Since 2010, Logic has released 4 mixtapes, toured three times with the likes of such artists as Kid Cudi and Big Sean, and subsequently, in early 2013, was featured on the cover of XXL magazine as part of their “Top 10 Freshman List”, including up and coming artists: Schoolboy Q, Action Bronson, and Joey Bada$$. Previous to the exposure he received from XXL, on March 15th 2012, Billboard named Logic the “Next Big Sound”, given to artists with the fastest accelerating online fan base. This leaves no mystery as to why on April 15th 2013 it was announced that Logic had been signed by Def Jam records. With the accumulation of a wide fan base and the news of a major record deal (with one of hip hops most storied labels), the anticipation behind Logic’s first studio album was very real. Maryland native and leader of the RattPack, Logic’s relentless attack and writing ability have placed him at the forefront of top tier, up and coming emcees. His debut studio album, Under Pressure, confirms the legitimacy surrounding the excitement the rap world has for the 24 year old, but does so through a low level of complexity.
The hour long work houses relatively simple beats, contrasted dramatically by the ferocious rapid fire lyricism we’ve come to love and expect from Young Sinatra. Unfortunately, while logic excels in his writing and delivery, the album leaves much to be desired instrumentally. As stated, the beats are collectively simple and often dissonant. Musically, it is hard to find differences from track to track, resulting in the inability to differentiate between songs throughout.
After several listens it became very clear that Under Pressure is excruciatingly similar in layout and execution to Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 album Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City. The mixed vocal harmonies and punctual flow that riddles Logic’s Under Pressure are near replications of Kendrick’s style throughout his critically acclaimed release. At times, through certain vocal effects, Logic’s flow sounds nearly identical to Kendrick’s robotic delivery. The tracks that exemplify this the most in my opinion are “I’m Gone” and “Never Enough”.
Setting similarities aside and forgetting the framework in which Logic’s content and delivery reside, it becomes clear that the writing is the strength of this album. Some of the topics explored in Under Pressure, such as his troubled youth, the come up, and his addiction to nicotine, are beautifully revealed through rapid fire revelations, only to be diminished with slopes of subtleness, allowing the listener to gather, comprehend, and prepare for more spitfire wordplay. In his first studio album, Logic proves himself to be amongst the top class in both his ability to write, and deliver. Backed with stronger more dynamic beats, there’s no reason to doubt that he has the potential to create something unforgettable in the future.