CONTENT WARNING: The following article discusses mental health and suicide.
Logic (aka Sir Robert Bryson Hall II) has steadily emerged as a game-changing MC in a little over a decade. Like Kanye West, J Cole and the late Mac Miller, Logic is a studio polymath, capable of cutting his own beats. Still, he’s known for his classic wordplay, narrative prowess, and nuanced takes on social matters.
The Maryland, US native long been candid about his life. Born to a black father and white mother, Logic endured family dysfunction and poverty in a country with structural inequality and few safety nets. He has utilised music to explore the paradoxes of his biracial identity and thematised mental wellbeing – something that has resonated with fans.
Logic is versatile, creating both major crossover hits and underground deep cuts for the hip-hop heads. The Quentin Tarantino nerd also loves concept projects.
Logic has had his challenges. When he premiered on Def Jam Recordings with 2014’s Under Pressure, Logic was accused of emulating Kendrick Lamar. Despite his easy charm, Logic then fell out with Joyner Lucas – that feud now happily resolved. Logic was meant to finally tour Australia in late 2019 but, with SandTunes cancelled, his dates in Melbourne and Sydney were, too.
Last week, the 30-year-old announced his retirement from music, so he can focus on being “a great father”. His fifth and final studio album, No Pressure, will be released this Friday.
Officially announcing my retirement with the release of “No Pressure” executive produced by No I.D. July 24th…
It’s been a great decade. Now it’s time to be a great father.
— Bobby No Pressure (@Logic301) July 16, 2020
That announcement was swiftly followed up with another from video game streaming giant Twitch, announcing that Logic will be Twitch’s first official, exclusive music partner. “Logic will stream weekly on his Twitch channel which will include a mixture of in-studio sessions, special guests, AMA style formats, and gaming.” According to his interview with The Verge, the deal is worth seven figures.
The prolific artist has an expansive – and eclectic – discography that encompasses 2019’s outlandish alt-rock foray Supermarket – a companion to his first novel. In 2015, Logic featured on New Zealand blues vocalist Gin Wigmore’s ‘Willing To Die’ alongside Hilltop Hoods’ Suffa. He’s recorded no less than two songs with Ansel Elgort, the Divergent actor moonlighting as a singer – one his own ‘Killing Spree’. Logic even joined Elton John and P!nk on a fresh rendition of ‘Bennie And The Jets’ off Revamp: Reimagining The Songs Of Elton John & Bernie Taupin. As for the best of the best? Here Music Feeds presents the 10 essential Logic tracks.
‘Under Pressure’ – Under Pressure (2014)
Beginning in 2009, Logic released successive mixtapes – styling himself as Young Sinatra. But he truly became a hip-hop contender with ‘Under Pressure’– the lead single, and title-track, from his autobiographical debut (executive-produced by Common’s old partner, No ID). The hard-hitting ‘Under Pressure’ offers minimal concessions to radio or chart trends – the album version exceeding nine minutes. As the producer, Logic splices up several samples, including Eazy-E’s ‘Eazy-Duz-It’ (Logic was five when the West Coast OG passed in 1995). ‘Under Pressure’ does sound like Kendrick, yet Logic directs it somewhere else. The song references the sacrifices he’s made to realise his dream. The album itself reached the US Top 5.
‘Metropolis’ – Under Pressure (2014)
‘Metropolis’, again from Logic’s debut Under Pressure, is among those album cuts his stans often cite in forums. It’s a chilled-out track, evoking ’90s jazz-hop with saxophone. Logic reflects on his life’s journey so far – and trials (the “Nikki” he mentions is a nicotine addiction). Many have compared ‘Metropolis’ to Kendrick. The record lifts its drum break from Bill Withers’ ’70s groove ‘Use Me’.
‘Fade Away’ – The Incredible True Story (2015)
Logic approached his sophomore, The Incredible True Story, as a sci-fi concept album involving space travel. However, the languid third single, ‘Fade Away”, stands on its own. Logic ruminates on mortality, legacy and all things YOLO. Big Sean pops up, skit-like, at the close. Logic is a traditionally ‘conscious’ MC, but ‘Fade Away’ leans towards cloud rap’s existentialism. Logic self-produced it.
‘Everybody’ – Everybody (2017)
A key theme in Logic’s later work is race, which he analyses through the prism of biracial identity. In ‘Everybody’, the lead single from the blockbuster US #1 album of the same name, the MC describes his contradictory encounters in society, while calling for greater inclusion and understanding. ‘Everybody’ is the kind of rugged funk Kendrick engaged on To Pimp A Butterfly. As with The Incredible True Story, Logic envisioned ‘Everybody’ as “an audio cinematic experience”. He uses reincarnation as a motif for progress and universalism.
‘1-800-273-8255’ (Featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid) – Everybody (2017)
Logic’s defining pop hit is surely ‘1-800-273-8255’ – his plea to anyone experiencing mental health issues to seek help. The hotline in the title is that of the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – and Logic recorded the song with their approval to raise awareness. He narrates as someone struggling with suicidal thoughts before and after they speak to a counsellor – the lyrics emphasising the value of perspective. Logic, who sing/raps, is accompanied by Alessia Cara and Khalid. He produced ‘1-800-273-8255′ with his RattPack cohort 6ix (The Chainsmokers’ Drew Taggart has a writing credit). It was the third single from Everybody and, having entered the ARIA Top 5, is now multiplatinum. ‘1-800-273-8255’ received a deserved Grammy nomination for Song of the Year.
‘AfricAryaN’ – Everybody (2017)
Logic had proposed titling the Everybody album AfricAryaN but, understandably, his use of the confronting word ‘Aryan’ generated controversy. In fact, the cerebral ‘AfricAryaN’ deals with Logic’s growing up biracial in America, linking to ‘Everybody’. He completed the smooth, soulful, 12 minute-plus song with his hero J Cole, who, aside from co-producing, provides the outro verse – buzz on release. ‘AfricAryaN’ also features the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson voicing a benign deity. Eccentric, yes.
’44 More’ – Bobby Tarantino II (2018)
Contemporary hip-hop is populated by mercurial cloud rappers preoccupied with vibe over verbiage. Yet, for those ruing ‘mumble rappers’, Logic is an authentic MC. He cut ’44 Bars’ for 2016’s surprise retail mixtape Bobby Tarantino – the track comprising 44 straight bars. ’44 More’, from Bobby Tarantino II, is the sequel – and even more compelling technically. Logic flexes about his ascent with Everybody, rapping, “Sold more albums my first week than Harry Styles and Katy Perry/If that ain’t a sign of the times.” !llmind masterminded the trap banger, which samples Kanye’s ‘Waves’ from The Life Of Pablo (and a Future song). Ironically, Bobby Tarantino II eclipsed Logic’s 2018 album proper, YSIV.
‘Everyday’ (with Marshmello) – Bobby Tarantino II (2018)
Logic’s core genre aesthetic is a modern boom-bap. For ‘Everyday’, he took a stylistic turn. Logic hooked up with the infamous US EDM (well, future bass) DJ/producer Marshmello. As such, unusually for Logic, ‘Everyday’ has a festive trap bounce – and he mostly sings. Logic’s lyrics extol his relentless grinding in the biz. ‘Everyday’ is on Bobby Tarantino II. Spoiler alert: Logic has latterly performed the song as the finale in live shows.
‘Homicide’ (Featuring Eminem) – Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2019)
Eminem namedropped Logic in Kamikaze‘s ‘Fall’. And, somehow, our dude engineered a rare Slim Shady cameo for ‘Homicide’, on his fifth album Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind. Curiously, the track deploys the same allegorising as Eminem’s latest album, Music To Be Murdered By; the dual MCs, in beast mode, bodying haters and wack rappers alike with their skills. And skills they have – with Logic’s speed rapping impressive. The intro is supplied by Logic’s dad (aka Smokey Legendary).
‘Isis’, (Joyner Lucas Featuring Logic) – ADHD (2019)
Back in 2016, the veteran Tech N9ne matched Logic and Joyner Lucas on his track ‘Sriracha’ – only it triggered a rivalry between them. That beef has now been consigned to history with the street ‘Isis’ – yes, titled for the militant terrorist organisation. It’s actually a bass-heavy anthem from Lucas’ debut, ADHD. He and Logic rap about their industry status and competition – all very meta. ‘Isis’ is helmed by Canada’s Boi-1da.
Logic’s first stream as a new partner of Twitch will happen on July 21st at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET which translates to the morning of Wednesday, July 22nd Aus time. During the stream, Logic will be premiering tracks from his new album.
For help or information regarding mental health, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.