After controversially dropping the YBN in his name last year Cordae has been teasing his second studio album From a Birds Eye View ever since. Fans have been patiently waiting for three years for a new full length LP from Cordae and he finally delivered last week. With the way he's been teasing it this seemed like it would be the music event of the year, and though it wasn't quite that, it's still another big release in the first quarter of the new year. As someone who's been a Cordae fan since his My Name Is Remix dropped on Worldstar years ago, I was very excited for this and hope nothing but the best for Cordae in his career.
The intro to From a Birds Eye View is done over a recorded call from prison. On Shiloh's Intro Cordae's friend drops a freestyle from jail with solid bars and energy and serves as a fun introduction to the album. Jean-Michel kicks off the album with a grim instrumental reminiscent of 2016 J. Cole. Cordae's delivery is commanding but lyrically he isn't really saying much, though his rhyme schemes are strong and he brings a good intensity to the track. The following song, Super is an energetic ball of lightning, and was the first single released for the album. It's a fast-paced, braggadocios trap cut, which I wasn't crazy about when the song initially dropped, but several months later it has grown on me a lot. Cordae has a great flow and the energy he brings is infectious, not to mention some of his best bars on the album are on this flex fest. Momma's Hood has a smooth instrumental like Jean-Michel, and sees Cordae flexing his new lifestyle and success yet again. His verses aren't too engaging on this song but he delivers a memorable chorus that will replay in your head long after hearing the song.
Want From Me is underscored by a rhythmic and vibrant instrumental and Cordae sings a soulful chorus that adds to the fun and exuberant environment created by the beat. His verses are good here, giving insight into his thought process, beliefs and experiences, but like the rest of the album his above-average lyricism isn't really saying much. Today is nothing but a failed attempt at a chart topping trap song. And no, it's not bad, it actually has a catchy instrumental where Cordae brings together some of his best choruses and verses on the album for this song. Surprisingly it is the out of place Gunna feature that negatively affects this song. He brings the fast-paced energy Today has down to a stop and sucks all of the personality this song had right out. Shiloh's Interlude is fine, it doesn't serve any real purpose. The strings on C Carter's instrumental are very dynamic and carry an upbeat mood throughout the song. Cordae's chorus is exciting but once again his verses are dry at points as he's rapping again about making it to the top, however his flow is great.
The second single released for the album, Sinister has a pretty bland instrumental where Cordae's entire performance is uninteresting, with no real sticking point to the track. Lil Wayne's verse is one of his worst in recent memory but still good enough to add at least one redeemable quality to the track, despite him sounding horribly out of place. Chronicles follows the same trend as nearly every other track; Cordae's hooks and choruses vastly outshining his verses. The instrumental is incredibly dull, but is given life by Cordae's catchy chorus. His verse is a miss, and so is H.E.R. 's which does not fit well over the beat, and Lil Durk gives a hot feature on the back end, but isn't enough to salvage the song. Champagne Glasses is another song of Cordae reflecting on his success over a cloudy and elegant instrumental. Lyrically this is Cordae's strongest attempt with good metaphors, but the writing is still lacking substance, sincerity and content that was on The Lost Boy. The Freddie Gibbs feature is also surprisingly lackluster, especially with his repetiton of constipation bars.
The legitimate outro to From a Birds Eye View, Westlake High has a soulful instrumental where yet again we are hearing about Cordae's biggest success and accomplishments over the last few years. However on this track it feels deserved, unlike the rest of the flashy lyrics and success stories on the rest of the album. Following this we have two bonus tracks released in 2020 tacked onto the album. The latter, Gifted with Roddy Ricch has been one of Cordae's songs since it released. The chemistry those two have is great and they make such a positive, uplifting jam. However the former is a remix of Parables, which is a great track where Cordae sounds hungry, his lyricism is great and his flow vicious. But he brings on Eminem for the remix, who subsequently ruins the song. One of the worst verses this man has put out which is a huge feat to accomplish by Eminem standards. I will continue to listen to original version of this song as the 49 year old veteran makes Parables his own in the worst way possible.
Unfortunately From a Birds Eye View is a step back from Cordae's debut album. It lacks the heart, effort and cohesion of The Lost Boy, elements which I would've hoped would be amplified in his sophomore effort. The biggest takeaway from FABEV is that Cordae is a great singer and can write even better choruses, they were the highlight of nearly every song. The production on this album is a mixed bag. Most of the beats contain a flavor of trap drums and blend together. Despite the less than stellar production Cordae proves his flows are crisp as ever on a lot of these songs. With his flow getting better it is sad to say that his lyricism has gotten worse. Cordae still has great rhyme schemes and zany bars but shows none of the storytelling and depth that there is in his earlier writing. And the features Cordae brings on aren't too great either, which leads to an unfilling experience that has more good than bad to offer but ultimatley feels like a step back for the young rapper.