Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, known most notably as Logic, is a world-renowned rapper and songwriter of the 2010s. Since his debut as an underground rapper in 2012, Logic has amassed an incredible fanbase, one I am proud to be a part of, known as the RattPack — an abbreviation pushed forward by Logic meaning “Real all the Time.”
Throughout his career, Logic has ventured all throughout the music realm — exploring various styles to an extreme length, one of his biggest failings according to a multitude of critics. In 2020, Logic publicized his sudden retirement with the announcement of his album “No Pressure” — an ode to his heavily critiqued experience in the rap industry.
Logic’s “No Pressure” is, for the lack of a better word, incredible. On this album, Logic reminded the hip-hop community of his lyrical cadence, grace, talent, and greatness while also freeing himself from the pressures of his most persistent critics’ expectations and reservations. The album strikes an emotional chord for Logic devotees, as Logic’s pain and frustrations are relayed on a multitude of its tracks. Simultaneously, he combines new frustrations with his skillful delivery and fervor of old. Undoubtedly, this album strikes parallels in strength and thematic material to “Under Pressure,” which was arguably his greatest album, at least before the release of “No Pressure.”
Stand Out Tracks
“Soul Food II”
On “Soul Food II,” Logic revisited much of what made the original “Soul Food” so magnificent. The coupling of a harmonious melody, with twisted components on the original’s melody, and punching lyrics creates a beautiful piece that drives chills through all of Logic’s fans. Like the original “Soul Food,” Logic and producer 6ix incorporates a drastic cheat change in the middle of the song that adds a new upbeat style full of kicks and a flavorful beat sample. On the first portion of the track, Logic once again discusses the dynamic between money and happiness as well as touches on his journey to the top of the rap scene while on the second portion, he masterfully raps about a story that has been embedded in his albums since “The Incredible True Story.”
This song is incredible, the definitive best song on the album. Here, Logic coveys raw emotions and thought from a very, very dark place — hence the title. In the track, Logic raps over a melancholy and eerie beat about the effects of the incessant critiques on his mental state, showing the vulnerable side that had yet to be demonstrated throughout his discography. When consumers reach this song during a listen through the album, Logic’s retiring reasons begin to become extremely apparent and understandable.
Aside from lyrics and delivery, what else makes the album special? To begin, Producers 6ix and No I.D. do an excellent job of producing the beats on the album, with many beats reminiscent of the groovy and masterful beats on Logic’s first album, “Under Pressure.” For example, in the above song “Soul Food II.,” the beat incorporates a twisted and inverted melody from the original Soul Food on “Under Pressure,” which truly serves as ear candy for any Logic fans. Additionally, Logic’s album is a completely solo-based effort with no features; however, every track still feels distinct and novel when weighed against each other. This is a testament to Logic’s multifaceted flow and cadence that contradicts the majority of criticism put forth by many critics. Not only are the flows unique, but so is the content matter of each song ー certainly an improvement from previous Logic projects. On “No Pressure” there are “hype” songs, sad songs, introspective songs, and many more that ultimately combine to create a whole and more complete product.
Context and Importance: He’s “Under Pressure!”
Logic was under heavy criticism following the release of “Everybody,” “YSIV,” and “C.O.A.D.M.” due to an apparent lack of passion and lyricism that ceased to match quality of his debut album “Under Pressure.” His debut album came during a tumultuous time during his career ー a time when he had to rise to the incredible pressure placed upon emerging artists to prove themselves, hence the album’s name.
However, despite Logic’s masterful rise to this pressure, he soon faced new pressure from critics as he became more established in the rap community. To critics, such as the polarizing Joe Budden, Logic simply didn’t possess the characteristics of a “quality” rapper as he appeared to after reaching the pinnacle of success in the hip hop industry, and he lost focus of what made him great by picking and choosing other rappers’ styles and cadences rather than building upon the lyrical boom-bap style that ascended him into stardom. Due to the cycle of poor releases coupled with the increasing prominence of negative peer review and critiques, Logic’s career and image in the rap community began to dissipate and dwindle, with individuals such as Joe Budden dubbing Logic as "one of the worst rappers to grace a microphone." With “No Pressure,” Logic takes a step back from the insults put forth by his critics, placing himself under No Pressure with retirement and an ode to his roots.
Logic’s “No Pressure'' serves as a conclusion to his career, bringing him full circle, past the artistic pressure to a state of “No Pressure.” With Logic’s retirement as a rapper, the rap community has lost an incredible artist, an incredible man, and an incredible peer. Despite being heavily criticized, Logic was an exceptional rapper who truly cared for his fanbase, always striving to put out enjoyable projects despite shoddy quality at times. Regardless, at the end of the day, Logic’s name certainly belongs in the discussion of the most talented rappers ever to grace the microphone. If anything can be learned from Logic’s story, it’s that pressure is a powerful force in life, one that can push you to your limits, for the better or for the worse.
When performing on the highest level, whether it be one of the best schools in the world — Princeton — or at the top of the Billboard charts, individuals tend to believe that they must constantly and perfectly perform beyond the best of their ability. Here at Princeton, we are subjected to immense amounts of academic and social pressure, expectations, and scrutiny that significantly affect the mental health of students from all walks of life. To many, this pressure is unavoidable and inevitable; however, at times, actively attempting to relieve yourself from sources of pressure can enable you to surpass your limits to a greater extent — putting yourself under, “No Pressure.”