Release Date: Oct 21, 2014
Record label: Def Jam
Genre(s): Rap, Hardcore Rap, Pop-Rap
Since the release of Young Sinatra: Welcome To Forever in 2013, Def Jam signee Logic has received praise from Lupe Fiasco, XXL and the BET Hip Hop Awards. On Under Pressure, the Maryland rapper has done the opposite of giving in to it; over the course of his debut 12-track album, he demonstrates every way in which he hasn't.Calling on No I.D. to serve as executive producer, Logic conveys lyrical prowess, raw storytelling chops, poised technical skills and fearless.
Maryland’s Logic is a student of history, an active observer of popular culture who is careful to catch the details, and he grafts the blueprints of the past into his personal narrative. Appropriately named, Logic makes career decisions rationally, often consulting the past for perspective and context. He built a fan base remaking himself in Frank Sinatra’s image.
Acting as if the debut album still meant something in the post-mixtape anything-goes world (thanks Internet!), Maryland rapper Logic set himself up for something big after his crafted and beloved series of Young Sinatra mixtapes, but he could have called them Young Beatles. Those right-clickable freebies were like Please Please Me, while this mature entrance on Def Jam is his Rubber Soul turning into Revolver, offering a conceptual, Good Kid, M. A.
Logic started from the bottom, now he's here. The Maryland rapper had a nightmarish upbringing in federal housing, and on his debut LP, he isn't afraid to explore it in technically excellent style. But this album is all surface-level, free of sharp punch lines ("I been Hungary like Budapest") or metaphors that connect ("Nikki" is the umpteenth rewrite of MC Shan's 1986 girl-as-drug tale "Cocaine" – this time about nicotine).
Review Summary: In defense of the genre. As a quick disclaimer to start this review, Under Pressure is actually a pretty good album, provided the name Kendrick Lamar means nothing to you – or rather, provided hip-hop means nothing to you. On his mixtapes, Logic pigeonholed himself as a sort of one-trick pony, who, despite being an affable personality and a talented songmaker armed with serviceable wordplay and nimble flows, was forever entrenched in the laborious routine of writing the same song over and over again.
This almost doesn't feel right.... A one listen review for an album?! I mean, for Gambino, a semi-suprise, low-key mixtape was the perfect one listen review subject, but an album? One that I personally have been waiting a long time to hear? Oh hell no! Oh hell yes! Being a DMV native and lover of hip-hop (regardless of geographic location) I have been following Logic's career with a close eye. Watching him flourish into one of the most exiting, young emcees in the game has been a blast.
Feeling under pressure to succeed is common. When you look at Logic’s career so far, his quest to prove himself after releasing four years worth of quality mixtapes means his next effort has to make an impact. Since the release of his breakout tape Young Sinatra: Welcome To Forever—which came right after making 2013’s XXL Freshmen class—Logic has stacked up some key milestones within a year.