Cordae Compares Himself To Ja Rule In His Insightful TED Talk

In just three years, Cordae has gone from being a relatively unknown second banana in a viral favorite rap group to an accomplished solo rapper to a Grammy nominee and renowned activist. Most new artists would be fine with working alongside Stevie Wonder and dating an international tennis superstar, but apparently, Cordae has even bigger plans. His next step appears to be “motivational speaker,” as he premieres his first-ever TED Talk about what he calls the “Hi-Level mentality,” named after his recently launched label.

Of course, he recognizes that there might not be much overlap between the crowds who regularly attend TED conferences and Rolling Loud festivals, so he lightens up the mood during his introduction with a universal joke: A reference to the infamous “Where’s Ja?” meme kicked off by Dave Chappelle back when Cordae himself was just six years old. “I know what you’re thinking,” he predicts. “What does a 24-year-old rapper possibly have to say turning a TED Talk? Like, ‘Who cares what Ja Rule thinks,’ you know?”

It turns out, he has plenty to say, recounting how his mom raised him in a series of neighborhoods so bad that her car was once stolen twice in the same week but continually upgraded to the point where such things were no longer a concern. He also details how his own discipline led to his own rise in stature in the rap business and encourages the audience to “maximize your time on this earth.”

Cordae is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.