Wow, Logic is really making this his final album, eh?
Look, in the beginning, I did see a lot of promise in Logic as the guy is a capable rapper that can spit and have some choice lyrics and content in him. However, the last couple of years has not been kind to him, and that especially goes for his output in 2019: from his alternative rock soundtrack to his own novel Supermarket to the previously reviewed Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.
Now in 2020, Logic announced his retirement as he’s transitioning into fatherhood along with the final album serving as a sequel to this first album, Under Pressure. The other highlight worth nothing prior to this album is that No I.D. is the executive producer of the project who’s no slouch on that front considering his work on Jay Z’s 4:44.
So, with all that said, how was No Pressure?
I can safely that while I didn’t have much high expectations, this is the best project I heard from him since The Incredible True Story. The album is basically a re-telling of what we know about Logic’s life from his upbringing and parents, to coming up in his rap career and the pressures that followed along with it. It starts off with the opening track where he, along with chopped up narration by Orson Welles, starts things off like a radio program. And yes, for all the video game fiends out there, you did hear David Hayter aka Solid Snake on there as well.
There is plenty of content on here that’s all over the place with topics like his transition into a father (“DadBod”) and his family life. There’s even one line that might familiarize you from last year:
Although the difference is that the subject isn’t brought up a thousand times while becoming a disjointed mess. “Hit My Line” has him rapping on the troublesome times of his life and references injustices in the world, which he hinted wasn’t immediately inspired by the recent events but things that are more prevalent in the world. It’s worth noting that Kanye West serves a big influence in the album given the references to his past songs, like:
Now I ain’t sayin’ this my “Jesus Walks”
I’m just sayin’, God, I need to talk
Too many kids in the community outlined in chalk
Scared of drive-bys when they should just be scared of the dark
Who’s really doin’ they part?
They say they don’t want messages in rap, it ruins the art
Well, here I am, people, yeah, now tear me apart
The other Kanye reference in this album is “Heard ’em say,” with the interpolation of that song along with a nice sample from “Lies (Through the 80s)” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, and I was feeling this song anytime I went back to the album. You’ll also notice that Thalia, the A.I. from The Incredible True Story, often acts like the transition to the next track with her talking about the process of this album, like a ‘DID YOU KNOW?’-type theme: the production style is inspired by Kanye West, RZA & Nujabes, he had anime like Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo and Trigun on rotation while making it, etc.
There are joints like “GP4” where the sample is clear as day with the chorus:
You and me
Gon’ live together in this perfect harmony (I hear ’em callin’)
I can hear ’em callin’ me
We’ve come a long way since H.O.C. (Watch)
Snap my fingers like Thanos and Bobby Boy bringin’ the doom
‘Cause I’m 6:30, killin’ shit, hands down and dirty
That white boy can’t rap, he talk good and act nerdy
I just texted Erykah Badu
To let her know what I’m gon’ do
Sample “Dreamflower” by Tarika Blue
That’s cool with you?
Yeah, that interpolation and beat was sampled from that classic Outkast song, “Elevators (Me and You)”, and while this song is good though, it does make me want to go back to the original. Speaking of Outkast, their influence appears again on the track “man i is”, which has the horn sample from “SpottieOttieDopaliscious”, and as mentioned in the lyric above me, “Dreamflower” by Tarika Blue, which Erkyah Badu sampled in her song “Didn’t Cha Know.” There’s also a part in “A2Z” in the 2nd half where Logic plays his 2005 demo that he is embarrassed off and I see why.
Rain in the gutter, my talented knife cutter
Always flowing venomous, never rolling in regiments
Whipping read to intelligence, you copy then we settle in
Possibilities is endless, you’ll never catch me pen-less
Suicidal lyrics, controvers’ like stem-cell research
Ain’t no time to compromise, my rhymes immortalized
Visualize as I vocalize, worldly lies, that we’re hypnotized
Staring into space like the Enterprise
Contemplating on words that shall arise
Mentality merciless, never sympathize
Although Logic is known for rapping rapidly and trying to cram syllables in there to make it all fit, this isn’t as much of a problem here as it was on his other albums. The ending track “Obediently Yours” has the Orson Welles commentary on Issac Woodard Jr, a black veteran who was beaten and blinded by a white police officer. Yes, you can say that the commentary paints a picture of the recent Black Lives Matter movement and how there is more work to be done.
This album may not be the most mind-blowing experience, but it is a dignified and poignant final foray for Logic and a project that carries more in its execution that most of his previous projects. If this is how he ends it, then he ended it on a flawed but solid project as he enjoys his retirement, his transition into fatherhood… and that 7-figure Twitch exclusive deal.
Final Verdict: STREAM IT. There’s no pressure as this album is pretty damn solid.
No Pressure is on Visionary Music Group/Def Jam Records and it’s available on digital download and streaming services