Naomi Osaka & Cordae: The Coolest Young Couple on the Planet Right Now

Love All, With Naomi Osaka and Cordae

Naomi Osaka is a tennis prodigy who’s on her way to being the greatest athlete of her generation. Cordae is an electric young rapper with a Grammy nod. And with their powers combined, they are the most dynamic and outspoken young couple in the culture right now.

Photography by Renell Medrano

February 10, 2021

On Cordae: Sweater, $595, by Paul Smith. Jeans, $980, by Bottega Veneta. Watch, $2,800, by TAG Heuer. Bracelet, $6,480, by Chrome Hearts. On Naomi: Sweater, $518, by Hope Macaulay. Jeans, $98, by Levi’s. Bra, $32, by Skims. Watch, $2,650, by TAG Heuer. Earring, $105 (for pair), by Jennifer Fisher.


This story is part of GQ’s Modern Lovers issue.

It was during a particularly intense moment in the second set of last year’s U.S. Open finals when Naomi Osaka, the 23-year-old tennis phenom, unexpectedly crushed a forehand at 86 mph past Victoria Azarenka and into the far corner for a point. The shot was mesmerizing—the kind of momentum shifter that eventually helped Osaka cruise to victory—but it was her non-reaction afterward that was most revealing. While someone like a Rafael Nadal might have celebrated by leaping into the air and screaming until their neck veins exploded, Osaka was…relaxed. Unbothered. She just sort of casually glanced down at her racket as if to check on its well-being, like, Hey, little guy, that wasn’t too hard on you, was it?

Naomi Osaka and Cordae cover the March 2021 issue of GQ. To get a copy, subscribe to GQ. On Cordae: Sweater, $595, by Paul Smith. On Osaka: Sweater, $518, by Hope Macaulay. Earring, $105 for pair, by Jennifer Fisher.


No matter what kind of pressure she’s under or the caliber of opponent she’s facing, Osaka’s default state is one of unflappable chill. It’s almost eerie. Like she has the resting heart rate of a Galápagos tortoise. She was even unflappable as she fielded tone-deaf questions from Open reporters about the face masks she had been wearing all tournament long, which were printed with names including Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Elijah McClain (“What was the message you wanted to send, Naomi?”—as if the answer wasn’t obvious).

Meanwhile, when Osaka’s boyfriend of two years—the Grammy-nominated rapper Cordae—attends her matches, he is decidedly unchill. He’s a complete 180, hollering in the stands every time she wins a point. And thank God for that. Because Cordae on the sidelines showcased a level of unbridled joy that was one of the few glimmers of goodness many of us had all year.

And what better pair to fawn over? Despite being such a new face and name, Osaka is already the highest-paid female athlete in the world—with sponsorship deals from Nike, Beats by Dre, and Louis Vuitton. (“I did buy my mom her first Louis Vuitton a couple of years back, which was a nice memory for me,” Osaka said in an email. “Now being the new face of the brand is just so surreal.”) She’s an instant cultural juggernaut. Cordae, on the other hand, is a radical thinker and an exciting new voice in music with cosigns from legends including Eminem and Dave Chappelle. The L.A. Times called him “hip-hop’s next great MC.”

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On Cordae: Shirt, $565, by A-Cold-Wall. T-shirt, $195, and pants, $795, by Fear of God. Bracelets (top), $9,570, and (bottom), $1,870, by Chrome Hearts. On Naomi: Dress, $1,195, by The Elder Statesman. Earring, $475 (for pair), by Jennifer Fisher.


So it is notable that Naomi Osaka is indeed fearless and coolheaded, able to calmly handle the media’s unfair obsession with her and her idol Serena Williams, whom she was pitted against after going toe to toe in a Grand Slam final. (More on that in a bit.) That is, unless you start talking to Naomi about her relationship, in which case she gets noticeably flustered. Meanwhile, Cordae is eager to explain the nuances of Jeff Bezos’s Regret Minimization Framework, but he too gets a little discombobulated when you ask him simple questions about how he and Naomi first met. This isn’t Hollywood coy, either. We have a Ph.D. in Hollywood coy. This, ladies and gentlemen, is puppy love—the rarest and most precious love of all. Naomi and Cordae aren’t merely good-looking or talented or trying to change the world; they’re all of those things at once. They’re the embodiment of all the greatness the next generation has to offer—stylish, outspoken about social justice, well-read, thoughtful about any number of topics while keeping things low-key—and easily the coolest young couple on the planet.


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Naomi Osaka & Cordae Ask Each Other 30 Questions

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Cordae & Naomi Osaka Ask Each Other 30 Questions

I met with Naomi and Cordae over a series of Zooms: individually and then both at the same time. But let’s start with Naomi. There’s no denying she has a once-in-a-generation fire inside of her. She’s a mentee of Kobe, after all, whom she first met in June 2019. And obviously she’s a relentless competitor on the court. But she is also grounded and self-aware, the kind of person who seems to float above the fray, as if she’s on her own high frequency. For someone young enough to still be on her parents’ health insurance, she’s forcing us to re-examine what a young, modern athlete can stand for. Especially when it comes to winning.

On Cordae: Jacket, $2,850, by Greg Lauren. T-shirt, $120, by Jacquemus. Pants, $565, by A-Cold-Wall. Sneakers, $70, by Puma. Rings (on index finger), $7,900, and (on ring finger), $5,500, by David Yurman. Earring (throughout), his own. On Naomi: Jacket, $495, and shorts, $425, by Ganni. Shirt, $420, by Maisie Wilen. Sneakers, $120, by Nike x Naomi Osaka x Comme des Garçons.


GQ: You started tennis at age three and have been a competitor your entire life, basically. Has the importance of winning changed at all for you?

Naomi Osaka: That’s a funny question. When I was younger, winning was everything. You train your entire life for the match, and you feel like your worth is validated whether you win or lose. It used to be really heavy when I lost, because I felt like that just meant that I was kind of worth nothing. I feel like as I grew up, I learned more and I realized that life isn’t based on just the tennis game I play. It’s sort of based on little things, like your actions as a person. Like saying hello to everyone you meet and stuff like that. I feel like that is more validating than whether I win a tennis match or not.


To someone on the outside looking in, starting a profession super young seems really toxic.

I can only speak for myself, but I feel like it’s taught me a lot of lessons. Most of them I had to learn the hard way. So I’m not sure if that’s called toxic or not. It’s the only life that I know, if that makes sense. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else or going through any other trial- or tribulation-type thing. I would say that when I was younger and going through the process, I wished things were different. But I also feel like surviving it made me a stronger person.

One of those moments that I’m sure made you stronger was beating Serena at the 2018 U.S. Open. Now, after two years, what was that really like?

Well, I always think of all my matches as a tennis match, no matter who I play. And it’s weird, but as a kid, I always dreamed of playing Serena in the finals. So for me it felt like just a huge accomplishment to even be there in the first place. I was just going into it thinking it was a tennis match. And then I feel like everything after was something that I could have never prepared for. And I just felt super overwhelmed. Even during the trophy ceremony, I was overwhelmed.

But I feel like the me now sort of understands everything that took place. And at the same time, I wish I could have articulated myself better and expressed to everyone my emotions—say what I really thought. Because I feel like the media sort of [dictates] the narrative of how they want to sell things. And for me, I never saw it that way when I was playing.

Specifically you never saw what?

I never saw Serena as angry or anything like that. It was a tennis match. She was expressing her emotions, but we were playing tennis. You know what I mean?

What did you not say then that you can say now?

Probably just for everyone to stop pushing the narrative that Serena was being mean or stuff like that. For me it was weird because, at the time, I didn’t even know they were saying that. After the match, I didn’t have my phone or anything on me. I was just eating dinner with my parents. And then when I woke up the next morning, it was on the news. So for me, I was very shocked because, first of all, that was the first time I was ever on the news. Second of all, I felt like it was for all the wrong reasons. So I feel like this is something that I’ve learned over the years. But I wish I could have said something back then.

On Cordae: Shirt, $565, by A-Cold-Wall. T-shirt, $195, by Fear of God. On Naomi: Dress, $1,195, by The Elder Statesman. Earring, $475 (for pair), by Jennifer Fisher. Ring, $6,200, by Chrome Hearts.


On Cordae: Jacket, $4,950, by Valentino. T-shirt, $75, by Cotton Citizen. Pants, $295, by Paul Smith. Sneakers, $745, by Jimmy Choo. Ring, $7,900, by David Yurman. On Naomi: Dress, $650, and socks (price upon request) by Acne Studios. Shoes, $740, by Fenty. Earrings, $3,200 each, and ring, $2,800, by Chrome Hearts.


Does it change the way you feel about the victory?

For me it doesn’t taint anything. I would say it definitely made it very controversial. But I feel like anybody that watches tennis would have appreciated the match. And I also feel like it sort of shows how big of a figure that Serena is. Everyone in tennis says it, but anyone that beats her sort of gets thrown into the spotlight. But I wouldn’t say that that tainted it. I would just say that it gave me a lot of experiences in one single day that maybe would have taken a lot of other people a couple of years to experience.

To me it feels like whenever two Black women play against each another there’s added media attention that’s often negative. Does it feel that way to you?


I would definitely say it feels different. Just hearing you say that makes me think: There are so many tennis players in the world. And yet, for some reason, whenever I play Serena, they broadcast it in a way that’s a rivalry. But it’s not. She’s won so much more than me. So many people can try their entire lifetime and not catch up to what she’s done. And that’s something that, you know, I’m trying to set as a goal. I’m not even sure it’s possible to do everything that she’s done. But it’s also weird how they set it up like that.

Are you ever worried when you speak out about things like race?

When I started thinking about it, yes. Because I feel like all you ever really need is, like, the first push. There’s a point where you just think to yourself, “Well, there’s no turning back now.” So I’d say it definitely did scare me a lot.

Dress, $1,195, by The Elder Statesman. Earring, $475 (for pair), by Jennifer Fisher. Ring, $6,200, by Chrome Hearts.


Do you remember the first time you vocalized something and realized that it could be considered controversial?

When I first posted a statement [about police brutality toward Black people] on Twitter, before I was wearing the masks. I pulled out of a tournament earlier that day, and I was getting so many notifications—my Twitter has never blown up like that before. So just getting all those notifications and then getting texts from, you know, my mom telling me she’s proud of me and she hopes that I’m all right. Stuff like that. Realizing the scale of reach that I have that I don’t really exercise day to day.

And then just accepting and realizing that tennis is a majority white sport, which is something that I knew growing up. Everyone sort of knows that. I feel like when people think about tennis, they think of Wimbledon and wearing white clothes and wooden rackets. So I’m hoping that, you know, as the years go on, that viewpoint changes.

How would you describe your relationship with Kobe before he passed?

I would say he was like the older brother/uncle that I wish I always had. He was someone that, no matter how busy he was, for some reason he always picked up the phone when I called him. And I remember once, after the [2019] U.S. Open, I called him after one of my matches and he was just hanging out with his youngest daughter. He’s someone that gave me advice.


What’s the best advice he gave you?

I was asking him questions about how to handle the media and press when I was getting news articles written about me whenever I lost. And that was really stressful. I remember he told me, “Imagine that you’re a lion and you’re hunting your prey. So you see a deer off in the distance. And if you watch Animal Planet, you always see the lions looking at their prey, and they have gnats around their eyes. Think of the media and the press as gnats, and you’re the lion, so never get distracted. And you never see the lion trying to swat away the flies or anything like that.”

Kobe! Do you ever think about life after tennis?

Of course I’d like to have a family. I’m really grateful for it, but I’ve… I’ve never had to experience being famous. You know what I mean? Like, not being able to go anywhere or having to have a security person. So I’m really grateful to be in the position that I’m in, because I don’t think I would be able to handle it.So yeah, just chill somewhere with my family.

You don’t think you’re famous? Like…currently?

Yeah. I honestly don’t think I’m famous.

Naomi Osaka, you’re very famous.

Jacket, $2,850, by Greg Lauren. T-shirt, $120, by Jacquemus. Pants, $565, by A-Cold-Wall. Sneakers, $70, by Puma. Rings (on index finger), $7,900, and (on ring finger), $5,500, by David Yurman.


“My elementary school, middle school, high school was 99.9 percent Black. Kids who look like me. It just felt really weird for me being in that space [at the 2019 U.S. Open]. That was my first tennis match ever.” Cordae

The energy is completely different when I talk to Naomi and Cordae together. Getting them to answer a very basic question about how they met takes almost 10 minutes. They’re giggling. They’re blushing. They’re constantly contradicting each other in a way that feels endless. It’s adorable. But trying to put together a coherent timeline of their romantic backstory is tough. Historians will have to chart their relationship as if it were the Big Bang. The only thing we’re fairly certain about is that it happened.

The basic story, as I understand it, is Cordae and Naomi linked up two years ago and exchanged phone numbers. After some back-and-forth, they agreed to meet for a first date at, of all places, Staples Center, for a Clippers game.

Naomi: We were on FaceTime trying to find each other because the arena was so big. And I just remember seeing that there were so many people who wanted to take a picture with him. And I just thought it was really cool how friendly and welcoming he was with everyone.

Cordae, is it true you didn’t know she was a tennis player at the time?

Cordae: Yeah, at the time. It’s not my sport. If you asked me about tennis, before being immersed in it because of Naomi, I could only give you Venus and Serena Williams, you know? Because they’re just a part of the culture.

Naomi, does Cordae play unfinished and new music for you first?

Naomi: Yeah. But he had to warm up to me. And I had to do a lot of pleases. “Please, sir, can I just please listen to your song?” Eventually he let me listen to his music, which I feel really grateful and honored about, to be honest. He’s a perfectionist, and I think that’s sort of what I am too. So maybe that’s why we get along.


Cordae: She’s musically inclined, though. She has a good ear. I don’t really trust too many people’s ear like that. You get what I’m saying? She has a widespread ear. And that’s the way she thinks as well: worldwide.

On Cordae: Jacket, $4,950, by Valentino. T-shirt, $75, by Cotton Citizen. Pants, $295, by Paul Smith. Sneakers, $745, by Jimmy Choo. Ring, $7,900, by David Yurman. On Naomi: Coat (price upon request) by Louis Vuitton. Dress, $650, and socks (price upon request) by Acne Studios. Shoes, $740, by Fenty. Earrings, $3,200 each, and ring, $2,800, by Chrome Hearts.


Has she ever listened to something and been like, “Change this” or “Change that”?

Cordae: No. I don’t tell her how to swing. It’s a mutual respect.

Naomi: He also introduces me to a lot of older music. Songs I remember my parents listening to. I’m not sure if he’s going to kill me for saying that.

Like what, Cordae?

Cordae: It just depends. Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye. Gil Scott-Heron. Michael Jackson is my favorite artist of all time. Oh, Chuck—a lot of Chuck Berry as well. Jimi Hendrix and stuff.

Naomi: Growing up, I feel like I just heard the hits, you know what I mean? It’s a really interesting thing about him. He knows the whole catalog of everyone. I feel like the knowledge that he has about his craft and his passion is so much more vast than mine.

Cordae: You’re making it work, though! She making it look good.

I think most people found out you guys were dating at the 2019 U.S. Open. What was that like for you, Cordae?

Cordae: I don’t know if I ever told Naomi this or not, but I felt really out of place. Like, that was my first time being in an environment like that in my entire life. My elementary school, middle school, high school was 99.9 percent Black. Kids who look like me. It just felt really weird for me being in that space. That was my first tennis match ever.

That’s basically like your first rap concert being Jay-Z at Madison Square Garden…and you’re dating Jay-Z.

Cordae: I was just about to say that. [Laughs.]

Naomi, most musicians’ lives are pretty chaotic and formless. Late nights. Tons of travel. Was there an adjustment period for you when you guys first started dating?

Naomi: In the beginning. Just because he has such a completely different work style than me. I start super early in the morning, and then I end late afternoon. But I feel like for him everything starts at night. So it was kind of hard to adjust to that in the beginning. But when I did, I felt pretty comfortable. I wouldn’t say there was a moment where I felt like he did when he went to the Open or anything like that.


Dating an artist is traditionally difficult. Is any of it surprising to you?

Naomi: I would say it definitely feels very different. But I never… I don’t know. I never really thought too much about it. I was about to say something really cheesy. I’m glad I didn’t. Yeah, it’s just… [Even through a pixelated Zoom, I could make out Naomi blushing.]

What would happen if you said something “cheesy”?

Naomi: I just don’t… I don’t want to say something cheesy. I would feel kind of… [Laughs.]

Cordae: She’s just a boss, man. She do that boss talk, bro! That’s how she moves.

“Honestly, he’s quite a romantic dude.” Naomi Osaka

On top of normal relationship pressure, there’s static that comes with being two famous people in a relationship. How do you guys navigate that?

Cordae: We were dating for almost a year before people knew about us. So we kind of move very reclusively. We don’t really post intimate moments, because I feel as though they’re sacred. A relationship is really a sacred thing. Once you let outside influences get into it, it becomes less sacred.

On Cordae: Jacket, $4,950, by Valentino. T-shirt, $75, by Cotton Citizen. Pants, $295, by Paul Smith. Sneakers, $745, by Jimmy Choo. Ring, $7,900, by David Yurman. On Naomi: Coat (price upon request) by Louis Vuitton. Dress, $650, and socks (price upon request) by Acne Studios. Shoes, $740, by Fenty. Earrings, $3,200 each, and ring, $2,800, by Chrome Hearts.


But sometimes there is celeb static that is unavoidable. For example, the times when Naomi went on the Ellen show. Ellen spent entirely too much time pushing for you and Michael B. Jordan to date. She said she texted him. Ellen even displayed a photoshopped billboard of Naomi and MBJ outside her studio. Granted, she didn’t know you two were dating at the time. But non-famous people don’t have to worry about billboards of their girlfriend with Michael B. Jordan.

Naomi: I mean, for me it was awkward. But at the same time, I sort of understood why she did it. The previous time I was on the show, that’s sort of what she was talking about. So in my mind, I just thought it was a segment, but I also didn’t want to just say, like, “I have a boyfriend.” I sort of felt like maybe she would blow that up too. And I wouldn’t know how I would handle that.

Cordae, how did watching that make you feel?

Cordae: It’s funny. I didn’t even notice it. But Michael B. Jordan is like my big brother in real life. And he sent it to me and commented on it. He said, “Ellen, you funny as hell.” I’m a pretty secure dude and don’t like tripping off any of that. And I know how both of us think. [Naomi] reacted in a way that she should have—versus blowing the whole situation up. Because we both know what it is.


What’s the most romantic thing Cordae has ever done for you, Naomi?

Naomi: Honestly, he’s quite a romantic dude. This is going to take a little bit of backstory, but you know how in the U.S. Open we had to quarantine and we couldn’t really have a lot of people there with us? So for me I’ll always have my dad with me, because he’s sort of like the guy that keeps me calm and he tells one-liners to keep me happy and stuff like that. He was unable to travel with me there. During the whole New York thing and with everything that was going on, I started to feel really depressed. Sometimes I would call Cordae, and maybe in some of the calls I would cry. I don’t remember. [Laughs.] And he flew out, even though he was really busy. I really appreciated that.

I’m not sure if I’ve told him that. I feel like he actually really helped me win just, like, keeping up the motivation.

Cordae, same question.

Cordae: I don’t know. She always comes on tour with me. I don’t know if that counts as sweet or romantic. But that’s pretty tight. It’s like she’s the only girl in the crew. You know how a tour bus goes: It’s me, the band, security, the homies, tour management, lights, sound engineer. You know what I’m saying? She’ll just take time out of, you know, whatever she got going on training and things of that nature to just come with us on tour for, like, two weeks at a time.

Naomi, does tour-bus life mess with your routine?

Naomi: Honestly, it did in the beginning. But I sort of got used to it. And for me, I’ve been training for my whole life. It’s just like a fun adventure anytime I go on tour with him.

Cordae, have you ever written lyrics about Naomi that don’t have her name in it?

Cordae: “Thanksgiving.”

And what’s the lyric?

Cordae: I’m not going to go into detail, but the song is basically about bringing a woman home for Thanksgiving for the first time.

Who’s the more competitive person between the two of you?

Naomi: Do you want to answer that, sweetie?

Cordae: I don’t know. But she’s a killer, though. I’ll just say that.

On Cordae: Sweater, $595, by Paul Smith. Jeans, $980, by Bottega Veneta. Watch, $2,800, by TAG Heuer. Bracelet, $6,480, by Chrome Hearts. On Naomi: Sweater, $518, by Hope Macaulay. Bra, $32, by Skims. Earring, $105 (for pair), by Jennifer Fisher.


The first person to tell me about Cordae, who went by YBN Cordae at the time, was my little cousin Kai. Which, if I’m being honest, didn’t make me, a 32-year-old, immediately run and listen to him.

It’s not that Kai doesn’t have good taste. For a 17-year-old, he has great taste. But I didn’t listen to him, because the current state of rap is manic. Rappers can amass huge followings nowadays with barely any music out and then disappear. It’s harder than ever to know who has actual buzz and traction. Even harder to know who’s here to stay.

“I was always reading Harry Potter books. And my mom was like, If you can read a 500-page Harry Potter book, then you can read about your people.” Cordae

But Cordae is different from most other artists of his generation. The common move for a lot of young rappers is to pretend that they’re oblivious to history and the artists that have come before them, but Cordae is a proud student. Jay-Z and Nas are two of his favorite rappers. He’ll quote James Baldwin and W.E.B. Du Bois. He’s crafty with how he constructs his lyrics. Not too tricky, but there’s real care.

Yet the most impressive trick that Cordae pulls off with his music is that it’s still fun. It doesn’t have any of the backpack-rap mustiness or feel academic and prescriptive. That’s partly because he’s really good. Ordained. But also partly because he’s actually having more fun than everyone else. He’s the bridge between someone like me and Kai, who described his music as powerful. And the kid was right.

When you hear someone describe your music as powerful, does it make you feel like there’s a burden to make it that way?

Cordae: I don’t think I feel a burden to make powerful music. But at the same time, as artists we are the gatekeepers of time. We are the modern-day griots, 1 million percent. And we do have some sort of responsibility to speak on the times and things that are going on. And it is a responsibility to speak on the things that are affecting you in the community, because that’s what we have: a voice. That’s actually the origin of hip-hop.


Who taught you about the elevated things in your music? Things like griots and whatnot.

My mom. I was always reading Harry Potter books. And my mom was like, If you can read a 500-page Harry Potter book, then you can read about your people. So I was 10 years old, no bullshit, reading The Souls of Black Folk, reading Thurgood Marshall’s biography, reading about Johnnie Cochran. You know what I’m saying? Fucking A. Philip Randolph. Huey P. Newton’s Revolutionary Suicide. I’ve been rereading that as of late.

Who was your favorite rapper growing up?

Nas, Kanye West. In my early youth, for sure, Nas, Kanye West, Jay-Z.

What is the most embarrassing moment you’ve ever had?

Damn. In life?

In life.

Okay! I was five years old. I performed at the talent show with my cousin Kari. And we performed Nas’s “I Can.” And my cousin started fucking up, and I literally fought him in front of everybody. Age five. My mom can attest to this story. I mean, she was so embarrassed. I don’t think that was embarrassing for me, though.

Did you win the fight?

I don’t think so. I think my cousin whooped my ass.

Oh. Well then maybe that was the embarrassing part.


On Cordae: Sweater, $595, by Paul Smith. Watch, $2,800, by TAG Heuer. Bracelet, $6,480, by Chrome Hearts. On Naomi: Sweater, $518, by Hope Macaulay.


Why did your group, YBN, break up?

Jay and Nahmir are my brothers in real life. I love them n-ggas to death. Sometimes you have different visions for what you want to do and you grow apart. But it’s never any love lost. Before I separated, I had a conversation and I asked for Nahmir’s blessing and he gave it to me. I asked for his blessing. Our legacies are forever going to be attached. Because of how we came up and so on.

How was your vision different from theirs?

What we want to get out of this music thing. My ultimate goal is to make the Rock & Roll and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. And I hope there’s a Hip-Hop Hall of Fame. There needs to be, right? That’s my ultimate goal. Whenever I create any song, I’m thinking about my catalog. I refuse to drop an album that I can’t stand behind. I will die behind this motherfucking album that I put out. Because I’m looking at my catalog.

You rap about your mom being a single mom. Where is your dad?


We lived in different states, and he was in and out of prison. But my dad is a good man. I don’t want to put out any resentment toward him. I did at a young age. But as I grow older, I’m starting to understand him more.

What does he think of your success?

He proud as hell. He’ll be like, “What the fuck, n-gga! This shit crazy.”

What’s it like when you do a show back home?

My family’s just unapologetically braggadocious as fuck when I come into town. Ghetto as hell. And I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I love it.

What do you spend your money on?

I don’t. I really don’t spend money, bro. I live well below my means. I don’t own any jewelry. I’m always looking for what’s next, you know? Keep tunnel vision to keep pushing, but my gratitude is the highest. I’m blessed as fuck. I think everybody’s realized throughout this year that we’ve been paying more attention to the blessings. The fact I have a family, a mom that loves me to death. One of my biggest blessings is I do what I love for a living full time. My lifestyle’s hella regular. I do like spending money on conveniences, if that makes sense.

Like what?

Every time I come home, I sleep on the couch at my mom’s house. And I still got to do my chores around the house. Mow the lawn, et cetera. I’m the man of the house.

Still to this day?

For sure. I’ve been the man of the house since I was four years old. I’ve never said this before, but my nickname growing up was Man. Real shit. Because it was me, my grandma, my aunt, and my mom all in a house. And so my nickname was Man since I was a little-ass boy.

And I say all that to say I came back home and my mom was just like, “Whatever, whatever,” and wanted me to clean the house. And I was cleaning it, and then I just hired a maid. [Laughs.]

On Cordae: Jacket, $2,850, by Greg Lauren. T-shirt, $120, by Jacquemus. Pants, $565, by A-Cold-Wall. Sneakers, $70, by Puma. Rings (on index finger), $7,900, and (on ring finger), $5,500, by David Yurman. On Naomi: Jacket, $495, and shorts, $425, by Ganni. Shirt, $420, by Maisie Wilen.


“We both move around so much that I’m not sure when we would have had a couple of months just to enjoy each other’s time and get to know each other better.” Naomi Osaka

Possibly nothing quite sums up Naomi and Cordae’s relationship like their Christmas Instagram post. It’s a photo of the two of them sitting on a private plane wearing matching lumberjack pajama pants and Santa hats. Naomi’s face, smittened. Cordae has a look on his face that says Fortune 500 CEO.

Naomi’s caption: Merii Kurisumasu 🎄❤️. Cordae’s comment below it: Happy Kwanzaa ❤️.

The post is a chef’s kiss. A perfect encapsulation of everything that makes them special: a global power couple keeping it casual and not taking things too seriously.

Cordae, how did you know Naomi was your match?

Cordae: I can’t really be with someone who doesn’t have any substance or doesn’t act or think on the same frequency and wavelength as I do. Like, you know, Naomi was born in Japan. So she has a very worldly perspective. My perspective has always been being a young Black man in America. But she thinks more worldly. I’ve only been traveling the world the last two years. We’d be recommending each other books and movies all the time. So, you know, just always feeding the brain.


How do you guys get through arguments?

Cordae: Naomi?

Naomi: Oh, my God. Okay, to be honest, he’s a very rational person. So it’s not like we have crazy arguments. We’re both very opinionated and hardheaded. I would say I’m more hardheaded than him. But from my side, I can’t really stay mad at him for too long, so I start giggling a lot. I would say he sort of takes the initiative. Unless I know that I’m really wrong. Then I’ll apologize.

Let’s say you don’t have anything to do on a Saturday. What would you do?

Naomi: Just enjoy each other’s company. I’m very grateful for the time that we’ve spent during quarantine. Because we both move around so much, I’m not sure when we would have had a couple of months just to enjoy each other’s time and get to know each other better. So I would say I think we would just stay in the house and watch movies or something.

Quarantining has its benefits!

Naomi: I definitely learned a lot from Cordae during quarantine. Whether it was good or bad things…I don’t know.… [Laughs and blushes.]

Cordae: None of it was bad.

Naomi: What? What?! Hey, sir! I was trying to finish speaking.

Cordae: My bad. [Laughs.]

Naomi: Yeah, whether it was good or bad… I won’t specify.

Mark Anthony Green is GQ’s special projects editor.

A version of this story originally appeared in the March 2021 issue with the title "Love All."

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PRODUCTION CREDITS:Photographs by Renell MedranoStyled by Mackenzie and Alexandra Grandquist with Mobolaji DawoduFor Cordae: Hair by Jackilyn Martinez; Grooming by Dice the Barber; Skin by Hee Soo Kwon using Dior Backstage Face & Body FoundationFor Naomi: Hair by Marty Harper at The Wall Group; Makeup by Autumn Moultrie using Dior Backstage Face & Body FoundationFor both: Tailoring by Yelena TravkinaProduced by Kristen Terry and Wei-Li Wang at Hudson Hill ProductionSet design by Griffin Frazen for 11th House Agency