Album Review: Logic impresses in “The Incredible True Story”

    Logic's album cover for "The Incredible True Story". Photo by iTunes.

    Logic steers the spaceship at the front, with co-executive producer 6ix (front left), voice actor Steve Blum (front right), and contributors Kevin Randolph (back left) and DJ Rhetorik (back right) illustrated in the album cover for “The Incredible True Story.” Illustration by Sam Spratt.

    Sir Robert Bryson Hill II, more commonly known by his stage name Logic, is currently one of the hottest up-and-coming rappers. His debut album, “Under Pressure”, which released last October, impressed listeners through the rapper’s strong lyrics and messages. It was also met with positive reviews from various critics. Songs such as “Gang Related” and “Metropolis” shine among others, and give the audience a peek into his turbulent life. Logic has also released four mixtapes prior to signing with Def Jam Records, a giant in the industry that has signed prominent artists such as Rihanna and Kanye West. Logic released his highly anticipated second album “The Incredible True Story” on Nov. 13 after much anticipation, and he solidifies his legitimacy in the industry.

    Logic, who grew up in an indigent neighborhood in Maryland, details his rough childhood in his lyrics. He grew up with a distant relationship with both his Caucasian mother and African-American father, who both struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. He started skipping class in high school, leading him to expulsion during his sophomore year. Despite these hardships, Logic turned to music to express his struggles. Ever since, he has steadily gained attention from producers and musicians for his brilliant musical flow.

    “The Incredible True Story” is a powerful and consistently thematic album that demonstrates his lyrical genius. Like other rap albums, Logic interweaves a storyline into the album – in one night’s worth of work – and finds inspiration from film director Quentin Tarantino’s style of script writing. Based on a narrative 100 years in the future, Logic takes the listeners on a journey through space. The two main characters in the storyline of the album, Thomas and Kai, fly through galaxies to find a planet called “Paradise,” mimicking a future uninhabitable Earth. The skits featuring the two characters’ adventure and music combine to create a professionally developed sophomore album.

    Among the 18 tracks on the album, a couple stood out in particular. Read below to get a taste of some of my favorites on “The Incredible True Story.”

    Song 2: “Fade Away”

    Immediately, the beat gives us a positive and refreshing feel. Logic ties back to the first track “Contact” by repeating in the chorus that his status won’t disappear until his name fades away, which isn’t any time soon. Logic voices his opinion on the lavish life he worked hard for, especially for someone who grew up in a dangerous and poor neighborhood. He maintains a euphonious flow while applying literary elements like homophones and integrating SAT-caliber vocabulary smoothly into rhymes that would impress even English Honors teachers. At the end of the song, Thomas and Kai talk to Thalia, the voice simulator in the ship.
    When Thomas informs Kai about Thalia’s ability to gather information and simulate any person in history, Kai chooses rapper (and Logic’s friend) Big Sean to talk to, and Sean makes a cameo, asking Kai what’s up. This little segment’s humor and lightheartedness weaves in nicely with the mood of the song, as well as setting up the next song, “Upgrade.”

    Song 3: “Upgrade”

    Oh. My. Goodness. Logic really packs heat in “Upgrade”; this is already my favorite song on the album. He somehow combines rapid-fire bars with a poised and mellow tone, a rare talent even in the upper echelons of the hip hop industry. Accelerating, singing, rapping – Logic is a triple threat in the studio. Logic throws in plenty of allusions to classic films and television, such as “Martin,” implying he sticks to his roots while upgrading to a higher level musically. Logic has definitely upgraded, and with his presence alone, he upgrades the entire rap game.

    Song 5: “Like Woah”

    The title of this song perfectly reflects my reaction to this song. Logic is a storyteller, but after taking a moment to see where he is at in life now, he cannot express his reaction with any another word than “woah.” He is taken aback by the lavish lifestyle he has obtained, in comparison to growing up on food stamps. The jazzy beat that vaguely reminds me of “The Girl from Ipanema,” and similarly so, “Like Woah” is a dreamy and nostalgic song that takes listeners to their respective happy places. “The Incredible True Story” is off to a good start, to say the least.

    Song 6: “Young Jesus” feat. Big Lenbo

    Logic, known for mixing old school music with contemporary sound, begins the song by saying “Take ‘em back to the ’90s!” and the beat has a clear Wu-Tang Clan feel to it. Logic’s first verse is succinct, and then Big Lenbo – one of the original members of Logic’s Rattpack group – comes in with heavy rapping that matches nicely with Logic’s higher and quicker style. The duo continues to interchange with barely a beat in between, and the chemistry flows spectacularly between both rappers. The lyrics themselves are audacious as Logic and Big Lenbo express their lack of care for their critics and call out incapable MCs, which subtly matches with the the divine title of the song. This song’s hypnotic beat and exciting lyrics had me nodding my head and grunting like Sway in the Morning.

    Song 8: “I am the Greatest”

    Borrowing the great Muhammad Ali’s words, Logic explains why he is the best in the game, all the while articulating his lack of love for other rappers. Logic boasts his musical skill and the messages he conveys, which include peace, love and positivity. As for other hip hop artists, Logic claims the vulgar images they tend to spread about women and money is harmful to society and the overall goodness of people. Even though I am a fan of trap music and stereotypical hip hop as well, Logic’s words ring true, and the difference between his exceptional skill level and regular drill rap is obvious. Logic has a clear statement for the haters.

    Song 11: “City of Stars”

    Although “City of Stars” may seem like a love song intended for a woman in his life, Logic clarified in a tweet saying, “City of Stars is a break up song with hip hop, written to be perceived as a person (so the listener can embrace it however they want) and finally not giving a s**t about what that person thinks or allowing their opinion to drag down my artistic integrity or how I create. … It is a goodbye to ‘how a person should make hip hop’ and a hello ‘to finally embracing and focusing on Genre-less Music.’” Logic uses more of his singing element to spread his statement on hip hop during the first half of the song, and then switches the flow to rap-discuss hip hop issues including studio deals, drugs and race. “City of Stars” hits home, and Logic provides a connection between listeners and himself.

    Song 14: “Paradise”

    Rapping over a smooth drum beat highlighted by hi-hats and cymbals, Logic takes us through a timeline of his life. He flashes back to brief images of his father’s departure, his mother’s arrest, and his rise to fame. Perhaps this is what makes Logic so special: his ability to paint images of the harsher realities of not only his life, but embrace the major conflicts of America. And of course, Logic brings the musical fluidity to the track, slowing down and speeding back up in milliseconds between rhymes. “Paradise” is full of double meanings, and Logic searches for his perfect world as Thomas and Kai search for theirs.

    Song 18: “The Incredible True Story”

    The last track is a three-part finale: a trio of verses, a sample of the speech “What If Money Was No Object” by Alan Watts and a closing scene of Thomas and Kai reaching Paradise. The verses touch on the importance of the nature of hip hop rather than the money and accolades. As usual, Logic delivers with seamless transitions and flawless flow. The speech continues on the message of money from the beginning of the song. It emphasizes the importance of living our lives to the fullest and doing the things we love during our time on Earth.
    Finally, the last scene reveals that Thomas and Kai have finally found Paradise, and they discuss Quentin Tarantino movies and Logic’s music, showing Logic’s love for his favorite movie director. When Kai and Thomas eventually land and step out of the ship, they hear insects chirping and animals snuffling. When Thomas asks what the sound is, Thalia responds with “Life.” “The Incredible True Story” is the perfect conclusion to Logic’s second studio album.

    Logic executes every track to perfection. The album is sure to be on repeat for an indefinite amount of time, and I highly suggest you give it a listen; “The Incredible True Story” is an utterly gorgeous sound that is, well, out of this world.

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