Logic has actually been around for a while. For all of you who think this is his first album or project of any sort, it’s not. Since 2011, Logic has released four mixtapes. All of the tapes received praise from blogs, labels and his fans. This led to Logic signing a major record deal with Def Jam Records, due in part to the support of the legendary producer No I.D. Instead of following the trend of staying independent like many up and coming Hip-Hop artists today, most notably Macklemore. Logic wanted to pursue the debut studio album route. This route has been taken by fewer and fewer artists lately. It seems that rappers with a few good mixtapes under their belts that go on to release a debut album through a label have fallen off very quickly. This is not the case for Logic and Def Jam. Logic had stated previously that he did this album his own way on his own time and he was not lying.
Under Pressure is an album in the purest sense of the word. It is a story that should be listened to from start to finish, the way an album is supposed to be listened to. Each song flows seamlessly into the next. The album is tied together by a Siri like narrater named Thalia, who is reminiscent of the narrator in A Tribe Called Quest’s album Midnight Marauders. It is an interesting way to help guide the listener through Logic’s tale, without being disruptive. Thalia also gives a good bit of insight into the making of Under Pressure.
Logic doesn’t waste time bragging or being misogynistic throughout the album. He discusses real problems, real feelings and raw emotions. He covers intimate problems with his father, substance abuse and past relationships gone wrong. If you’re looking for something similar to 2 Chainz or Juicy J you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Right off the bat on the “Intro,” Logic touches on the fears he had making the album and the high expectations and overwhelming pressure he felt. He effortlessly weaves through the slow ballad type piano backdrop and once the drums kick in, there is no turning back.
Each song on the album has an individual theme that Logic delves into. There are no fillers on Under Pressure. Logic strays as far as possible from the stereotypical rap album script of 2014 with Under Pressure.
“Soul Food D,” is about Logic’s come up in the industry and his motivation to be better than some of his idols. “I’m Gone,” has Logic speaking on his old weed habits and past relationships. “Gang Related,” is self-explanatory and boasts a crazy chanting sample throughout.
“Buried Alive,” was released prior to the album drop. But it fits in nicely with the overall theme of pressure. Logic and the listeners spirits are lifted briefly, once “Bounce” comes around on the album. Straying, for a moment, from the serious themes of previous tracks, he speaks on his crew and how much they have meant to him from the start. “Growing Pains III” is another tale of Logic’s coming of age. His father is a recurring topic and is touched on again in this song.
“Never Enough” is a song about substance abuse. A topic not foreign to the genre of hip-hop/ rap. But, what sets Logic apart from the pack on this one is the way he sampled two classic songs. He mixes both Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit Of Happiness” and Outkast’s “So Fresh, So Clean,” and makes a totally original sounding song. For me, this is one of the standouts on the album.
“Metropolis” is a smooth jazzy record that has Logic bouncing lyrically through the beat. “Nikki” puts Logic’s battle with smoking Cigarettes on a track. I like both of these track a lot, but they are almost overshadowed by the nine minute title track, “Under Pressure”.
We’ve already heard the shortened version of the title track, but the full version is much different. Early on in the song the dial tone hits and everything slows down, except Logic’s flow. The spacey guitar really compliments his voice, making you want to really listen to what he’s saying. Logic produced this song himself, and what he does with the rest of the song and beat is impressive. He seamlessly blends both beats together and continues to spit. It makes it even more amazing to hear a talented rapper who can also produce his own music. Don’t skip this song.
The regular version of the album finishes with “Till The End.” A song with no hook, just Logic and a female vocalist. The track boasts one of the best verses we’ve heard from an artist in a long time. It was an extremely strong way for Logic to close the curtains on Under Pressure.
Two of the three bonus tracks on the deluxe edition, “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Alive” had been released before the album. The songs are the only two on the album with featured artists. Childish Gambino and Big Sean are good features to have on an album, but something about hearing their voices seems out of place, Logic didn’t need them. Regardless of how they fit into the album they are fun songs to bump when you’re in a good mood or in the car.
Logic’s debut album Under Pressure is something special. It is a major label debut that doesn’t disappoint, a rare feat these days. He proves to all other up and coming artists that signing to a major label doesn’t necessarily mean you lose creative control. This is Logic’s album, not Def Jam’s. He proved to everyone that he has talent not only on the mic but on the boards. Under Pressure is a statement. It is Logic’s way of saying he’s here to stay.
Written By Berg and JW