Sometimes artists test their audience with new sounds to see what would happen if they did more of it. We’ve seen even massive artists like Drake do this on projects like the Scary Hours series. Cordae put out two new songs a couple of days ago; Unacceptable and So With That.
Cordae had promised a return to form following mild disappointment that was his sophomore album “From A Birds Eye View” and these two songs, together released as a project called “Unacceptable” are his attempt at testing how he should do that.
Unacceptable features the rapper trying out a much cleaner version of his auto tuned vocals, something which he has shied away from in the past. At the cost of sounding like an imitation of some of his contemporaries like Roddy Ricch or Lil Durk he does create a very entertaining listening experience with the hooks on the song while still delivering less tuned and more traditional vocals packed with stories about his upbringing and his recent struggles with depression and pill-popping drug abuse on the verses. It is very much acceptable and I don’t think it takes away from Cordae’s uniqueness as an artist, as even veteran rappers that he has been compared to like J.Cole and Kendrick have utilized the tool for their own artistic effect. As long as he keeps his own voice distinguishable it will probably just be given a pass as a creative decision.
Speaking of J.Cole, the second track on the project (So With That) is very much leaning into those comparisons. The cadence and tone of the delivery is very reminiscent of the style that solidified Cole as a Goat contender in the rap game on his 2014 album “Forest Hills Drive”. Cordae does justice to the style giving a soulful vibe with an earworm of a hook. His vocals are distinctive enough that one can tell it’s him but also accepting and even loving that he’s leaning into his influences; which in an era where Jack Harlow has essentially slid into generating Drake comparisons on purpose and capitalizing on it Cordae really can’t be blamed for.
The first song “Unacceptable” is definitely more of a mainstream sound and is just easy to listen to but for the more “classy” listeners the sound on “So With That” is always available. Honestly I hope that we see more of both on Cordae’s next album and that the rollout does the potential of his style(s) enough justice.