Logic clearly feels that he has the capability to earn himself the position as one of the top 5 young MCs rapping today, in fact he may already feel like that he’s in that top-tier. It’s hard to knock the man’s work ethic, merely a year after he dropped his well recieved debut album ‘Under Pressure’ he’s released an ambitious follow-up, ‘The Incredible True Story’ that sees him taking his rap chops into outer space.
‘Under Pressure’ was the sound of someone with the ambition to try to rival his peers push himself towards a bigger audience, trying to prove to audiences that he had skills on the microphone to be mentioned among the biggest names in Rap today. Even with this ambition Logic stayed true to his roots and gave us an occasionally riveting back story into where he personally came from. Logic cared about rivalling his peers so much that on so many of the tracks, he sounded like he was imitating the styles of some of Hip Hop’s biggest names such as Kendrick Lamar and Drake rather than outdoing them. On ‘ITS’ he doesn’t really make any attempt to stray from this path and in many ways he still sounds very similar to other MCs like Childish Gambino as well as a handful of other artists. It’s hard to get a grasp on what Logic’s own personal style is even though he’s clearly got an extremely impressive flow and always sticks with the same fantastic producer 6ix to help build his own sonic template.
One thing that has changed on this album compared to ‘Under Pressure’ is that sonically, this album is a lot more ambitious, with him taking his love of film and applying it directly to his music – this in turn makes Logic’s immitating a lot more barable than before. The opening drums on ‘Contact’ which are sampled from an ‘808s’ era Kanye West song sound like the introduction to a James Cameron Sci-Fi film (in a good way) and throughout the album there are multiple stylistic shifts all with the intention of showing off Logic as a rapper. There are moments where it sounds like Logic is taking queues from Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ with the Jazz influence on the song, ‘Like Woah’ and at the beginning of ‘Young Jesus’ Logic shouts ‘Let’s take it back to the 90s!’ before spitting over what sounds like a glossier version of what might have come out of late 90s Hip-Hop. The shifts in sound show us how well Logic can adapt to different textures yet there’s a slight reek of desperation in his attempt to show us that, especially on tracks like ‘I Am the Greatest’ where it just sounds like a rip off of a song from Drake’s last album with the intention of showing us that he could make a Trap song if he wanted. What’s worse is that he doesn’t flow as well as many actual Trap rappers would have on it and sounds slightly dull.
Logic’s love of film also transcends into what becomes a slightly clunky yet interesting story set throughout the album in between the songs. There are many skits throughout the album informing us of how in the future the majority of Earth’s population is wiped out and the survivors are all searching for a planet called ‘Paradise’. There are lead characters who often have banterous conversations with each other and the voice over actor from ‘Under Pressure’ serves as ‘Thalia’ – the ship’s interface who sometimes provides us with information along the way. Although it’s interesting, with multiple listens these skits become tiresome especially with the questionable acting and the kack handed dialogue that doesn’t do much to provoke much thought. Logic himself doesn’t actually play to the story too much in terms of topics in his songs either. He mostly gives us braggadocious rhymes and occasionally gives us insightful details about his own life. He does dive into futuristic territory in the imagery of his lyrics on some of the songs such as ‘Fade Away’ where he talks of how he wants to make art that can outlive himself as a being, and on ‘Upgraded’ he talks about how his ever-growing success alters his perception of reality in a way that references ‘The Fifth Element’.
The most interesting moments in his lyrics are when he’s still completely focused in the present like on the song ‘Flashing Lights’, which although suffers from being a song that’s mostly sung with little innovation, has a very revealing verse towards the end where Logic talks on how he feels about the reception his first album got as well as where he feels he is in the rap game. He also speaks about how people love to make the fact that he’s white an obstacle to hold him back and how there’s a massive hypocrisy in the Hip-Hop community. Logic can tell us about himself and how he deems himself to be the greatest as much as he likes but the best moments are when he reflects and gets mad about it.
Despite the floors of this album Logic does have the right to be able to boast about how much of a talented MC he is. On these songs not only has he improved on a massive portion of his wordplay but he does show growth in terms of the way he structures his songs. The songs don’t feel quite so forced as they did at times on ‘Under Pressure’ and although they’re not as long as some of the songs on his debut, they do pack more into these short spaces in terms of delivering more rapping and less hooks.
Logic isn’t the greatest of all time, and despite what the skit suggests this album won’t change everything. You can’t fault the man for having ambition, but part of me wishes that the ambition he has would be used to come up with ideas that his peers never would have come up with, as well as him not having to tell us that he’s the greatest in Hip Hop right now. He’s already earnt the respect of so many Hip-Hop legends but he’s still yet to actually show his audience what he’s capable of on his own and to actually show them what he’s about stylistically.
Best Tracks: Fade Away, Upgraded