Logic’s debut studio album Under Pressure under Def Jam Recordings breaks a major trend in today’s music industry. His is a project that you can actually listen to all the way through without having to skip that one song you’re just not feeling.
From song to song the project precisely blends feel-good vibes with gritty lyrics and thought-provoking subject matter.
The “Intro” is uplifting. It sets the project’s tone and serves as an ode to A Tribe Called Quest’s classic Midnight Marauder album by using a ‘Thalia’ character which interjects interesting insight on the album’s creation.
The second track, “Soul Food,” is where you realize how intense this LP is going to be, particularly half way through when the beat switches up. Listening to this song begins to give you an idea where Logic is coming from.
“I’m Gone” lays down a nice-n-easy vibe that sustains as the album progresses in spite of the realness that also persists. This is one of those tracks you put on during a hot summer afternoon just to relax.
The album makes another switch as “Gang Related” comes on next. Logic’s ability to change up his flow shines through here. The beat produced by 6ix- who did most of the production work on the album- makes it tough not to nod along.
“Buried Alive” is a return to the more chill sound introduced in “I’m Gone.” It’s easy to relate to the feelings Logic conveys here. This is probably where you’ll start to realize you’re really digging this album.
If you’ve been a fan of Logic for some time now then you probably like “Bounce.” It’s where his familiar sound makes an appearance. Again, the beat almost forces you to move somehow.
In continuation of a theme he has been working on throughout his career Logic includes “Growing Pains III” in his commercial debut. His transformation from street kid to budding superstar begins to materialize as this song’s introduction clashes with its finish.
If I had to deliver one knock against Under Pressure, it would be that it sounds a lot like Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city which a couple years ago. The track “Never Enough” makes that almost painfully obvious.
Logic shows off impeccable timing and flow over a smooth instrumental in “Metropolis.” At its conclusion he inserts a frustrating conversation with a girl about Quentin Tarantino movies that should make you laugh.
“Nikki” reveals that Logic’s continual name drops during the project are in reference to nicotine which is the stimulant most responsible for the addictive nature of cigarette smoking.
The title track, “Under Pressure,” is where the whole concept comes together. The fast-paced beginning makes for an interesting switch similar to the one in “Soul Food.” The use of real voicemails left by loved ones combined with Logic’s own rendition of those typical messages communicate the challenges he’s had to confront while growing up.
To conclude the project Logic delivers his final argument in expert form with “Till the End.” The sound comes full circle in a way with that uplifting tone from the “Intro” returning.
Deluxe version album artwork
If you get the deluxe version of the album the listening pleasure isn’t over yet. “Driving Ms. Daisy” (ft. Childish Gambino), “Now,” and “Alright” (ft. Big Sean) are all nice tracks too.
Sheldon Pearce writes in his review of Under Pressure over at HipHopDX, “There are a great many moments that make Under Pressure feel like a feature film about Logic’s life, and when at its best, it is creating that sort of imagery.” He summarizes the album by saying, “Logic’s debut is more than a stirring lyrical symphony welded to superior production. It is a condensing of ’90s grit and modern production into something new.”
The most refreshing part of it all is that Sir Robert Bryson Hall II (Logic’s crazy cool birth name) wrote the entire thing. That’s right; in a music industry full of ghost writers some artists still do their own work. They’re the ones worth listening to.
Under Pressure is available anywhere you purchase music. Do your ears a favor and go buy it now. You’ll also be helping to support good music and an up-and-coming artist.
Now comes the hard part for Logic: how to avoid the sophomore slump that so many artists fall into.
Stream Under Pressure for free here.
Keep up with Logic on his official site.
Warning: The album contains explicit material but a clean version is also available on iTunes.