The Maryland rapper dropped what he calls his final album before retirement yesterday, No Pressure. The album, which is a continuation of sorts of his debut studio album Under Pressure, combines Logic’s socially conscious perspective on society with pure, raw bars. He pays homage to some of the greats of hip hop like OutKast and Public Enemy, while also cementing his own legacy. As he discusses issues such as greed, alcoholism, mental illness, race, fatherhood and identity, Logic melds important messages and differing perspectives with his near flawless boom-bap approach and high level lyricism to deliver an album that highlights all of his strengths.
The album, which was produced by No I.D., the same producer behind his debut album, begins with a simple production approach, as Logic begins the album with a rapid flow and vivid lyrics. As the album settles into its third track, “GP4,” Logic raps over a resample of an OutKast classic, “Elevators,” and even inverts the familiar chorus, switching the lyrics “me and you” for “you and me.” Logic brings to light his struggles with mental illness throughout the album, as he raps “Don’t give a fuck who be rhyming the fastest / my anxiety make me spit it a mile a minute.” Logic also highlights his experience with police brutality, rapping “Here come the cops / shooting up the hood like Black Ops / ‘Cause trigger-happy police tend to trigger happy people.” While Logic brings up important issues that need to be discussed, he does so with an extremely high level of lyricism, and melds societal issues into unadulterated rapping.
The album shifts tone slightly on “Celebration,” as Logic leans into his boom bap approach over a soulful sample. With boastful lines like “Most people wanna tell you what to do / ‘Cause it’s what they wanna do if they had an opportunity to / But too scared, that’s why they live vicariously through you,” Logic seamlessly dusts off his critics that have been riding him throughout the majority of his career. Logic continues this approach over soulful production through “Soul Food II,” but shift gears on the second half of the song to display his abilities as a storyteller, as he tells a story of discovery over a softer, more mellow beat.
After “Perfect,” an aggressive interlude of sorts, Logic once again pays tribute to OutKast on “man i is,” using the horns that are recognizable from the Atlanta duo’s “SpottieOttieDopaliscious.” Logic not only shows his ability to shift flows at will on the track, but pays further tribute to hip hop loyalty, shouting out legendary producer J Dilla and Underground Kings founder Pimp C. On “DadBod,” Logic reflects on being a new father, as he details that his life now revolved around his family rather than around hip hop and music, and even goes as far as to say “I could tell you more about diapers than modern rappers in cyphers.”
After displaying his lyrical abilities and hip hop credibility once more on “5 Hooks,” Logic again shifts the tone of the album on “Dark Place,” further detailing his struggles with mental illnesses. Logic raps “I been beaten and battered, my confidence shattered / Been broken and tattered, I’m constantly second guessin’ if my profession is worth it on my mental state,” highlighting the constant hate and disapproval Logic receives as an artist for publicly voicing his thoughts. Logic also reveals a harsh reality about success, noting that “No amount of money can take away the feelin’ of insecurity / Only through maturity can we overcome / Feel like I’ve been overrun, feel like it’s over, I’m done / Whoever told you success gon’ make you happy? You been lied to.” The outro of the track further emphasizes the false promises money and greed can provide, as writer and Buddhist philosopher Alan Watts highlights the absence of substance that money and status provides.
After flexing his lyrical chops and unrelenting flow for a final time on “A2Z,” Logic closes his album with uplifting positivity beginning with “Heard Em Say,” an homage to Kanye West’s track of the same name. Logic notes his victories, as he raps “Overcame depression, even overcame addiction / And had the courage to say what others wouldn’t with conviction,” while also realizing his flaws, rapping “My flaws, I happily greet ’em / Imperfections, I love ’em.” Logic keeps the positive vibes flowing on “Amen,” a song that is virtually impossible not to feel uplifted by before closing the album on “Obediently Yours.” The closing song does not provide any more lyrics from Logic, but rather an excerpt from an Orsen Wells radio show. His narration is a critique of racism in America, and despite the clearly dated references indicating the age of Wells’ radio broadcast, the messages are nonetheless still relevant, and arguably more important now than ever before. Wells discusses giving back what one receives, saying, “A healthy man owes to the sick all that he can do for them, an educated man owes to the ignorant all that he can do for them, a free man owes to the world’s slaves all that he can do for them.” Wells’ closing remarks make the end of an album a call to action for all listeners, and serves as a reminder for all to look for ways to leave positive impacts on society.
Logic’s decision to end his final album of his hip hop career with positive messages from someone other than himself highlights what Logic views as the most important part of his musical legacy. Logic may have made his name through his boom-bap, hard hitting style of rap that combines sheer lyrical ability with varied flows and a charisma that emanates throughout his music, but this is not what he wants to be known for. Hip hop heads have had a lot of negative criticism to throw toward Logic throughout his career due to his straying from the style that defined him, but to do it in pursuit of sharing positivity and love is a more noble gesture than most, if not all, artists would be willing to do.
There is no denying that No Pressure delivers on all fronts. Logic’s ability as a rapper is on full display lyrically, melodically and rhythmically. Logic’s passion for helping others and sharing uplifting messages is evident throughout the album, and multiple societal issues are addressed. The production provides varied styles of rap, and pays tribute to some of hip hop’s finest. No, the album isn’t perfect, and critics may be quick to notice some throw away songs or a few corny lines here and there. But if there is one thing that this album should reveal, it is that Logic could not care less what his fans, critics, or anyone outside of his family has to say about him. The album celebrates all that is good about Logic, and will serve to send Logic out of the rap game on a bed of roses, and directly into the embracing arms of his son.
Listen to Logic’s No Pressure below: