Logic is cut from the cloth of artists who still care about making albums. He creates with a conceptual pen, constructing worlds with narratives and characters, and the music scores the bigger message he hopes to tell. 2015's The Incredible True Story allowed the Maryland native to explore the audio-cinematic art form and was met with praise by critics and fans alike. It makes sense that an avid gamer and connoisseur of pop culture would have a vivid enough imagination to bring a fun form of storytelling into hip-hop’s belly. Everybody, Logic’s third studio album, once again explores a concept that merges music and cinema.
My knowledge of Logic’s artistry has its limitations; time hasn't permitted me to dive deeply into his extensive discography. Several years and multiple mixtapes into his rap career, the Def Jam emcee's music finally entered my ears during a car ride with a friend who speaks of Logic with the same enthusiasm as I do Frank Ocean and Donald Glover. When you see someone else so passionate about an artist, it’s natural to be excited.
When the impending release of Everybody was announced, fans online were overjoyed. Immediately, I knew Everybody would be the album that demanded my prompt attention.
In an industry where artists enter and exit the spotlight off of fanfare, Logic is here to stay. I commend him for creating the music he wants in the format he desires instead of changing with the times. I respect his taste in artwork, as he has made nothing but magic with Sam Spratt. I also respect how he treats his fans; ask anyone who loves Logic and they’ll sing his praises until their windpipes crack.
Now the final test: will I love his music?
In usual 1-Listen fashion, the rules are the same: no skipping, no fast-forwarding, no rewinding and no stopping. Each song will receive my gut reaction from start to finish.
Let the audio-cinematic experience begin. Some keys, a vocal hum loop. There’s a soulfulness to it. A voice cutting through the sounds. I like how the singing builds up but it also feels a bit overwhelming. This sounds like the Book of Genesis if it were made into a Disney film. Powerful vocals about opening your mind; my third eye is ready. I like the progressiveness but I don’t love this production. Logic is praising God, we're getting the raps now. Fast flow. Wizard Of Oz reference, I need all these pop culture bars. I like how comfortable Logic sounds on this beat. It’s far from what how you would think an album would open. WOW. That explosion. Like a stick of dynamite just popped in the pocket. This is cinematic, movie score music, what you would get if gospel rap was made in movie theaters and not churches. Okay, there has to be a point where the production has to be deemed as overdoing it. So many layers. If the instrumentation were a mansion it would have more rooms than the Bel Air spec house Jay Z wants to buy for $120M. I love intricate and unpredictable but "Hallelujah" is taking us around the heavens in 90 seconds. The drums have gotten painfully aggressive. Heavy reverb. Logic preaching about life, all races and how black is beautiful. “Music does not discriminate.” A bit of guitar to take us out.
"Hallelujah" has taken us to Heaven, earth, Hell and back. It’s like a bus ride with no stops. Someone just got in a car. Alright, singing over the guitar strums. He has a soft voice. I don’t think this is Logic, the vocal tone is noticeably different. Whoever this man is has made a song about strolling down a highway. Alright a phone call—oh shit a car crash. My man couldn’t get out of it. Okay, that’s Neil deGrasse Tyson's voice. He’s getting his Morgan Freeman on. I’m assuming the guy who got in a car accident is dead and is talking to God. Yup, he just mentioned it. This is a convincing, movie-esque dialogue. Ha, he just found out from God that his wife was cheating. How do you die and find out your wife is cheating? Not what I want to know after realizing I’m no longer on earth.
Well, that was certainly one way to start an album. Now for the title track. Logic is kicking a nice little flow. A nice bounce. This sounds good yet familiar. The vocal loop and drums are complementing each other well, like going to McDonalds and their McFlurry machine is working. Wait. This sounds like Kendrick's “Alright.” Imagine the Spider-Man meme where the two Spideys are pointing at each other and that’s how I feel right now. His flow somewhat resembles Kendrick’s, too. It took me a minute to catch it. It's not an identical carbon copy, but the beat is definitely channeling the essence of what Pharrell did on “Alright.” I’m a little thrown off, but I don’t mind it. Also, I'm not sure how I feel about his stance on race, especially the line about white privilege. There’s a message about accepting people, but that seems a bit shortsighted. I wish it didn’t seem like I stumbled onto a YouTube page for an "Alright"-type song. How can we not look at this as diet “Alright?” Also interesting how “Alright” was a symbol of hope in the black community. Logic takes the concept and flips it, instead of focusing on one race, he looks at all races. This is still better than what Tory Lanez tried to pull with "Magnolia." On the fence about this one, but overall it’s a good song.
3. "Confess" (ft. Killer Mike)
How thin is the line between homage and replication? Must muse on this further. Okay, this doesn’t sound like Kendrick at all. Loving the gospel keys. Oh! Now we cooking, Logic! These drums got a mean swing to them. It feels like I’m in a church with a dancefloor. The vibe makes you want to praise the good Lord and hit the meanest two-step. This album is very spiritual as far as lyricism goes. There are a lot of God and Devil references. Hook is good. My only problem with “Confess” goes back to the intro, where it feels like this would be slightly more effective if it were more stripped down. Logic builds songs that feel larger than life. I like this, but in a need-to-give-my-life-to-God sorta way. Whenever rap and gospel find a good middle ground the music tends to be good. He’s missing a choir to really take us to the house of God. I love these drums, they sound like congas. KILLER MOTHER EFFIN MIKE IS PREACHING. He not even giving bars but P R E A C H I N G. It's the Church of Mike Bigga and he is not biting his tongue. This is chilling. The tone of his voice is so stirring. He’s asking God the heavy questions. Killer Mike is such a godsend, even the way he lectures makes God sound so profound and real. If anyone should be a voice for black plight, black joy and the black experience, it is Big Mike. I gotta play this again just to hear his sermon.
4. "Killing Spree" (ft. Ansel Elgort)
I haven’t quite caught on to the album concept yet. A man died and we haven’t heard about my man Atom again. The horn riffs are nice. Logic just came in with the trap flow. BEAT JUST DROPPED AND WE COOKING. Okay, okay. Logic has this trap-esque banger but it’s a little more conscious. More race and religion talk. Getting Section.80 Kendrick vibes but it’s not too apparent. Logic is blending his influences with the times. THIS IS WHAT LUPE WAS TRYING TO MAKE WITH DROGAS LIGHT. A thumping beat, a trap-esque style, but with a bigger message. “Everyone looking for the meaning of life through a cell phone screen," he isn’t wrong. This beat has more knock than the police shutting down a wild house party in Bankhead after 3 a.m. This would’ve made a good single, kind of like “Swimming Pools” being a turn up record with a hidden message. Ansel sounds good. Wish they would’ve cut the drums and let his voice have a bit more room and air to breath. Gunshot to end the song. Another killing spree. Sounds like the song is rewinding...
5. "Take It Back"
Now that’s good album sequencing! So he’s talking about taking it back to the first black and white men. Who was the first black man? Morgan Freeman? The first white man? Has to be Regis, without Kelly. Logic confronting being of mixed race. Confronting all the "you aren’t black, you aren’t white" naysayers. Hearing traces of Kendrick’s “Levitate.” It’s interesting hearing how Logic utilizes these flows, you can tell he’s trying to bend style in his favor. A rapper with his own perspective, his own narrative, but doesn’t have a style to use his voice. He’s talking about his bi-racial upbringing. His mother was racist? What? What a plot twist. That’s dying and finding out your wife was cheating on you levels of shocking. He’s pouring his heart out. Give Logic a hug. Interestingly, he was speaking from the third-person perspective but he slipped up and switched to a first. It's the little details. So Logic’s upbringing and rough struggles with being discriminated against by both blacks and whites shaped him into who he is today. This kid did not have it easy. He was the bi-racial kid in a m.A.A.d world. He went from birth to 17, speaking on working two jobs. There’s no way you can hear this song and not feel motivated by how he overcame. It’s worth noting these are the longest five songs. Logic is trying to make sure anyone who thought he came up easy will understand it was far from easy. The final message: “Stop killing each other.”
6. "America" (ft. Black Thought, Chuck D, Big Lenbo & No I.D.)
Is this a Mortal Kombat sample? I just had a brief flashback to days spent playing Sega Genesis. I like this drum pattern. Logic kicked this off with the fight-the-power chant. Love the energy. What is Logic’s sample budget? Almost every song starts with a vocal loop. This feels like Lupe’s “Street On Fire” production-wise but with the most menacing bass. BLACK THOUGHT! There’s a naturalness to the way he rhymes, a man who was genetically composed to kick 16s. Loving how he is moonwalking on this drum break. So sad how short the verse is. Chuck D just arrived. He’s been preaching through hip-hop since before I was born, glad he’s still allowed to speak through the youth's new message. Logic's back on the second verse. Man, there’s so much to unpack here. This Logic album is the more aggressive version of Joey’s ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ but isn’t touching on America with the same harsh perspective. Third Logic verse, he is still going! Wait, another rapper just appeared unexpectedly like a ninja. Big Lenbo? I could do without this singing section. Is that No I.D.? I don’t love the hook. This is solid but not sure if I’m coming back to it.
7. "Ink Blot" (ft. Juicy J)
I like the political stance Logic is taking, he is truly advocating and being a voice for black Americans but I need to see sharper fangs. Also, the length is getting to me. Okay, this is far lighter. Singing Logic, with the most gentle production yet. He’s crying for help. I’m liking this already. These kicks are going to thump in the car. Oh! Juicy J just got tagged in! YO Juicy J and Logic going back and forth is so bizarre yet strangely perfect. I thought Yachty and Joe Budden would be the strangest rap combo I saw in May, but Logic and Juicy J take the cake. I like how the concept allowed Juicy to get out of his comfort zone. He did this entire verse without the cliché Juicy J flow and without mentioning a single ratchet. Wait, spoke too soon. Juicy is going on a full rant. Oh, he pulled out the SLOB ON MY KNOB, 3-6 4EVA.
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8. "Mos Definitely"
I’m throwing my laptop out of this window if this isn’t a homage to Black On Both Sides. Question mark on this sample. It’s a slow-builder, one of the few on the album. “Bring it back to the roots like my name Black Thought.” Now, this is the Logic I really like, getting personal with a Sonic The Hedgehog-running-on-water flow. No hook? He’s been rapping pretty straightforward. Nah, he just gave the beat some room to breath. He’s chanting about how black people should fight. This is rather uplifting. Logic is black and proud. I can respect how far he's going to express that. I hope he's able to help other bi-racial men and women have a sense of self-love.
9. "Waiting Room"
We’re back to the narrative. Eight songs later. I like this aspect of the album. I wish there was more of a back-and-forth between these two on album. “This is a whole lot to take in.” Wait. I think this album is about how Atom dies and is resurrected as different men and women. Nevermind. I don’t know what’s going on. Just going to sit back and listen. Does Logic believe in reincarnation? Or just the concept of reincarnation? The album is called Everybody so it follows a man who has lived as everybody. I nominate Neil deGrasse Tyson to be the Mufasa in the next Lion King adaptation. His voice is perfect to lecture Simba.
10. "1-800-273-8255" (ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid)
Such an odd, yet enthralling concept. I love these strings, they are full of love. Logic had a moment where he sounded like Justin Bieber with a bit more swagger. Singing-wise, this has been my favorite vocal performance. It’s not his greatest strength but it sounds good here. Also, kudos for making a song about struggling with suicide and titling it after the suicide hotline. I like this a lot. Smooth, heartfelt, and has a nice little pop touch despite being such a heavy topic. Might be the first song about suicide that has potential to play on radio. I like Alessia by the way, she came in strong. RCA’s youngest star Khalid has just arrived, peeking around the strings. Oh yeah, this is good. Is he crying? Oh, that was sadly short.
11. "Anziety" (ft. Lucy Rose)
Another slow-builder. Liking the production. I'm really enjoying some of these more minimal, light records. This sounds like he might have an angel playing the harp. Lucy is owning the record, if Logic decides to rap he’ll feel like a feature. OH! BEAT SWITCH! THERE’S SOME POWER TO THIS. I kind of love how he is bold enough to make such a sudden change. There’s little comfort on this album, it will go places when you least expect it. Logic is rapping and at this point, the album subject matter hasn’t changed too much. This sounds like something J. Cole would make with Just Blaze. I’m getting into it. Loving, loving, loving the production. The DRUMS ARE GODLY and Logic is delivering a strong performance. Logic is telling the story about when he went to see Star Wars with his wife. I like his voice as a narrator. Disney should give him a job. He had an incident with anxiety. I have to remember this is a concept album so this could be one of the many reincarnations of Atom. So glad he allowed the production to continue in the backdrop, it brings a sense of calm while a man expresses his problems with anxiety. “I’m just a grown-up who doesn’t know shit.” Well said. A song about acceptance despite mental health. Lovely.
12. "Black SpiderMan" (ft. Damian Lemar Hudson)
The messages this album touches will help a lot of people dealing with their personal demons. Not mad at that aspect. Keeping the tone light, loving the Sunday service keys that are gently playing. Is that a choir? Chance would know. A slower Logic flow. Drums just slammed into the beat like an angry girlfriend slamming a door after an argument. More bars about self-love, positivity and black pride. Ha, I like that Mona Lisa line. “Spider-Man should be black I vote for Glover instead,” teenage Yoh apperciates this sentiment. Loving the warmth. When Logic takes you to church, he wants you to feel the Holy Spirit. Damian is singing his soul out, never thought I would hear someone sing about a black Spider-Man with so much passion and zeal. Nice breakdown at the end. Trap drums. A skit at the end about Spider-Man being black, Santa Claus too.
13. "AfricAryaN" (ft. Neil deGrasse Tyson)
12-minute finale! Let's see how Logic wraps this up. First bar is about the Aryan in his blood. That escalated quicker than Jay Z and Solange in an elevator. I like this. He drives home this black mom and white mom imagery, I’m pretty sure it’s on almost every song. I get how it’s a huge part of who he is, the album has a few recurring themes. Rap-wise, this is a favorite. Loving how much he’s digging, and this is the rap style I associate with Logic. Wouldn’t mind if Joey Bada$$ jumped on this, it's sonically in the same space as his new music. This has to be Logic’s most personal work, he’s really letting his truth go. Oh, whoever this female singer is decided to try and steal the show with the high notes. We've also got us a sax playing beautifully in the background. Some keys now. This is far more jazz driven. Getting a J. Cole vibe suddenly. They have a similar style and a similar story. Can we get Logic over more jazz beats? I don’t mind even mind that we’ve been here for six minutes already. More talk from God. Preaching some life lessons. WAIT. WHOSE VOICE WAS THAT. Did he say final album? WTF WAS THAT. Beat change. Someone is doing a four-count. J. COLE IS RAPPING. J. COLE IS RAPPING ON LOGIC’S ALBUM. THIS SOUNDS LIKE A SPOKEN WORD PIECE. YO! It’s not even a song, more like a iPhone note. This is recent Cole, you can hear it in his flow and the personal perspective. I’ve missed J. Cole rapping. Just name-dropped Logic. A nice flow. When did J. Cole start sounding like a sage? “Happiness doesn’t come from a album release.” A BAR. What a way to end an album about acceptance.
Logic knows how to make 13 songs feel like watching a full-length movie. Reaching the end of Everybody gives you the same feeling of when the sun first hits your eyes after leaving the AMC. It’s the moment of stepping back into reality and dissecting everything you just saw. In this case, all you just heard.
Everybody is a deep album, and Logic’s honesty is by far one of the best traits the project offers. The truth is often ugly—history is ugly—and Logic let a lot of the skeletons in his closet step out into the sunlight. He creates a world where he can comfortably explore topics of race, mental health, suicide and various other issues prevalent in the times we live in.
Though Logic doesn’t own a distinctive style and has been known for borrowing from others, the project’s bigger vision is uniquely his own. Everybody is his pulpit to preach equality for everyone, and the events of his life that have brought him to this point. He’s a man born in the middle, seeing the world through black and white eyes, and this duality is the project's most recurring theme. With how little acceptance he had growing up, there is a lot of preaching of accepting people for who they are.
While I commend the approach and the message, it does, at times, feel overly preachy. Peace and positivity are much harder to accept each time you log onto social media and there’s another black body slain by officers of the law. Just being positive won't change what’s happening in America with immigration, healthcare and our president being the human embodiment of a nightmare. Expanding beyond America, there's a lot going on in the world. I love the uplifting songs and the positive message, but it doesn’t carry the direness of our times. I enjoyed the songs touching on mental health and suicide, there’s a sincerity to them that’s commendable. Without the proper nuances, though, his perspective on race, which comes from a good place, makes it seem like a solution will be found if we all simply accepted people as people―a possibility that may only happen after 300 years of strenuous effort from all creeds and colors.
I like Logic as a storyteller, a creative and an artist who still cares about trying to build concept albums with meaning and depth. The depth of his empathy for his fellow man is deep, and Everybody has a positive philosophy that will likely assist many through darker days. Personal circumstance is what he uses to connect, giving pieces of himself to reach pieces of his listener. He wants to give people hope; this is an album about overcoming and finding the beauty in life, by not living constricted by labels and how society views you, but that’s not reality. Hate and violence are so real in the world. I wish he would have been more direct about what it means to be black, gay or transexual in 2017.
Logic could continue preaching positivity but do so by highlighting the negativeness affecting people of certain colors and orientations. He told his story and wanted to expand into how the world needs to change, but he doesn’t take the world and really highlight some of the tragedies men and women after facing. If Atom is supposed to represent living as everyone on Earth, conceptually, I needed him to walk in more shoes.
I enjoyed all the guests, the production is solid, and Logic is becoming more comfortable letting more sides of himself be heard by the world. Everybody showcases another hip-hop artist unafraid to speak up. Logic has a passion for the world and the potential to make music that can cover world issues and bring awareness to racial issues in America, but it begins with stepping more outside of himself and really looking beyond the mirror. Kendrick said America was a reflection of himself, and Logic explores that concept in album form. I just don’t think Logic’s paradise is one we will see anytime soon.
It's a sad truth, but that’s the world we live in. If there’s one thing I agree with, though, it’s this very simple lyric: “Stop killing each other.”
By Yoh, aka Yohserati, aka @Yoh31