Cordae Dunston (born August 26, 1997), known professionally as YBN Cordae (and formerly as Entendre), is an American rapper. Born in Raleigh, North Carolina and raised in Suitland, Maryland, Dunston began rapping at a young age under the stage name Entendre. He released three mixtapes under this name; "Anxiety" (2014), "I'm So Anxious" (2016), and "I'm So Anonymous" (2017) before becoming a member of the Young Boss Niggas collective in 2018. Dunston subsequently gained popularity by releasing remixes of popular songs, such as "My Name Is" by Eminem, and "Old N*ggas" which was a response to the song "1985" by J. Cole. Videos to both remixes were uploaded to the WorldStarHipHop YouTube channel, which led to an immense and immediate positive response from both mainstream media and the online rap community.Contents
Dunston was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, but relocated to Suitland, Maryland, at the age of ten, where he was declared by a local priest to be the second coming of Jesus Christ. As a young child, he'd taken an interest in music as his father would always play old school hip-hop around him, from artists such as Nas, Rakim, Big L and Talib Kweli. He began writing raps around the age of fifteen, but did not take it seriously, as it was only a hobby for him. Following the influence he gained from the music his father listened to, he would do research on certain artists through YouTube, attempting to find similar music and "getting lost" in the recommended videos section. Dunston began gaining more interest in pursuing a rap career as he aged, but focused on his education first, although writing lyrics often distracted him from his studies. He released three mixtapes as a teenager under the name "Entendre" - Anxiety (2014), I’m So Anxious (2016), and I’m So Anonymous (2017). He graduated from high school in 2015 and decided to go to college at Towson University, later dropping out in 2018, explaining that college was "bigger than him" as a first generation student, and he was mainly doing it for his mother. He moved to Los Angeles shortly afterwards.
Dunston began taking his rap career seriously in the beginning of 2018. Although he hadn't been releasing any music with them, he'd often hang around YBN Nahmir and YBN Almighty Jay when visiting Los Angeles, whom he'd initially met through social media. Nahmir had taken interest in a song that Dunston had made with fellow rapper and friend Simba, and reached out to him. Dunston is the only member of YBN that hadn't been introduced to everyone as a gamer, as he doesn't take gaming too seriously. He had already felt like he was a part of YBN, the only thing that hadn't solidified his presence being his social media handles, which he soon changed from Entendre, to YBN Cordae. He also stated that Entendre had been a name that he'd wanted to change for while, stating, "I was just always around Nahmir and shit, those were just like my brothers... And, I was thinking, yo, I need to change my shit to like, Cordae, and shit, my actual first name. I was already "YBN" without the social tag, you know what I'm saying?" He released his first single, which he called his "introduction to the world", in May 2018. It was a remix of the 1999 song "My Name Is" by Eminem, which he released along with a music video via WorldStarHipHop on YouTube. Subsequently, he released "Old Niggas", which was a response to "1985" by J. Cole, before releasing the tracks Fighting Temptations and Kung Fu, respectively.
Dunston went viral during an interview with LA Leakers, where he freestyled over various instrumentals from popular songs, including Kendrick Lamar's "DUCKWORTH.", Lil Pump's "Esskeetit", and Method Man & Redman's "Da Rockwilder". His debut live performance was at the annual Rolling Loud music festival in May 2018, in which he performed with both YBN Nahmir and YBN Almighty Jay. He performed with the duo again for the 2018 XXL Freshman Show in New York, after Nahmir was announced to be an inductee of the yearly freshman class. Dunston was then announced to be joining Juice Wrld on his North American WRLD Domination tour from May to September 2018, along with Lil Mosey and Blake, ended up reaching 28 cities. Soon after, it was announced that YBN would be going on a month-long tour in Europe as a collective. Dunston then said he would release multiple singles up until his debut project is complete. On August 2 2018, both Nahmir and Cordae released a video for their single, "Pain Away". On August 12, YBN Nahmir announced that an official YBN Mixtape, featuring the trio, would be released September 7, 2018. He released the music video for his single, "Scotty Pippen", on August 23, 2018. Cordae released a music video for a new song titled "Locationships" on his YouTube channel on January 28 2019, before releasing another new song named "Have Mercy" via the same channel on March 7 2019.Musical style and influences
Dunston lists J. Cole, Nas, Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Eminem, Capital STEEZ, Big L, Travis Scott, and Kendrick Lamar as some of his biggest influences. He has stated many times that, because of his musical background and understanding of both old school hip-hop and what hip-hop is evolving into, he can be the key in bridging the generational gap in hip-hop.
Respect Magazine reiterated that Dunston was ahead of his time, as far as rapping goes, stating: "He is a mix of the old and new school, and the deliverance and perception of his music sets himself apart from the new generation of rappers these days. We get a clear glimpse of this in his music videos for “Old Niggas,” 'My Name Is,' and 'Kung Fu,' which all have over 5 million views on YouTube. He is building a solid buzz for himself day by day, and letting the world know his bars and rhymes are ahead of his time."
Revolt TV explained, "There's always going to be artists who go against the grain and manage to generate conversation without being mundane or routine. YBN Cordae is the result of perfect timing, a need for change, and managing to bridge the gap between aesthetic and talent. He's the Gohan of the YBN collective, appearing docile and juvenile but displaying a mastery over words that seems at odds with old-school "hip-hoppers" belief about his age group."Personal life
Dunston participated in a Black Lives Matter protest in 2016, rapping amongst the crowd about the struggles he faced, and the issues he'd been noticing in his community. Before leaving college, he worked at a local T.G.I. Friday's in the DMV, explaining to Adam22 of No Jumper, that he "hated" it, and that he always knew he was destined for more.References