Logic delivers a personal and immersive experience to give the world his message of equality
So I feel like a bit of an idiot now to be honest! I like to think of myself as having a good knowledge of contemporary hip-hop and which rappers I need to be listening to; but somehow I’d missed the boat on Logic completely. That was until a few weeks ago of course, when I stumbled across “Black Spiderman” the second single from this album. This song immediately had me hooked, like immediately! As a hip-hop fan it’s expected that most of the songs you’ll listen to will be quite dark, especially those that speak about serious issues, but that is certainly not the case here! “Black Spiderman” opens with a piano melody, gospel choir and brass instrumentation, the song is an upbeat, vibrant celebration of diversity,
“I don’t wanna be black, I don’t wanna be white, I just wanna be a man today / I don’t wanna be a Christian, Muslim, gay, straight, or bi, see you later, bye / Not perceived by the things I believe or the color of my skin / Or the fact I’m attracted to her, maybe him”.
Using the concept of Spiderman being black to tell people that, whoever they are, they all have the ability to be whoever they want! It’s a powerful message delivered with Logic’s rapid, clever wordplay and Damian Lemar Hudson’s sumptuously emphatic vocals.
Looking further into Logic’s back catalogue I’ve since found out that this album is more than just a single project. This is a concept album which follows Logic’s 2015 release “The Incredible True Story” which tells a story set in the future whereby humanity leaves the planet Earth in search of a new planet named Paradise. On “Everybody” humans have lived on Paradise for 300 years and have discarded notions of race, the album features various skits with American radio presenter “BigVon” as Atom talking with scientist Neil Degrasse Tyson who portrays God.
The scope of this album blew me away and that’s why I feel a bit silly for having only recently discovered Logic’s music now. The cover art for the project is literally a piece of art, seriously! Painted by artist Sam Spratt, it’s an interpretation of “The Wedding at Cana” by italian renaissance painter Paolo Veronese and features many easter eggs including a depictions of everyone featured on the album (including J. Cole who has an uncredited verse on final track “AfricAryaN”), Sam Spratt himself and even a fan named Josh who was included after winning a competition. It’s clear from this as well as the promotional trailer to this album that a lot of work has gone into the concept of this project.
Now to the music itself! Eponymous lead single “Everybody” sees Logic tackling the subject of racism in society with the simple yet compelling lines in the chorus “Everybody people, everybody bleed, everybody need something”. Logic adopts a straight-talking approach to this issue and gives insights into the way racism has directly affected him as a person
This theme of being bi-racial and therefore experiencing racism from both black and white peers is something that runs through the core of this album and is seen especially on the massive centrepiece of the album “Take it Back”. The track features an incredible spoken verse from Logic which details the experiences that logic has faced since childhood
“You gotta understand, his mother was racist, which is crazy / ‘Cause how in the fuck is you gonna have / All these black babies with black men but you racist” to the racism he faces now as an artist “Now I want you to also imagine / People telling him that he did not live this life / “You just a white boy / You ain’t never experienced that shit / You from Gaithersburg, Maryland, nothing happens there”
But still throughout spreading a positive message,
“And that man is here today, proud / A lover of all human beings / Regardless of race, religion, color, creed, and sexual orientation, yeah, yeah”.
I feel like there’s so much to talk about this one track itself! I love the way he gives personal accounts, it really puts his views in context and really allows the audience to relate to him as a person. In addition I was absolutely delighted that he promotes equality in not only issues of race but sexual orientation as well, it’s a very progressive stance to see in hip-hop music but one that i’m happy to see spoken.
It’s made clear on this album how Logic’s experiences of being bi-racial have given him a unique perspective on the world and views of racism; the album ends with the controversially titled “AfricAryaN” (originally to be the title of the album until it was changed following a negative response) on which he sums up and reflects on this issue. This track is also interesting due to it’s inclusion of an uncredited J. Cole verse at the end, as hinted at in the album artwork” and following Cole’s comments about doing no more features in April.
Logic does take time on this album to address other issues such as mental health on third single “1-800-273-8225” (a notable title as it is the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Line in the US) which features Alessia Cara and Khalid. On this song Logic speaks about how suicide is not the only option for people going through hard times. The chorus on this track is interesting as it changes throughout the track from
“ I don’t wanna be alive / I don’t wanna be alive / I just wanna die today / I just wanna die” to “I want you to be alive / I want you to be alive / You don’t gotta die today / You don’t gotta die”
“I finally wanna be alive / I finally wanna be alive / I don’t wanna die today / I don’t wanna die”.
This theme continues on the next track on the listing “Anziety” on which logic addresses his own struggles with anxiety and ends with a speech directly to the listener “We will accept our anxiety and strive for the betterment of ourselves / Starting with mental health / We will accept ourselves as we are and we will be happy with the person we see in the mirror We will accept ourselves / And live with anxiety”.
If you’ve read any more of my writing you will know that I’m always very happy when artists, especially rappers, talk about issues relating to mental health and was therefore thrilled to hear Logic talking so openly and thoughtfully directly to his audience.
Musically I really enjoyed this album, I’m a big fan of the happy-positive sounding hip-hop that’s everywhere on this album even when discussion themes that are difficult and serious. If I had to compare it to anything I’d have to say it’s like a cross between the vibrant gospel-infused music on Chance The Rapper’s “Colouring Book” and the serious-yet-soulful music on Joey Bada$$’s “ALL-AMERIKKAN BADA$$” (you can read my review of that here). Now this is the third major US rap release I’ve heard tackling the issue of race in Trump’s America this year, the others being Joey Bada$$’s aforementioned album and the other being Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN.”. What separates this project from the other two is how personal and direct Logic is, Joey’s album spoke about these issues in a more general sense whilst Kendrick’s album was more personal but less direct. Here Logic is open about his views and highlights elements in his life that have shaped these views in his head.
Now whilst I personally enjoyed this I can definitely see some fans not liking Logic’s focus on himself, especially as some of the speech’s can come across as being a little bit preachy and Logic does tend to rant at times. In addition to this it does seem that this album can be a bit one-dimensional with the entire premise of the album being Logic’s experiences being bi-racial, as compared to Kendrick’s album for example where each track tackles a different issue in his life. It’s far from perfect but this album does something that others haven’t done yet, whilst Joey Bada$$ made protest music smooth here Logic makes it fun, personal and inclusive.