Meet Naomi Osaka’s Boyfriend and Number One Fan, Cordae, Who Exactly is He?

Cordae is Naomi Osaka’s boyfriend who was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, on the 26th of August, 1997. The 23 years old whose full name is Cordae Amari Dunston is also known as Entendre and YBN Cordae in some quarters. He is an American rapper and singer-songwriter who gained mainstream recognition from remixing popular songs like Eminem’s 1999 monster hit, “My Name Is”. Cordae is relatively a newbie in the entertainment industry as he only became serious about building a career as a rap artist in 2018. He dropped his debut album the following year and his sophomore project is in the pipeline as of this writing.

While Cordae’s career is the major reason he is popular, many have gotten to know him as a result of him being Naomi Osaka‘s boyfriend. Unless you abhor everything tennis, you should know a thing or two about Osaka. It’s common knowledge that she is a Japanese professional tennis player and one of the most marketable athletes in the world. She established herself as a dominant figure in women’s tennis in 2018 when she triumphed over Serena Williams in the US Open final to become the first Japanese ever to bag a Grand Slam singles title. With the status she has attained in sports, it’s hardly a surprise that people have been very inquisitive about who Cordae is since it was confirmed that he’s Naomi’s lover.

The Family Background and Early Life of Naomi Osaka’s Boyfriend

Much is yet to be learned about Cordae’s family background but from what is obvious, he is an African-American and a native of Raleigh in North Carolina. Though he was born in Raleigh, Cordae spent most of his childhood in Suitland, Maryland; his family relocated to the George’s County community a few years after he was born. In a 2018 interview, Cordae divulged that his family moved around a lot when he was growing up, searching for better-paying jobs. Because of this, he changed elementary schools as many as seven times.

Now famed as a rapper, Cordae credits his father for stirring his interest in that direction. His father is a big fan of classic hip hop and was always playing rap songs around him. By the age of 15, Cordae had become a fan as well and began writing lyrics, but it was only a hobby for him until he grew older.

Cordae graduated from high school in 2015 and thereafter proceeded to Towson University, a public university in Maryland where he studied mass communication. He, however, dropped out in 2018 after he realized that he wasn’t cut out for college and was only at Towson to please his mother. After he decided to shun college, Cordae relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a music career in the entertainment industry. To get by pending a career breakthrough, he took up several menial jobs. He once admitted that he worked with T.G.I Fridays when he was in Maryland and hated the job.

In all, Naomi Osaka’s boyfriend had a pretty rough upbringing that had him live in the trenches of Maryland and at some point, in a trailer park for five years. From his songs, one can tell he was mostly raised by his mother as he describes her as a single mom. Reports have it that his father was hardly around. The man had several run-ins with the law and was in and out of prison. Cordae wasn’t happy with having an absent father but they have a good relationship. Thanks to all of these, he has a wide range of perspectives about life and a robust bank of experience that inspires his songs and lyrics.

Cordae’s Career Took Off In 2018 After He Dropped a Remix of Eminem’s “My Name Is”

Even as it was in 2018 that Cordae decided to focus on building a rap career, he had been writing and releasing songs since 2014. In 2014, 2016, and 2017, he self-released three mixtapes titled Anxiety, I’m So Anxious, and I’m So Anonymous as Entendre. Sometime in 2017, he met YBN Nahmir and YBN Glizzy online and subsequently joined the YBN group, a hip-hop collective of entertainers that range from rappers to social media stars, gamers, record producers, and what have you.

After he joined YBN and dropped Entendre for the name YBN Cordae, the rapper dropped a remix of Eminem’s “My Name Is” which he regards as his introduction to the world. The song went viral and went a long way in popularizing Cordae’s identity in the rap scene. Capitalizing on that, Naomi Osaka’s boyfriend released more non-album singles like “Fighting Temptations” and “Old Niggas” before dropping YBN: The Mixtape in September of that same year with YBN Nahmir and YBN Almighty Jay. “Kung Fu” and “Alaska (Scotty Pippen)” are some of the popular songs of the mixtape which were certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Music Canada.

Before the mixtape was released, Cordae had his first live performance in May 2018 at the Rolling Loud Music Festival. He gained more exposure that year after he toured with the late Juice Wrld and the following year, he was featured in several songs by artists like Godfather of Harlem, H.E.R, Logic, Amine, and others. Cordae has not slowed down in any way since then and has built a reputation in the rap genre as an intergenerational artist bridging the gap between old-school hip-hop and what it has been evolving into in recent times.

He Released His Debut Studio Album in 2019 and It Earned Him Two Grammy Award Nominations

It is widely believed that Naomi Osaka’s boyfriend would dominate the hip-hop scene in years to come and facts seem to support this sentiment. He released his debut album, The Lost Boy, on the 26th of July 2019 and solidified his fate as a reputable hip-hop star. The album released by Atlantic Records featured popular artists like Meek Mill, Chance the Rapper, Pusha T, and others. It dropped to widespread acclaim from music critics and debuted at number 13 and 8 respectively on the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts.

The Lost Boy charted in countries like Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and more. It was a resounding success that earned Cordae two Grammy nominations in 2020; Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song (for the track “Bad Idea” wherein he featured Chance the Rapper).

The Love Smitten Boyfriend Released a Song Titled “Thanksgiving” About Naomi Osaka

“Thanksgiving” is one of the 15 songs on Cordae’s debut album and it revolves around bringing his tennis player girlfriend home for Thanksgiving to meet his family. While Cordae rapped about how they fight and argue, he described his love for Naomi as divine, expressed hope for better days, and proclaimed that his future lies with the tennis star.

In April 2021, Cordae released an EP titled Just Until… which featured Q-Tip and Young Thug. The extended play features four tracks and at least two of them talked about his relationship with Osaka. He bragged about her on “More Life” with a line that says: “my girl is a tennis star, you n**gas out here marrying h**s.” He went on with the braggadocious lyrics on “Dream in Color” wherein he described Naomi as a blessing and “a keeper”. It is anticipated that the rapper would soon release his sophomore album, From a Birds Eye View.

Naomi Osaka and Cordae Went Public With Their Relationship in April 2019

After the tennis prodigy stormed the limelight, a lot of people became very inquisitive about her, prying into her family, childhood, love life, and what have you. For a while, nothing was known about her love life until it emerged in April 2019 that she was very close with the YBN rapper. A TMZ Sports report related that the two were spending a lot of time together, but noted that they were yet to become an item, even though they were often seen together and Naomi had shared a video of Cordae on her Instagram.

In an interview with GQ, Cordae offered that they had been dating for a year before the public learned about it. He opined that relationships ought to be sacred and explained that they refrained from sharing intimate moments with the public to avoid outside influences.

Details of how they met have been quite sketchy but from what we gathered, they met for the first time sometime in early 2019 and exchanged numbers. After a while, they decided to have their first date at the Staples Center to watch a game of the Los Angeles Clippers. According to Naomi, her first impression of the rapper was a pleasant one: while they were trying to locate each other at the Staples via FaceTime, the tennis star noticed that the rapper was friendly to the many people that wanted to take a picture with him.

At the moment, there is no doubt that the two are dating. It became apparent in August 2019 when Cordae was seen at the U.S. Open cheering for Naomi. The rapper would later reveal it was his first time attending a tennis match. Cordae added that he felt out of place at the event as it was his first time being in an environment that was not 99.9 percent Black. The rap star didn’t know Naomi was a tennis star when they met. He wasn’t a fan of the sport but now actively follows the racket sport, thanks to his love interest.

They Have Been Very Supportive of Each Other’s Career

In recent times, Cordae and Naomi Osaka have left many people drooling over what they have and how supportive they have been to each other. It is said that Cordae does play unfinished songs to Naomi; he believes she is musically inclined with ears for good songs. Their mutual respect for each other has left them in a place where they seek to support one another instead of influencing their career decisions. Naomi is known to always tour with the rapper, sometimes for as much as two weeks in a go. Cordae is also often described as the biggest fan of the tennis player as he is always seen in her games.

During the 2020 U.S. Open, as Naomi disclosed, Cordae had to beat the traveling restrictions put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic and his busy schedule to support Naomi at the tournament. Because of the lockdown and quarantine arrangement, the tennis player couldn’t attend the event with her father who had served as her support system in such tournaments. As such, she became quite depressed and often called Cordae to express her frustrations. The rapper eventually decided to suspend his schedule and flew to New York to support his girlfriend. Osaka believes the gesture helped her win the Women’s Singles.

More recently in 2021, the rapper stood beside Naomi Osaka after she announced that she wouldn’t be participating in any press conference at the French Open. She cited her mental health as the reason for the decision, upholding that she wouldn’t subject herself to people that make her doubt herself. In solidarity with his girlfriend’s decision, Cordae shared Naomi’s statement on his Instagram Story.

Naomi was later fined $15,000 for missing her first press conference in the tournament which made her withdraw from the competition. She announced her withdrawal in another Instagram statement wherein she apologized to “all the cool journalists” her first statement offended. Cordae commented on the statement, telling the tennis star she doesn’t have to apologize to anyone.

The Two Are Passionate About Campaigning For The Rights of Minorities

Naomi Osaka’s boyfriend is very much like her when it comes to using their platforms to promote the welfare of humanity, especially in terms of campaigning for the right of minorities in the United States. The couple supports the Black Lives Matter movement with the rapper attending most of the BLM protests. It’s on record that he was one of the people arrested while protesting at the home of Kentucky Attorney General, Daniel Cameron, over the murder of Breonna Taylor.

In September 2020, Naomi wore face masks at the U.S. Open to pay tribute to the Black Americans killed by police. In March 2021, she took to Instagram to support the #stopasianhate campaign. The professional tennis player urged the American public to love Asian people as much as they love things that came from the ethnic group like bubble tea, anime, mochi, sushi, and what have you.

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Chinedu Ndubueze
Chinedu holds a B.SC in Mass Communications with several years of writing and editing experience. He is an advocate of closed-back headphones, horror movies, and dark humor; He believes that Peter Griffin and Stan Smith should be real people. Outside of having to write, edit, and work on other forms of content, Chinedu may keep up with the EPL or listen to everything Eminem and Jon Bellion.

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