Logic: From Bops to Flops

In 2015, my Sophomore year of high school, I encountered the music of Sir Robert Bryson Hall III at a cross-country meet. Hall is better known, however, by his stage name, Logic. My friends and I, exhausted from a 5K race about a half and hour earlier, were intrigued by a new rap album release titled, The Incredible True Story, by.. “Logic?” I don’t know about the opinions of the rest of my team, but I immediately fell in love with this album and its production.

               The Incredible True Story(2015), Logic’s sophomore studio album, was hot off the grill that fall. I found myself going back repeatedly to listen it and to older music from him as well. Under Pressure(2014), the rapper’s first studio album, was also amazing in its own right. Heck, I even went back to listen to all of his mixtapes(2009-2013) exclusively on SoundCloud.

               I had been fairly new to rap at this time, just beginning to stumble across names such as: Hopsin, Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., Kanye West, and internet rapper - Watsky. I knew it when I heard these artists - I had a huge infatuation with the lyricism, storytelling, and production that rap music brought to the table.

               The Incredible True Story is no different, either. A conceptual album that details the the journey of a near-future space voyage after Earth is left destroyed by its very inhabitants, T.I.T.S. is paired with jam-packed lyrics, impeccable flow, and great production from Logic. We also can see his vulnerability and his flow in previous works, such as Under Pressure(2014).

               But, all of this has changed. Logic has continually disappointed me in the past few years. In fact, no new release since I first stumbled across his music has come even remotely close to surpassing his earlier work.

               Logic’s chart topping single, 1-800-273-8255, was a song meant to pull heart strings and spread awareness of the nation’s suicide epidemic. By putting the actual suicide hotline number as the song’s title, Logic inevitably saved some lives from being lost. But, I will say it as a fan of Logic pre “1-800”: it just felt like he sold out.

               Don’t get me wrong, though. In no way, shape, or form am I saying that this song didn’t uphold a great message. All I mean to say is that it felt inauthentic coming from Logic. Everything he had released before this melancholy single - and, soon after, album Everybody(2017) - seemed real and tangible. You could literally feel the emotion that he was feeling and decipher his words for the meaning that they were meant to display right there, in the moment you listened. Creativity shined, and Logic delivered fantastic music. 1-800-273-8255 put Logic on the map - the song spread like wildfire. A heartfelt message, but a mediocre song at best.

               Now, this isn’t to say that Everybody wasn’t good. It just was nowhere near being great. The idea behind the concept album was to do every song from a different perspective. For instance, in the song “Mos Definitely” - a play on name of artist Mos Def - Logic tells a story of a man struggling to pay off college tuition. Another example is seen in “AfricAryaN”, where he tells a mind-boggling twelve minute and eight second story of his struggles growing up as a biracial male in Gaithersburg, Maryland. (This is the beginning of the “Logic biracial” meme… but we’ll cover that later).

               Let me give credit where it is due: great writing and flow can be seen in tracks like “AfricAryaN”.        

I feel the Aryan in my blood, it’s scarier than a Blood. Been looking for holy water, now I’m praying for a flood. It feels like time is passing me by slower than a slug while this feeling inside of my body seeps in like a drug”.         

              

               Great lyrics here, but not without being cheesy in other places. Really, man? A story solely based on a dude struggling to pay for college? Thanks for writing my autobiography for me.

               The album was ok. I stayed up to wait for the drop, and I listened in bed all the way through. Some shining moments are in the brilliant intro’s production, and a feature from Neil DeGrasse Tyson(dope, right?). But, the album was a disappointment overall. ‘No matter’, I thought, ‘I’ll wait for the next music, he’ll be back to his old, impeccable self’.

               Another mixtape was dropped in 2018. On his modern mixtapes, Logic goes broke on hard beats and “turn-up” tracks. This, once again, was not was I was looking for from Logic. Then there was yet another mixtape released in 2018, YSIV, in which the Maryland rapper pays homage to his old mixtapes before he made it big. This too had a boatload of corny songs that outweighed the few decent ones.

               Not only are the tracks subpar post 2015, but there is also the insanely repetitive idea of being biracial. If you listen to Logic, you know exactly what I’m addressing here. The rapper simply cannot go one project without mentioning his African-American and Caucasian mixed heritage. Look, being proud of the person you are is so important, don’t ever forget that. But, at the level of fame Logic has now acquired, he has no need to continue speaking on the same subject. It is annoying, makes him seem like he is dry and out of new ideas, and it has even gone as far as to offend people of color who are still stuck in low income or other hardships because they are still struggling while Logic is a multi-millionaire. It should also be mentioned that Logic jokes about this in his music now. With all the complaints, he hasn’t stopped or simply embraced it harder, but he is actually continuously rapping about it and making fun of how people don’t like it.

               Logic, it’s all your day one fans! Can you see us on your Grammy pedestal? Yeah, come on down and make good music again. Please.

Overall, this is simply a rant at its core. I am disgruntled. Logic has gone from one of the best lyricists and flows in the game to a wannabe pop star with limited ideas and subject matter. I just desire for Logic to be vulnerable again - to talk about his upbringing, views on the world, and passions. I just want that Logic back - the one who drew me in with his beautiful picture of what space and the future world will look like(all of the rest is “illogical”).

By: Frank Helmstetter