Logic’s ‘Bobby Tarantino II’ Is Part Alter Ego, Part Identity Crisis (Review)

The Def Jam MC continues his never-ending identity search on 'Bobby Tarantino II.'
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Logic’s artistry has been a never-ending search for identity within hip-hop. In his Young Sinatra days, he was determined to find success by channeling his smooth exterior with a toughened heart and soul. His debut album, Under Pressure, found a lane as the likable outsider chasing iconcism while trying not to sacrifice the art. On his last album, Everybody, Logic attempted to find his best self through an overtly woke, and mind-numbingly corny detour into shallow concepts and lazy writing. 

Through each phase of his catalog, Logic’s pursuit to reinvent himself has made him both significantly more popular and increasingly polarizing.

And then there's Bobby Tarantino, a carefree alter ego that Logic created for whenever he—and we—needed a break from the seriousness of his albums. Bobby Tarantino became yet another identity in which he could test drive different stylistic choices without feeling weighed down by the pressures of an album concept. 

The first installment in the mixtape series subsequently produced a mixed bag of undercooked bangers, loose and kinetic rap anthems, and sporadically placed introspective songs, that, while catchy and relaxed, ultimately failed to articulate exactly why the persona matters for Logic’s career.

Released today, the second installment in the series, Bobby Tarantino ll, is yet another encapsulation as to why this narrative remains confusing. Is it a purposefully aloof, stress-relieving side project? Is it just one more unhealthy distraction for Logic that’s keeping him from self-actualization as a legitimate voice in hip-hop?

There is plenty to appreciate and admire on Bobby Tarantino ll, like the same high-octane spark that allowed Logic the legroom to make some of the best music from his first mixtapes and large portions of Under Pressure. There isn’t a beat on this project that fails to show up or even overstay its welcome. The snazzy, laid-back production of a quintessential ode to weed smoking like “Indica Badu” clashes perfectly with monstrous trap anthems like “State of Emergency” and “BoomTrap Protocol,” all of which accentuate the most consistent aspect of Logic’s career—his ear for beats.

BT2 also shines whenever Logic pulls out the same cockiness and precision, lyrically, that made the first half of his career so captivating and fun. “Yuck,” the project’s clear standout, is far removed from the corniness of the “I am rubber and you are glue” responses that Logic tends to send to his biggest critics, and with an absolutely vicious beat along for the ride, it feels like a much-needed swing after being backed into a corner. “Wassup” delivers with many of the same sentiments, and it’s hard to root against lyrical middle fingers like, “Told Def Jam no less than twenty mil, and they cut that shit.” 

On the flipside, the most glaring issue with BT2 is the sense that, for however carefree Logic intends for this side project to be, there’s a carelessness to the craft and structure of the songs that feels less intentional, and more like an obvious crutch. The three singles released prior to BT2, “Everyday,” “44 More” and “Overnight,” are overrun with abstract brag raps, filler lines, poorly thought out, grating hooks, and unoriginal content about treating others with respect and working hard that do nothing more than bore the listener into submission. 

Also inescapable is Logic’s inability to differentiate between finding creative inspiration from the rappers he clearly looks up to and producing near parodies of material his idols have already mined. “44 More” is a fugazi Kendrick anthem. “BoomTrap Protocol” and “Wizard of Oz” almost completely rip off Travis Scott. Even tracks on the high end of the project like “State of Emergency” and “Yuck” sound like material Drake would produce.

Logic’s idea of fun often varies too wildly to pin down any sort of established or captivating aesthetic for his alter ego to work within, while still remaining sonically pleasing and lighthearted enough to keep from being a true miss. At times, BT2 feels like a party filled with illicit drugs, a great DJ, and blissful ignorance. At others, it's popular rapper karaoke night at the Logic household with veggie trays and La Croix, with everyone out by 9 p.m.

3 Standout Tracks

“Yuck”

“Yuck” is the party anthem Logic has been attempting to create with this mixtape series from the beginning, while also being a cocky "fuck you" to all of his critics. By far the best track on the album.

“Warm It Up”

Laced with inviting and nostalgic production, “Warm It Up” is not only successful because Logic revisits his entertaining Young Sinatra persona, but also because Logic is his best self when his rhyme schemes feel unforced and natural.

“Indica Badu”

Accompanied by an absolutely filthy Wiz Khalifa guest verse, “Indica Badu” highlights the thrilling nature to BT2’s production, and again feels like a track that came to Logic naturally without him forcing his way into a lane he wasn’t prepared to drive down.

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