YBN Cordae’s Sold-Out Tour Promises a Bigger ATX Stake Next Time Through

Maryland MC packs C+TIL and eyes the unbuilt Moody Center

YBN Cordae feels like a rare breed within the sometimes divisive world of hip-hop due to his mixture of old-school soul and new-school style. X certainly marked the spot as Cordae Dunston, a young man formerly without coordinates, swiftly sold out Come & Take It Live on Friday.

Photo by John Anderson

The Austin stop of the Lost Boy in America Tour continued the excursion’s impressive sellout streak. Last summer’s major label debut, The Lost Boy, garnered a pair of Grammy nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for “Bad Idea.” A sold-out trip to Dallas on Saturday capped off the promotional trek with a perfect run of 33 sellouts.

“Was just waitin’ tables, gave customers extra fries
Maya Angelou with accounts, I just let it rise
And hopefully my words never die”

So opened the 22-year-old rapper in “Wintertime.” The North Carolina native and Maryland identifier worked as a waiter at TGI Friday’s before dropping out of Towson University in 2018. That alone gives creedence to his emphatic claims that anything’s possible for dreamers.

Raised on the likes of Big L, Nas, and Rakim, the YBN member brings a lyrical punch to a collective boasting trap artists YBN Nahmir and YBN Almighty Jay. A May 2018 remix of Eminem's 1999 single “My Name Is” helped bring attention to Dunston. On East Riverside, lines including, “A terrible hair stylist, I’m destroying tracks/Then bring out a .45 like Michael Jordan’s back” drew loud exclamations from a packed audience likely familiar with the bars.

Cordae sings a fair bit on The Lost Boy and live proved his vocal ability via a cappella moments. Lights dimmed, hands firmly grasped on a stationary mic, and a DJ waving his hands like the director of a large-scale symphony turned the thoughtful chorus of “Way Back Home” into a beautiful scene of intimacy. A recording of “Lucid Dreams” celebrated late MC Juice Wrld (“my brother,” mourned Cordae) and segued perfectly into “Broke as Fuck,” a two-part track made in tribute to his late grandmother and a murdered cousin.

Even the obligatory mosh pit hype track contained substance.

The host repeatedly referred to the crowd as “one big family” on his maiden voyage to town and urged attendees to leave all negativity outside. Funky J.Cole-produced track “RNP” punctuated the proceedings on a fun note. A confident fan went flawlessly word-for-word onstage with the 2019 XXL Freshman as he performed Anderson Paak’s parts of the upbeat tune to loud applause.

Shortly thereafter, Cordae danced offstage to Ski Mask the Slump God's “Take A Step Back,” ending his set at exactly an hour.

Several pleas for an encore rang out for a few minutes and continued even after the arrival of a stagehand to break down the gear. Maybe the rapper’s declaration of intent to sell out the Moody Center in two years carries some weight. Selling out an entire tour proved another notable marker in becoming YBN Cordae.

YBN Cordae set-list, Come & Take It Live, 2.28.20

“Have Mercy”
“My Name Is”
“A Thousand Words”
“Lost and Found”
“Way Back Home”
“Lucid Dreams” (Juice Wrld Tribute)
“Broke as Fuck”
“Broke as Fuck”
“Old Niggas”
“Bad Idea”
“Kung Fu”

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