Now, this is a steamy album. “The Lost Boy” YBN Cordae is his first solo studio album since he rebranded from Entendre in 2018 and it oozes with young brilliance. Ever since Cordae has joined the YBN rap collective with YBN Nahmir and YBN Almighty Jay, he has shown time and time again that he is easily the most talented rapper.

Cordae has been rapping since 2014 and “The Lost Boy” is the best project he has worked on yet. The opening track, “Wintertime,” sets the mood for the entire album. It lulls you in with soft production and a nice rap flow. Cordae reveals many of the problems that have been plaguing him and the rest of the album goes more in-depth with each issue he names. The biggest issue he names is his self-doubt, hence the title “The Lost Boy.”

Cordae dropped out of college in his third year back in 2018 and cites his struggle as a first-generation student and not finding his path. His experience at college and the aftermath of his withdrawal took a toll on him and he simply could not handle it anymore. He raps about not being sure if he is on the right path but hopes that it is. This struck a chord with me. I am also a first-generation student and child of immigrants and I had absolutely no idea how to live the “good” life here in America. I am still not sure if the life I am leading is the “correct” one and that doubt plagues me.

The great thing about “The Lost Boy” is that it is an optimistic album. Cordae raps about his doubt but he knows that the here and now is the best part of life. There is no point in dwelling in the anxiety of the future and that we should have fun while we are here. Though the themes can get heavy, you never finish a song with sadness but with hope that things will turn out alright. The story of “The Lost Boy” is delivered in various ways. Some songs are more down to earth and softer like “Bad Idea,” “Thanksgiving,” “Way Back Home,” “Been Around,” and “We Gon Make It.” These songs explore the themes of family, the feeling of home, the value of hard work and are certainly the songs that make you feel good.

Then there are the more absolute bops on the album that I enjoy quite a bit. These include “Broke As F***” and “Have Mercy.” These are the songs that you add to the party playlist and feel cool when you play it. These songs have productions that are simply fantastic and you will have them stuck in your mind for days after you listen to them.

The two skits in the album are arguably the best part of the album. While the absolute bops that I mentioned before are fun, these two skits are very much from the heart of Cordae. They are both gospel-like and are fantastic additions to the album that I find myself singing throughout the day. They help break up the album and show a sense of community with friends and family. In “Grandma’s House - Skit,” Cordae employs his grandma to sing a common gospel duet and it certainly tugs at the heartstrings.

“The Lost Boy” is a brilliant album. The production is excellent and the lyrics are insightful and memorable. Clocking in at 45:17 minutes, “The Lost Boy” is at that sweet spot for how long I like an album. I would recommend it to anybody who likes to see someone succeed in their craft and slowly become one of hip-hop’s respected figures. 8.75/10