At Broccoli City Festival this past Saturday (April 27), Maryland native YBN Cordae hit the main stage for an exciting set that included appearances from fellow DMV-bred rappers WillThaRapper and Q Da Fool. It was a huge moment for the blossoming MC who grew up only minutes away from the festival grounds at FedEx Field. YBN Cordae has been turning heads since he made his debut in 2018 with “My Name Is” and continued his push with several singles released throughout the year.

In his own words, YBN Cordae shares his thoughts on performing at Broccoli City, the importance of the event to the DMV area and how he prepared for this big moment.

Being part of the Broccoli City Festival this year means everything because this is where I started and honed my skills. Washington D.C. and the entire DMV area are very dope places because they're such musically-inclined areas. It’s not one of those places where it’s a bunch of hypebeasts who jump around and mosh to your music –t hey really pay attention and listen to you out here; they’re attuned to what you’re saying. 

There’s a real black renaissance happening in the DMV with how big go-go is getting and Broccoli City becoming more popular. It feels good to come back and see the constant progression. I'm all about protecting and building slowly. I’m happy I was able to perform on the main stage this year. It’s a blessing coming from Suitland, Maryland and I’m thankful for Broccoli City for making it happen. Performing on this stage will help me grow as an artist. I’m perfecting my craft as an artist and as a performer, and my shows are getting better each time.

For my set at Broccoli City, I prepared the same way I prepare for any show. I like to rehearse a lot. Before I hit the stage, I listen to the songs that I would perform and make sure I execute everything. The thing that really worries me is the audio. I want to make sure my microphone is good, the levels are where they need to be so that the crowd can hear me. I also try doing new things at rehearsal with my movements on stage and how I interact with the crowd. 

At a festival, the people there are not all your fans, and this gives me a chance to win over new people. I look at it as a challenge.

If you’re an artist, especially up and coming, now is a great time to perform at Broccoli City; it’s getting more attention as it grows and it feels like there’s something really special happening in the DMV. Festivals are big for new artists, but something as special as Broccoli City is even better. I remember they were at RFK Stadium last year and even before that they were doing it at the Half Street Fairgrounds. Seeing the festival move to FedEx Field, where the Washington Redskins play, is a blessing for the city and its people. –as told to Mark Elibert.