Last year, the 21-year-old Maryland rapper YBN Cordae emerged as the standout member of the YBN Crew, a group of young rappers from across the US map who met while playing video games online. And Cordae also emerged as one of the best new rappers to come along in a long time — a vital and flexible voice classically gifted enough to impress ’90s purists and hedonistically hard enough to keep up with his SoundCloud-rap peers. YBN Cordae can do narrative. He can do thoughtful generational-communication stuff. He can flex. And if he can put all the pieces together, he could be someone really special.
Cordae’s last single wasn’t all that special. In January, he made a song called “Locationships” about having girls in different cities. It was fun, but it wasn’t exactly a statement. Cordae is a young rapper managing a whole lot of expectations, and that song wasn’t really trying to live up to them. But on his new single “Have Mercy,” Cordae just nonchalantly raps extremely hard for three minutes. This one is more like it.
“Have Mercy” sounds a bit like Cordae’s breakout 2018 single “Kung Fu“: A nagging synth hook, a stuttering hi-hat, a whole lot of rapid-fire slick talk. Best line: “Why cry over spilled milk if you still feel I’m the real deal? / My bitch bad with no ill will cuz she’ll murk a nigga like Kill Bill.” Listen below.
“Have Mercy” is out now at the streaming services.