Logic 'YSIV' 1 Listen Album Review

"From the bars to the samples, Logic made a rap album that speaks to the rappers and rap records that inspired him to take it this far."
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Logic Young Sinatra IV album review

Logic stands as one of hip-hop’s modern giants. He’s not quite the size of André Roussimoff, but the Maryland-born rapper casts a shadow that’s impossible to ignore. Last year, Logic reached the top of Billboard 200, moving 247,000 equivalent album units of his third studio album, Everybody. It was the fifth-highest opening week in 2017 for a hip-hop artist, behind only Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Eminem, and JAY-Z. The numbers told what most already knew: Logic was a big deal and only getting bigger. 

Admittedly, Logic’s overly patient, fascinating rise and his heart of gold have always felt more compelling than his music. He’s a versatile, creative rapper with a palette of strengths and technical savvy. With that said, I've always approached new projects by Logic with interest rather than anticipation. It’s like returning to a local restaurant but always ordering a new dish in search of the one that highlights its chef’s best qualities. The excitement isn’t in the return, but the possibility of this visit being the one. Young Sinatra IV, Logic’s fourth studio album, is the chef’s latest meal. I’m hoping this is the most satisfying one yet.

In usual 1-Listen album review 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. 

1. "Thank You" ft. Lucy Rose & The RattPack

The album appears to pick up where Everybody ended. This is the final Young Sinatra album, not the final Logic album. Turning a mixtape series into an album is a smart move. This beat is icebox cold; it could go where Omarion’s heart current resides. I love the female background vocals. “I won’t ever leave this rap shit, I’m just getting started.” Whoa, whoa. Logic said he’s the new Kanye. This flow reminds me of some vintage J. Cole. “I had to write this over a Nujabes vibe.” I wouldn’t say that’s entirely accurate, but I appreciate the nod to the late producer. Singing Logic. Smooth. I’m enjoying how he’s kicking this one off. The fire is in his gut and the production is pristine. He has voicemails from fans playing. Fans from all over the world. They are going to be quite excited when they hear themselves on this album. The bass line is taking me places. “Thank You” is long, but the love is real. Man, he might just outsell Lil Wayne if every track keeps this same energy. There are two minutes left. Now, he’s just stunting with all these fans. Global Logic. Logic worldwide. I hope he flips that André line about having more fans than the average man one day. Okay, that’s over...

2. "Everybody Dies"

Jazzy horns. Switched to piano keys. “You are watching a master at work” drop. I’d be into a Logic Gangsta Grillz. Dusty drums. He has a lot of passion in his voice. This flow could be quarantined. “I got more verses than the Holy Bible” haha. There are some strong bars landing, and over boom-bap beats is where Logic sounds most comfortable. He started the second verse faster than Michael Phelps being chased by a shark. I know motivational joints get the fans going, but I enjoy when Logic is just talking that talk. I might be old and not interested in being preached to about dying one day. Believe me Logic, I know. 

3. "The Return"

Nice vocal sample loop. I’m into it. Percussion is funky. I like this. Yep, this is a solid verse. The rapping has been strong. Cole’s influence is so strong, but it fits Logic. It’s like he took pieces of The Warm Up and built upon the lyrical and introspective style. Cole even had a song called “I Get Up.” “Fuck a mumble, let's make America rap again” hahaha. Okay! I won’t forget that. He just shouted out André but it wasn’t the line I wanted. The Wu-Tang shout-out was nice. “All the rappers I came upon I surpassed.” LOGIC CAME TO TALK HIS SHIT. Heartless like Kanye in '08. He just made a request for Jay to jump on a track. JAY-Z AND LOGIC THE NEW WATCH THE THRONE.

4. "The Glorious Five"

So far, Logic is Human Torch. He just did an old Cole ad-lib and is using an old Cole flow. I’m not mad at ALL. It’s the nostalgic touch that I’m loving. Also, Logic’s technical skills as a rapper really make it easy to sell these raps and bars. He is rapping to shut up the naysayers. He's talking about his dad. This is heartfelt. It’s worth noting that he has not uttered a single biracial bar. I'm not in love with this hook, but I’m still vibing. Logic is very proud of his rap prowess and is coming with the big brags. The production has been a pleasure. He switched to a supersonic flow. Mean, mean.

5. "One Day" ft. Ryan Tedder 

Seamless transition. Ryan Tedder sounds like Bruno Mars when he was giving Bobby Ray the hits. A lighter, more poppy production, like if No I.D. was trying to make something for The Streets. I say that respectfully. I can’t shake the feeling that Big Sean would’ve rapped on this beat if the pack reached him before Logic. I like the song, but I don’t love it. It’s a nice change of pace. I can see "One Day" loved and hated in equal measure. Tedder is singing his heart out. If you need a crossover hook, he's your man. “One Day” has good energy. Future fan favorite. 

6. "Wu-Tang Forever" ft. Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, RZA, Method Man, Inspectah Deck, Cappadonna, Jackpot Scotty Wotty, U-God, Masta Killa & GZA

At the very least, the entire hip-hop community will press play on this song. YEP! Logic got me. He just shouted out ODB. I'm loving the boom bap. Damn, Logic is dissing mumble rap. His JanSport is on TIGHT. He’s bragging about bringing together the entire Clan together. Damn, Drake is somewhere PISSED. I wonder how much this cost him. GHOSTFACE! I can’t remember the last time I heard a seven-minute posse cut. The Killah sounds good. Kwon was tagged in! The wordplay is razor-sharp. Raekwon has one of my favorite voices in rap. RZA always had the wildest presence. Superbad bar. He worked a Starboy/Weeknd bar in. Man, RZA sounds like he’s been wanting to rap. He's been waiting to get these bars off. METHOD MAN!! I’m crying. “Y'all don’t smile in your pictures you dudes are miserable” got a nice chuckle out of me. Inspectah Deck came through. Suddenly, I’m excited to see them at A3C. Cappadonna got all the sound effects in his verse haha. Trains and gun cocks. “Spread love get a plate food” hahaha. Everyone delivered a solid-to-strong performance. “Grandmaster from the 36 Chambers.” GZA batting last. Wu-Tang chants. I don’t know if I’ll sit through the whole thing again but it was heartwarming. WU-TANG!

7. "100 Miles and Running" ft. Wale & John Lindahl

It really sounds like Logic had a ball making this album. He's got the Wale feature on the go-go production. The beat is dancing. It's a total groove. Logic is blitzing across this beat. This is incredible, to say the least. “Hop out the coop and the chicken heads go crazy.” I can’t wait for Wale to tear this to shreds. Homage is being paid on this album. The song title is the name of Wale’s third mixtape. Shouts to N.W.A too. WALE! He’s in the bag. He’s been in it all year. We have to get another go-go record from Wale. He sounds... at home. Circles are being run with this flow. If he continued to rap for 10 minutes at this pace and potency I wouldn’t mind. Logic must’ve told him to spazz like it was 2008. What a record. A favorite. The song could’ve ended with Wale's verse but Logic has more to say. I love the horns going as crazy as his flow. Logic is also running laps. Yeah, he is sharper than Steve Harvey selling cutlery. That was a tongue twister. 

8. "Ordinary Day" ft. Hailee Steinfeld

When Logic raps fast it’s like watching someone swiftly solve a Rubik's Cube. Singing Logic. This is the pop song. The pacing has been really solid. After back-to-back rap records, something lighter is a nice switch-up. I’m not instantly a huge fan of "Ordinary Day" but the vibe isn’t bad. This sorta reminds me of a Lupe Fiasco single during the “Superstar” era of his Atlantic Records tenure. Hailee sounds like crossover money. The radio potential is higher than Lil Yachty in a hotbox with Method Man and Redman.

9. "YSIV"

R.I.P. Mac Miller! Lord Finesse sample? I believe so. It’s on the tip of my tongue. Ahhh, I hate drawing blanks. Logic is sounding like a giant. “From the new school rappers I’m the illest on the roster,” all the rap brags. He interpolated AZ’s hook from “Life’s a Bitch.” That’s wild. Logic continues to remind us that he can do both boom bap and trap. I wouldn’t mind if he stuck to the breakbeats. Big shout-outs to the OGs. Logic said the legends love him. Beat switch. He’s snapping. These keys are cold. It sounds like Logic’s “I Gave You Power.” Yep. “Hov wrote about me on 'Dead Presidents,'” he raps from the perspective of money. This is a switch-up. Logic the storyteller has always been a stronger performer. Incredible homage. “We just some motherfucking kids.” Mac Miller was the inspiration behind Young Sinatra. Mac Miller’s influence is wide. I wonder how old this record is? Logic is love.

10. "Street Dreams II"

Fire! Storyteller Logic. The details are strong. I would read a book written by Logic. Does he have a book? This reminds me of Royce’s “Murder.” A story about a kidnapping. Damn, he just killed someone. I can’t imagine Logic hurting a butterfly. Far as rap performances go, he’s killing it. I don’t want to spoil the story, you have to hear it. J. Cole’s “Can I Live” flow. Logic went full Tarantino with the violence. Of course, the predictable ending. BOO! I deserve a better ending.

11. "The Adventures of Stoney Bob" ft. Kajo, Slaydro & Big Lenbo

A warm record. Smoking Logic. I kinda wish Snoop or Wiz had this beat. No, Logic, we will not call smoking weed with your friends "running a train on Mary Jane." That’s what we will not do. WHAT IS THIS SAMPLE? It’s some '90s vibe that Joey Bada$$ would’ve rapped over during the early Pro Era era. Honestly, I’m not familiar with Logic’s costars. There’s a science to a good record about smoking, but they’re only scratching the ceiling. The vibe is pleasant. I love this beat. Hook is fine. I wasn’t sold on the verses but still solid all around. 

12. "Legacy"

Great production after great production. Logic found great sonics for each record. Besides the stoner record, the raps have been equally as enjoyable. Where is Logic rapping from? I think this is a father’s perspective. Is it his dad? I wouldn’t be surprised. Could be a story. Ah, this is a plot twist. He’s arguing with someone. I need to rewind this track when I am allowed to but it begins with the bar about being remembered for generations. Yet, he's not known by his own son. This is what A$AP Rocky was hoping to do with that one song from a few years ago that I can't remember the name of because he didn't do it well. “Sacrificed my health for wealth.” He’s rapping from the son’s perspective. He’s reaching Kendrick’s level of storytelling. Now he’s rapping from the woman’s perspective. Yep, I’m in awe at how far he’s taking this theme. I’m happy to see a rapper flip the script about legacy being the reward with life after death. Some gems here. Food for thought. The drums are doing my heart good. 

13. "ICONIC" ft. Jaden Smith

Is this a flip of Jaden’s “Icon”? Sounds like it. Logic just shouted out Slim Shady. Drums just dropped. I believe the vocal sample is a new addition. Yeah, this is Logic’s version of “Icon.” It could slap a little harder. Oh, did he just name names? Sounded like he name-dropped Gambino. “Sacrificed my 20s now money ain’t a thing,” boy Logic just said something. Hahaha, the bicoastal bar was a bar. Jaden Smith has arrived. Oh, he didn’t rap. He just said icons acknowledge icons. Logic has been a man on fire all album. Fast flow. Talk your talk Logic. 

14. "Last Call"

Last call! He’s doing his own “Last Call.” The feeling is there. Logic made a rap album that communicates with hip-hop. Logic is undoubtedly a rap nerd. It’s refreshing to hear a rapper who loves rap. These keys will touch your soul. This flow is a skateboard and the beat is a halfpipe. Reflective Bobby. “I’m not dropping stacks I’m dropping knowledge” hahaha. He didn’t have to call them a half-breed family. These stories are why you can’t hate Logic. The kid is pure. The Kill Bill blood-spilling line was DOPE. I wonder how many rappers were homeless on the come up. That’s such a common theme. Can you really make it as a rapper without couch surfing? I’m not crying, you’re crying. I’m glad this album is good because if it was trash and this was the conclusion I would feel terrible. Logic’s homie let him hustle for a year to chase his dream without having to work. The unsung heroes who help rappers make their dreams come true are rarely acknowledged. “I can’t believe I’m here.” Hands down the most inspiring album closure of 2018. 

Final (first listen) thoughts on YSIV:

My formal introduction to Logic was his 2015 sophomore album, The Incredible True Story. That release didn’t inspire me to journey back into his early mixtapes, but I always kept up with his latest work. Before pressing play on YSIV, I spoke with fellow DJBooth scribe Donna-Claire Chesman, who gave me a crash course on the version of Logic who appears throughout the Young Sinatra series; the Logic who fans grew to love leading up to his debut album, Under Pressure. After listening to Young Sinatra IV, I get it. This isn’t the rapper who made Everybody. Logic sounds reborn and better than I’ve ever heard him sound. 

Logic's Young Sinatra series began seven years ago in 2011. Young Sinatra IV, the first project in the series to be released as a full-length album, has the comfortability of returning somewhere familiar. From the opening bars on “Thank You,” it’s clear that Logic wasn’t here to stumble. There’s a refreshing quality to his confidence. He’s successful but not complacent. This is a man who wants to translate his passion for rapping to the listener.

Young Sinatra IV is pleasant from beginning to end. Where Everybody felt like an album taking itself too seriously, Logic’s latest effort is an offering of love to hip-hop. From the bars to the samples, Logic made a rap album that speaks to the rappers and rap records that inspired him to take it this far. Not only did Logic sell me on his future, but he has also encouraged me to reach back into his past. 

Kudos to the chef, I'm happy with this meal. 

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