Logic has come a long way from the streets of Baltimore, culminating with him recently inking an exclusive deal with streaming giant, Twitch. In the early 2010s, he put the game on notice with his Young Sinatra mixtapes, showcasing a lyrical prowess matched only by passion. As his career went on his style evolved, going from hard-nosed Golden Era-inspired rap to a more sentimental form of pop rap.
Despite his recent work reaching a wider audience, many of Logic’s critics cite his music and overall persona to be corny. There’s something to be said about this current wave of “positivity rap” that we’ve seen from artists like Logic, Macklemore, and Chance the Rapper. Many people look to music not only to “turn up,” but to also speak to the discontent experienced in their own lives. For many of Logic’s detractors the PG-friendly aesthetics he adopted replaced emotionally potent lyricism with lyrics focused on vaguely positive platitudes with references to mainstream nerd culture. But on the flip side, there are some fans that hold onto the myth of the “tortured artist” so much so that they dismiss art that doesn’t affirm their gloomy perspective.
“No Pressure” is very much a coronation of all the work Logic’s put in during his lengthy and successful career. While it’s doubtful whether he’ll be gone for good, the Logic we’ve become familiar with is no more.
On this project we see “Bobby Tarantino” go back to his underground roots, linking up with No. I.D. and 6ix who handled much of its production. Starting with the eponymous intro featuring a speech from legend Orson Welles that transitions into a jazz-rap beat, Logic from the gate displays a hunger we haven’t seen in a while. As he reflects on his come up from poverty, dropping dope punchlines like “Gangsters put that heat to your head like a hairdresser.” Through this EP the beats despite taking from several influences, follows the same laid-back, boom-bap adjacent vibe that would appeal to the average backpacker.
Much of the album’s best material comes from Logic taking the gloves off and simply letting loose. While he’s never been shy about his feelings, often expressing insecurity, on this album Logic seemed genuinely confident and at points fairly charismatic. On “Dadbod” we get a humorous breakdown of his life as a father, along with great quips towards some of his more critical fans who feel that he’s “changed” from his “Under Pressure” days. The start of the second verse bringing that message home, stating: “Goddamn, already had a hard life once. Am I supposed to recreate it every album for you cunts?”
A consistent critique of Logic’s music has been his impulse to wear and even brag about his influences. Tracks like “GP4” and “Man I is” being intended homages to classics songs. From the melodies to the overall instrumentation, his use of OutKast’s “Elevators” on “GP4” sounded far too much like the original. Whereas “Man I is” sampling Erykah Badu’s “Didn’t Cha Know” felt slightly more tasteful in comparison, with spurts of trombone solos that bookended each verse. “Perfect” with its synths and knocking bass resembles something similar to guys like Project Pat or early Three 6 Mafia. Logic’s exaggerated southern twang when delivering lines did come off a tad corny.
The closing track “Obediently Yours” features another appearance from Orson Welles, this time delivering a stump speech back in 1946. Backed by an emotional piano loop, Welles’ baritone voice gave punch to his anti-racist message, although it became long-winded in the end.
“No Pressure” is overall a very good album. It perfectly captures the mindset of someone who’s found inner peace. It’s no short of moments with wholesome bars and decent beat-making. As a step up from recent projects, “No Pressure” takes the high road and puts the focus back on what truly matters: doing what you love.