Monday, October 27, 2014

Review: Logic's "Under Pressure" is Another Solid Release

On October 21, Logic released his debut album Under Pressure. This album was one of my most anticipated albums of the year. Logic has done a great job teasing the release, with slow trickles of information throughout the year, new singles, and a tour. And last week, the album was finally released to eager fans nationwide.

The album features production mainly from Logic and his in-house producer 6ix, along with production from S1, Dj Dahi, No I.D., among others. The production contains fast,layered instrumentals, and many rapid vocal loops. This speedy producing approach matches well with the fast-paced lyricism that Logic is known for. And this lyricism is a staple on this album. Logic's wordplay and pace has been one of his strongest attributes, and arguably some of the best in the industry. Similarly to his previous mixtapes, Logic spends the majority of the album rapping about his come-up and what he's currently going through. Logic constantly said that the album would be much darker than his previous efforts, and somewhat similar to Nas's Illmatic. While it certainly is different, it's not too dark. Songs like "Gang Related" and "Growing Pains III" feature darker lyrics the portray his childhood in Section 8 housing in Maryland. Darker lyrics are woven throughout the album, but this album doesn't feel like a street album, and more like an album about a new artist enjoying and struggling with new success. There are many standout songs on this album. "Buried Alive", one of the singles off the album, is a radio friendly song with a nice, flowing production created entirely by Logic. "Nikki" is a fabulous concept song, where Logic speaks on his nicotine addiction by personifying the addiction as a woman Logic is in love with. The outro, "Till The End" is my favorite song on Under Pressure. The production is extremely catchy, and the song features some of the best wordplay on the album, with lyrics such as "Won't speak on my bank account/so many commas I'd have to pause/and I can't afford to just waste the bars". The deluxe version of the album features the songs "Driving Miss Daisy", "Now", and "Alright", which have all been released previously, and are all great songs. Under Pressure is definitely a contender for album of the year.

While this album is great, it still has its weaknesses. Some of the aesthetic elements seem unneeded, like a narrator named Thalia who gives information about the album. Logic tries to portray his childhood through the eyes of a character named "Bobby" in the album, but "Bobby" is used sparsely throughout the album, and there seems to be absolutely no difference between "Bobby" and Logic himself. Also, while the gritty, dark aspects of the album are a nice addition, they aren't extremely concentrated. I would love to hear vivid anecdotes about Logic finding out about his sister's rape, or seeing his father cooking crack, or his brother selling crack, or his mother's mistreatment of her children. Knowing Logic's amazing lyrical finesse, this storytelling would be a superb addition. Parts of the album seem a bit repetitive, with many lyrics repeated, many from his previous mixtapes. And while I really like the song "Under Pressure", it seems like a knock-off of Kendrick Lamar's "Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst", even with an extremely similar drum hook. Nonetheless, this is an incredible debut album. My main constructive criticism I can give to Logic would have a more focused sound and direction on your next album.

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