Since the start of his career, Logic has been one of Hip-Hop’s biggest punching bags. From being criticized for having “cringy” lyrics to being revered by some of the biggest names in rap, his love-hate relationship with the Hip-Hop community started with the release of his senior album, Everybody. What was supposed to be an album with a heartfelt message about accepting everybody no matter their race, sexual orientation, or creed was quickly turned into one of the biggest memes of 2017. Many people began to relentlessly joke about his biracial identity due to it’s repetitive references on the album. Alongside this, they also called his suicide prevention track 1-800-273-8255 “corny.” From here, however, things only got worse.
As he started to favor 808-heavy production filled with braggadocious rhymes over the socially conscious rap that he started off with, his earlier fans began to feel let down as they thought that Logic was abandoning what made him unique in the first place. So, on July 17th when Logic announced his retirement album, No Pressure, a sequel to his debut album Under Pressure, it was met with some strong reactions from both sides. Some felt it was long-awaited, some felt saddened by the loss of their favorite MC, and some felt indifferent. Retirement album or not, one question still remains: Is It Good?
The album opens up with a blast of nostalgia as Thalia, an advanced A.I that made its first appearance on Under Pressure, welcomes us to the “No Pressure Program.” As the track continues, we hear an audio recording from filmmaker Orson Welles with Logic’s own phrases, names, and albums edited in. The next song, Hit My Line, is a cry out to God as he searches for clarification on why he allows certain things to happen. He then concludes the song by acknoowledging that he knows this is probably not God’s first time hearing this.
Next, Logic delivers GP4 (Growing Pains 4) and SFII (Soul Food 2). Both of these tracks are continuations of previous songs that were on Under Pressure. What makes the latter even more interesting is that it features the original instrumentation that was supposed to be featured on Soul Food. Logic then delves into the other themes on this album, which consists of retirement, becoming a dad, and going into retirement due to his fatherhood. On tracks like man i is, he finally accepts his flaws and imperfections, while acknowledging, and at times even embracing, his incredibly troubled childhood. On dadbod, he delves into his experiences of fatherhood while detailing his routine schedule. He ends the song by addressing those who call for him to return to his previous form where he rapped about his current experiences. In short, he says that he can’t rap about his current life because it is not as interesting as it once was.
Perhaps the most personal track is Dark Place. Here, Logic reacts to all of the criticism he has received over the past few years and details the toll it has taken on his mental health. On Heard Em Say, Logic offers an ode to Kanye West, who he cites as one of his biggest inspirations. The track ends with Thalia teasing the long-awaited, unreleased Ultra 85 album. On Amen, the final track, he thanks everybody who has been along with him on his musical journey. He acknowledges how blessed he is to have achieved his position in the rap game while having an amazing fanbase (the RATTPACK). The album concludes with Obediently Yours, which offers some more spoken dialogue by Orson Welles. This time, however, it focuses on his thoughts of racism and why he believes that we still have a long way to go before all of us are truly be treated equal.
So, Is It Good? Yes. While his last albums have been met with strong criticism from both fans and critics, No Pressure, his swan song, feels like a return to formula. This is much needed after Logic spent so much of his career trying to cater to different demographics. He does a good job at balancing the task of making this project stand apart from its predecessor, while adding new themes that help him embrace his transition from a high-profile artist to a family man.
Best Songs: No Pressure (intro), Hit My Line, Open Mic // Aquarius III, SFII, man i is, Dadbod, Dark Place, Heard Em Say, Amen