Cordae has always been wise beyond his years. From his clever lyrics to the words of wisdom he drops in interviews, it comes as no surprise that the DMV rapper was one of the speakers at TED2022: A New Era. While his charisma and great sense of humor shined through his time on stage, Cordae introduced an insightful concept — all off the top he later revealed to AfroTech — of what he believes is the formula behind his success.


Falling After You Rise

The 24-year-old first officially stepped onto the rap scene in 2018 and his debut was immediately met with critical acclaim. He went on to release his debut album “The Lost Boy” in 2019, which earned him two Grammy nominations. With the accolades coming in so early on in his career, Cordae was on cloud nine. But with peaks in life, there will always be valleys. The young star experienced a shift after dropping his two year in the making album “From a Birds Eye View.” In the music industry, it’s known that it’s common for artists to face a slump with their sophomore album.

“I had huge expectations for this album, but when it finally released and it wasn’t received as well as I hoped I [was] completely broken down … I became unmotivated. I started indulging in things that I’m not proud of. I was almost thinking of canceling my upcoming tour,” Cordae admitted.

It’s a similar story to when he previously was first starting out during his mixtape days. His first two projects got 2,000 downloads while the third had only had 200. It was quite a disappointment for Cordae being that he spent the entire summer working on it.

Hi Level Mindset

Regressing could have kept Cordae down, but it’s his “Hi Level Mindset” that led him to his destiny of stardom.

What is the Hi Level Mindset? In the words of its Hip-Hop philosopher, it’s “a wavelength to apply to your everyday thoughts or regimen.” He credits its creation to his mom since growing up, he watched her overcome countless obstacles. The intent behind it is committing to unlocking one’s potential. The steps to tap into it are as follows: Remain positive, be intentional with desires, discipline = excellence, and remove negative people.

Building Legacy

For Cordae, legacy is the ultimate goal of the Hi Level mindset. A part of how he’s building it is his Hi Level Productions — his record label that he 100 percent owns. In a recent exclusive interview with AfroTech, he shared that his ownership is for more than just himself. It’s for all those involved to be “on that Hi Level sh-t.”

“Ownership was definitely a part of it, but it was more so about utilizing the tools — the rolodex — that I’ve been able to build and the knowledge that I’ve been able to accumulate by doing music,” he told us. “And again, I’m no expert. I’m still learning this day by day. But the information that I have to help other creatives get to the level where they need to be to where I came in not really knowing too much about anything. So, having somebody like an Ace show me a way to maneuver helped me out a lot. Just building and having a team around the artist or a creative of any facet can really take them to that next level.”