Album Review by: Neud Kiros
With a name more fitting for a Knight of the Round Table, Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, better known as Logic, finally released his debut album under Def Jam, Under Pressure. After four quality mixtapes and a barrage of one-off singles, we got what we’ve been waiting for. And it’s stellar. In our world of Instagram drama, Twitter beef, and all of the negative energy floating around these days, this project couldn’t have come at a better time. His uplifting message of “peace, love, and positivity” is one that should resonate with everybody, regardless of what you may think about his technical skills making music, which are out of this world, in case you were wondering. This album is nothing revolutionary for the Maryland-born rapper. Instead, he refined everything about his sound and crafted one of the best hip-hop albums of the year. Whether you were already a fan or not, there is something here for everyone.
Let’s start with the basics: the production is top-notch and comes almost exclusively from Logic’s team, Visionary Music Group. Logic self-produced a few of the songs as well, including “Nikki” and the titular track. There are some great samples and the album has a computerized woman offering little tidbits about the album between tracks á la Midnight Marauders. All of the little touches and ad-libs interspersed show Logic’s appreciation for his hip-hop forefathers. There are no features in the twelve tracks that come with the standard edition of the album, another shoutout to old-school “real hip-hop”. Like he says in “Till The End”, “No rap features, just my rhymes / My story, it’s all mine.” His debut album is for him, and him alone.
The lyrics and flow are what we’ve come to expect from Logic, grounded subject matter with one of the tightest flows around. He’s got the rawness of an old-school MC with the youth of a pop star. Every track on the album is perfectly manicured, almost like a textbook example of how to make a song. He does take some risks sonically though, like using the same sample as “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst”, a stirring, deeply intimate song. In total, the album is pretty tame overall.
As a whole, Logic’s music has really matured. This is more of the same artist from his previous mixtapes, but with a message outside of the come-up rap we’ve become accustomed to. Logic is here to stay, and has the freedom to explore his formative years. My only gripe is that a couple of the tracks seem to blend together. The undeniable cohesiveness of the album causes some of the songs to get mixed up easily. However, this only speaks to the level of focus everyone involved brought to this project. In many ways, this album could be something from Kendrick Lamar. There are subtle similarities, and some not so subtle that show the influence K Dot had during the album’s creation.
Logic opens up his rough upbringing to us for the first time in his career, and it’s bleak. He was cooking crack at twelve, grew up on food stamps, and witnessed some horrible things that nobody should have to see. Despite all of this, he manages to remain positive, which is simply inspirational. In many ways, his album is a lot like his life: a somber backdrop with an uplifting message carrying the load. He’s not trying to be something he’s not. All he wants to be is all he can be: himself.
Fun Fact: Logic personally called every fan who pre-ordered multiple copies of Under Pressure