. You know how you listen to music and you also about where you were when you 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 huge Mac Miller enthusiast. He was straight sick. Even going back to his old mixtapes like The High Life. He has been in the game as a youngin, that’s how large his stamp is. He grew as an artist and truly evolved each record on some funkadelic shit.
What are some of the favorite albums that motivated you from this season?
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 few weeks ago. This was fucking insane. J. Cole’s KOD Too. I like Teyana Taylor’s K.T.S.E. album the best from all the G.O.O.D. Songs releases.
Almighty Jay: Culture II for me. I enjoy lifestyle music, I don’t get into all that lyrical shit. That is just the way I am. I don’t return to listen to the older shit but I like to listen to what is presently going on.
Whose side are you currently taking with this particular Nicki Minaj versus Cardi B feud?
YBN Cordae: It is on sight for them. They be more gangster than a few 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 that.
What is next for the two of you musically?
Almighty Jay: I am working on my solo album right now.
YBN Cordae: I am working on a solo project that is coming real soon as well. We are not necessarily a group. We’re more of a collective — it is like a motion. 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 videos. Likely a project near the end of this year or beginning of next year. I have so much music. I am just hoping to make a classic job.
Almighty Jay: We are going on tour starting in Europe shortly.
YBN Cordae: I just want that”Young Boss N–s in Paris” caption on the market. Before we do, YBN Cordae Type Beat want to sightsee in every city we go to. That’s informative. I am gonna compose about some cool shit now.
Almighty Jay: I am attempting to get the Wu-Tang Clan to come outside for us. Trying to receive my man Method Man to open me up.
YBN Cordae: I really don’t co-sign any of this.