Starting out as part of the short-lived YBN collective, Cordae first drew attention through the viral singles "My Name Is" and "Old N*ggas," the first interpolating Eminem's 1999 breakthrough hit and the next responding to J. Cole's "1985." These songs were shining examples of Cordae's complex lyricism, versatile flows, and sharp technical ability, and he soon followed with original tracks like "Scotty Pippen" and "Kung Fu." His talent caught the ear of legions of fans as well as earlier generations of rap superstardom. Along with public accolades from 50 Cent, big names like Gucci Mane and Wiz Khalifa showed up for guest spots on YBN: The Mixtape, Cordae's collaborative 2018 mixtape with YBN Almighty Jay and YBN Nahmir.
Cordae was born Cordae Dunston in 1997 and grew up in Suitland, Maryland. He started rapping as a teenager and soon began releasing music under the moniker Entendre, taking cues from influential rap legends like Nas and Talib Kweli. Between 2014 and 2017, he released three mixtapes under the name Entendre, he but didn't take rap all that seriously until moving to Los Angeles and linking up with friends YBN Nahmir and YBN Almighty Jay as part of the YBN (Young Boss N*ggas) collective in the beginning of 2018. Performing as YBN Cordae, he built his reputation throughout the year with original singles like "Fighting Temptations" and an explosive freestyle on the L.A. Leakers interview show that quickly reached millions of listeners. Along with his own tracks and videos, Cordae contributed to collaborative efforts with YBN, as well as performing live, both solo and with the collective.