Since his 2018 breakout, Cordae has been vocal about his views on social media, often times referring to the platforms as both a gift and a curse. He hasn’t completely withdrawn from the glossy trappings of Instagram or the never-ending debate that anchors Twitter, but he’s quick to lament our over-reliance on them as a sources of validation. “People only post the highlights. They only post like, ‘Yo, I just freaking won the lottery’ or ‘Oh, I just bought this new thing’ you know what I’m saying? But they won’t tell you that last month was a rough month or last month I had to go into my savings [account].” He tackles the sentiment head on with “Thousand Words,” a pensive deep cut from his debut album The Lost Boy where the Maryland rapper speaks on behalf of a generation that’s using social media to mask its hardships.
In spurts, Cordae comes across like an artist who’s a bit beyond his years but he’s also modest enough to show that he doesn’t quite have it all figured out. The beauty of his debut lies in how indebted he is to the process of navigating those moments of uncertainty. “The concept behind The Lost Boy was [about] finding your path — and all of these ingredients that come with that. Family…obstacles, upbringing and things of that nature.”
Family, obstacles and upbringing are all harmoniously at play on “Thanksgiving,” another heartfelt album cut where Cordae connects with his audience by exposing his own adversity. The song finds the Atlantic Records signee waxing poetic to an assumed love interest he brought home to meet his family for the holidays. The couple has been caught up in some undisclosed turmoil but Cordae sounds hopeful that they’ll work through their rough patch as his vocals are lifted by heartening piano chords that suggest the same.
In the first of two exclusive Honda Stage performances, Cordae brings the familial texture of “Thanksgiving” to life with his four-piece band in tow. Set in a low-key garage space, the collective channeled all the enthusiasm of the IRL shows we’ve grown to miss before Cordae slows things down for a new rendition of “Thousand Words.” The second performance finds Cordae in a more stripped-down setting, hugging the mic close as he evokes the feel of an impromptu open mic. Check out both performances below and for more on Cordae’s path to rap superstardom you can watch his new mini-documentary at Billboard.com/HondaStage.