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Jessica Xie

NEXT: YBN Cordae’s 'The Lost Boy' Debut Shows He’s Already On The Right Path

“At this time last year, I only had like three songs officially out,” says YBN Cordae, who is comfortably sprawled out on the couch at the VIBE office in New York City. He quickly makes himself at home, hugging onto the nicest cushion he could find and politely resting his eyes during any breaks he can find. The 21-year-old budding rap star is clearly drained from the whirlwind of a press run he’s currently on, but this exhaust is starkly different from the fatigue he was trapped in just less than two years ago while working as a server at TGI Friday’s in Baltimore, Maryland. He’ll be just fine.

Wedged in between early morning interviews and rehearsals for Jimmy Fallon later on that night, Cordae takes a moment to open up his Instagram Story memories to reflect on what exactly he was doing a year ago. “I actually think around this time last year was when ‘Kung-Fu’ dropped,” he says.

The facts check out. Last July, Cordae had a modest handful of fans and just released “Kung Fu,” which now sits at 25 million views on YouTube. It was the follow-up track to “Old Ni**as,” his remix of J. Cole’s “1985” and that one golden moment that caught fire and drew in his much-deserved buzz. Fast forward to July of 2019, the North Carolina native would have a slot as an XXL Freshman and a record with Atlantic Records under his belt, all while gearing up to present his debut album, The Lost Boy, to the world, solidifying the rapper dreams he’s had ever since he could remember.

In just the same amount of time it took for the earth to make another full revolution around the sun since his unofficial debut with “Old Ni**as,” Cordae already catapulted from “the new guy in the YBN crew who killed that J. Cole remix,” to the young rapper who comfortably positioned himself, intentionally or not, as the much-needed bridge between old and new.

His undeniable rap talent spoke for itself and gained him widespread respect in the industry. He’s got a heavy hand in the young crowd but also grabbed meaningful co-signs from hip-hop’s creme de la creme such as Cole himself, Meek Mill, Pusha-T, Drake, Dr. Dre and plenty more, all by age 21. If so many of the top dogs in the rap game—who all know exactly what it takes—are inviting the bright-eyed newcomer to pull up a seat at hip-hop’s table, there’s an extremely slim chance they’re wrong.

Dr. Dre, whose legendary recording career is already old enough to drink, invited YBN Cordae to the studio on the very day the young spitter gained the right to take his first legal sip. On his 21st birthday, Cordae spent 16 hours straight in the studio with Dre, a fantasy-turned-reality for a young hip-hop scholar like himself. Growing up, Cordae would spend endless hours on YouTube, falling deeper and deeper into the suggested videos section, and Jay-Z, Nas, Big L, and Eminem became his solidified favorites. It was during this stage he began to buckle down and sharpen his skills as a wordsmith, waiting for his chance.

In theory, artists have their whole lives up to that one pivotal point to dream about and write their debut project. The Lost Boy is exactly what a debut album should be, and moreover, feels as if Cordae isn’t merely just presenting his come-up story to the world, but is also walking alongside us as he tells it. The project’s words feel intentional, the stories genuine, and the skits welcome you into his warm Southern home and offer you something buttered to eat. The Lost Boy is a soulful and honest offering. It achieved the perfect balance of uplifting and lighthearted moments like with “Bad Idea” featuring Chance The Rapper and “RNP” with Anderson .Paak, skillfully contrasted with deep, somber dives into his troubled upbringing like the tracks “Nightmares Are Real” featuring Pusha-T and “Family Matters” featuring Arin Ray.

“Family Matters,” a standout track on the album, bravely details the dark side of his family life growing up. On the song, he raps about a variety of different situations he witnessed early in his life, including his aunt going into prostitution, his cousin’s addiction to Xanax, or watching family members constantly being mistreated and cheated on. Cordae Dunston was born in North Carolina, raised in a trailer park in South Carolina, spent time in “the trenches” of Maryland during his adolescent years, and finally went on to live in the suburbs of MD for his final two years of high school.

He often credits the twists and turns of his unpredictable upbringing as one of the main reasons his mindset is the way it is today, as it made him see so many different walks of life at such a young age. Above all, however, his tale is a firsthand example of how one can push through life’s blows and keep the eyes on the prize. That is, if you want it bad enough and have the talent to match.

“It means the f**king world to me. It’s bigger than me,” Cordae says about how it feels to achieve his goals of finally being able to take care of his family. “It gives me that sense of responsibility, too, that keeps me grounded. Like even if I have this money, I can’t go take a f**king private jet to L.A. last minute for no reason all the time.” He looks over to his two friends in the room, making it clear this was some sort of inside joke between the three. Regardless, it’s believable that Cordae prioritizes keeping a level head, and he does so by keeping his circle tight and genuine.

Cordae stormed onto the scene alongside his YBN crew comrades, YBN Nahmir and Almighty Jay. They met on Xbox Live a few years back, and have developed a bond not only limited to video games and rapping, but grew it into a lifelong brotherhood. While it’s a natural instinct for listeners to constantly compare their three sounds, Cordae sees their different styles of rapping as the main strength of the YBN crew. As for Cordae, he sticks to lyrism as his pain priority. “This way, we’re never stepping on each other’s toes,” he says.

Another bond that blossomed during Cordae’s rise is his close relationship with music aficionado, Anderson .Paak. Although their musical chemistry is front and center on The Lost Boy, as the two trade bars on the J. Cole-produced “RNP,” their friendship stretches beyond the mic. “There are so many times we hang out and it’s not even involving music,” Cordae says of .Paak. “When you find someone genuine in this sh*t, that’s rare. We’ll call each other on Thanksgiving type sh*t. That’s my brother.”

The hook from one of Cordae’s more popular singles thus far, “Have Mercy,” displays the young spitter’s honest looming uncertainty about what’s coming up next for him.

“I don’t know where I’m going, but I hope I’m on the right path,” he raps. After unveiling his debut album, which packaged and presented the potential he held within all this time, it’s safe to say YBN Cordae has nothing to worry about as of right now; he’s headed down the right road.

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Instagram Restricts Promotion Of Body Enhancing Products From Users Under 18

Instagram is putting a limit on the amount of body enhancing products exposed to users under 18.

According to Buzzfeed News, the platform will restrict promotional posts that center around cosmetic surgery and weight loss products for minors. The monumental move was partly inspired by actress and body activist Jameela Jamil who previously called out celebrities like Cardi B and the Kardashian family who promote products like diet detox teas to their very young fans.

"We want Instagram to be a positive place for everyone that uses it and this policy is part of our ongoing work to reduce the pressure that people can sometimes feel as a result of social media," Instagram's public policy manager, Emma Collins said. She also noted that changes will also take place on Facebook.

Wow that was fast. This Kim Kardashian flat tummy shake post from January is now only accessible if you're logged into Instagram and listed as over-18. pic.twitter.com/67rEv4uqpJ

— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) September 18, 2019

Rumors have circulated around updates for some time. Others included the elimination of Instagram's "likes" algorithm.

Users will also have the ability to report any posts that do not follow the latest guidelines, as reported by CBS News. 

In a world that is heavily influenced by social media posts, this looks to be a step in the right direction for body positivity and acceptance. For her influence in the decision, Jamil stated "Facebook and Instagram [are] taking a stand to protect the physical and mental health of people online, sends an important message out to the world.

 

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THIS IS HUGE NEWS. @i_weigh are changing the world together. After a bunch of shouting, screaming, and petitioning... we have managed to get the attention of the people at the top, and they have heard us and want to protect us. And this is just the beginning of our efforts. As of now, if you’re under 18, you will no longer be exposed to any diet/detox products, and for all other ages; all fad products that have bogus, unrealistic claims will be taken down and easy to report. I’ve been working with Instagram all year towards this, who were amazing to deal with, and they expressed that they passionately care about creating a safer space for us all online. This happened so much faster than I expected and I’m so proud and happy and relieved. WELL DONE to the many people who have been working towards this huge change. This is a mass effort. This is an extraordinary win that is going to make a big difference. Influencers have to be more responsible. ❤️

A post shared by Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamilofficial) on Sep 18, 2019 at 10:08am PDT

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Dennis Rodman Claims Madonna Offered Him $20 Million To Get Her Pregnant

In an interview with "The Breakfast Club" on Thursday (Sept. 19), former NBA player Dennis Rodman opened up about his mid-90s relationship with pop star Madonna.

Rodman's comments about his and the "Material Girl" artist's intimate relationship dropped the radio hosts' jaws when he discussed how much she was willing to pay him to get pregnant. "She asked that if I got her pregnant she'd pay me $20 million," he said.

The former Chicago Bull reflected on a night in Las Vegas while he was gambling. He received a call from his then love interest which led Madonna to charter a plane for him where he flew to spend a romantic five hours with the award-winning singer in New York.

"They say you broke up with Madonna [because] you didn't want to get her pregnant," Charlamagne said. "Oh, I tried," Rodman answered.

Briefly dating in the mid-90s, the couple was in the spotlight both off the court and off the stage. They also shot a VIBE Magazine cover for the June 1994 issue but it was never published due to conflict behind-the-scenes.

 

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At long last, the @madonna @dennisrodman VIBE magazine cover that never ran and cost me my job 25 years ago. Inspired to post by Dan Charnas’ oral history of @vibemagazine in @billboard (link in bio) which tells just a wee smidge of the whole sordid tale, the rest of which I’m saving for my memoir, “Ladies’ Man.” (Also inspired by a nudge from @erikmaza!)

A post shared by Jonathan Van Meter (@jonathanvanmeter) on Oct 2, 2018 at 1:29pm PDT

Watch the full video below or the 11:30 mark where Rodman reveals the news.

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Colin Kaepernick's 'Dream Crazy' Nike Commercial Snags Creative Emmy Award

Despite Colin Kaepernick's controversial time in the press, the former NFL player has come out on top with a triumphant win.

TMZ reports Kap's Nike "Dream Crazy" commercial was awarded Best Commercial beating out visuals from Apple and Netflix at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.

"Don't picture yourself wearing [Odell Beckham's] jersey. Picture OBJ wearing yours," the activist said. "And, if you're a girl from Compton, don't just become a tennis player, become the greatest athlete ever. Yeah, that's more like it."

Kaepernick's inspirational ad beat out "Behind the Mac- Make Something Wonderful"- Macbook, "A Great Day in Hollywood" -Netflix, "Point of View" -Sandy Hook Promise, and "Shot on iPhone XS- Don't Mess With Mother" -iPhone.

Serena Williams and LeBron James stand alongside the 31-year-old during the two minutes and twenty-two-second commercial. The clip also inspires not only athletes but anyone who thinks they can't "Just Do It."

CNN reports the visual was released in September 2018, days before the football season began. Nike selected Kaep as the face for their 30th anniversary "Just Do It" campaign.

He has yet to speak out on his Emmy accomplishment.

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