Logic - Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever

Posted May 9, 2013

Thousands of adoring fans, countless sold-out shows and a major label record deal in hand. That, Booth readers, accurately describes the last few months for upstart emcee Logic. Not bad, huh?

First featured back in June of 2011, with acclaimed single "Mind Of Logic," the Maryland native has come a long way over the past 23 months, landing on the XXL Freshmen '13 cover and signing with Def Jam. Now, for the first time in his career, Logic is ready for the spotlight to shine the brightest as his delivers Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever, a free 20-track mixtape. Included on the set are previously-releases cuts "Nasty" and "Walk On By." Joining the headliner on his fourth mixtape in the last four years, are Dizzy Wright, Elijah Blake, Jhené Aiko, Jon Bellion, Kid Ink and Trinidad Jame$, while production duties are shared by 6IX, Arthur, McArthur, C-Sick, Don Cannon, Kevin Randolph, KeY Wane, No I.D. and Swiff D.

Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever Album Review

As a DMV native, I’ve kept a close eye on Logic’s career, as I try to do with any promising Maryland prospect. Logic first caught my attention with his Young, Broke and Infamous tape, specifically his knack for killing popular beats, like when he absolutely BODIED Miss Me by Drake on his rendition, Give It To Me. There was something authentic about his take on industry hits. It felt like he was the kid next door who could rap, but maybe it's because he was almost next door. It was that skill that reminded me of Wale, another rapper from the region who shined early on mixtapes, but once he went major, completely changed as an artist. Wale’s Maybach cuts, more often than not, do not hold a candle to the heart and charisma he displayed on his earlier projects (see Mixtape About Nothing).

When I heard Logic was named to the XXL Freshman list, and had signed to Def Jam, I was happy to see his hard work and growth rewarded; it never hurts to have another DMV ambassador in the spotlight. I couldn't help, however, having flashbacks to Wale’s transformation, hoping that Logic wouldn't also fall victim to the mainstream’s artificial ways. Would he follow the quote he used in his Mind Of Logic video? “I listen with attention to judgment of all men; but so far as I can remember, I have followed none but my own.”

It was this line of thinking that had me eager to hear what lane Logic would choose to travel down on his new mixtape, Young Sinatra: Welcome To Forever. One listen through the new tape and it's clear that the 23-year-old is capable of traveling down any lane he wants, but he doesn't want to choose only one. There is a little something for everyone on Welcome To Forever. Logic’s diverse collection of styles and sounds is the tape's strongest appeal.

The project often sounds like an album, with top-notch production and features from heavy hitters like Trinidad Jame$ (although I did not much care for his input), Jhene Aiko and Elijah Blake just to name a few. But Welcome To Forever also has some very mixtape moments, which will be quite a relief to anyone (including me) hoping that Logic would drop something similar to what first earned him a following. In addition to a few skits - one featuring actor John "Pops" Witherspoon - and Roll Call, where he spits over Ms. Jackson, Logic’s hunger and charisma make it sound like he’s still an unsigned emcee, rapping because he loves it, not because he wants to get paid. His lyrical content oozes that same vibe. Logic addresses his newfound notoriety in an honest, almost awestruck manner on cuts like the upbeat Life Is Good, and on the tape’s opening effort Welcome To Forever, recounting the moment when he met Nas and being forced to adjust to people watching his every move. This candid approach makes him much more relatable, and as a result, you find yourself really rooting Logic.

Logic's melting pot, highly diverse concepts bubble over into his song selections too. Fans of the mainstream will enjoy On The Low, which boasts guests spots from the club favorite and aforementioned Jame$ and RCA emcee Kid Ink, as well as the frenzied, excess-driven Ballin. For fans of the hybrid hip-pop genre, you'll want to listen to the summertime-ready Feel Good, and if you are a junkie of a more authentic, underground sound, than Logic has plenty for you too. In fact, those more rap-focused cuts are the strongest records on the project and serve as the meat of this 20-song effort. Logic’s aggressive, incendiary flow is solid (occasionally it just doesn't do it for me) but his wordplay is potent and when he gets on his lyrical tip, it’s hard to argue that he isn't on top of this game. Take Nasty, the project's lead single, as evidence. Atop Don Cannon’s virulent, grimy boardwork, Logic’s lyrics hit hard. Lines like “Step to the mic and the dread it like Weezy” and “Surrounded by ‘cane like I was Abel” had me reacting like it was a freestyle battle.

Logic's lyrics go beyond knock-out punches, though, as he shares a few introspective moments on the tape, addressing his complicated relationship with his mother and being a caucasion rapper on Roll Call and an honest, refreshing insight into his focus on staying true to himself and his music on Common Logic / Midnight Marauder, perhaps the project's best, highest-quality cut. The second half of the song is where I realized that Logic won't, nor does he need to pick a lane. “Just like my race, my music is always been Yin-Yang/ Something for everybody no not just one lane.”

That one line hit me the most, showing an incredible amount of self-awareness and honesty you don’t often see in an image-conscious, materialistic business. It is also a perfect representation of the album as a whole. Every cut might not be on your own personal playlist, but Logic’s ability to change lanes like a drunken cabbie, while remaining comfortable and in his zone, is undoubtedly his strength. I can’t tell you where Sir Robert Bryson Hall II (Logic’s government name) will be in a few years, but I think he would admit the same. What I can tell you is that his perspective and Swiss-army-knife-like talents are a breath of fresh air and are the skills he needs to do it big and, like the original Sinatra, his way.

DJBooth Rating - 4 Spins

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Posted May 9, 2013
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