The past couple weeks has been great for the interweb's rap fans. First, the hardest record of 2014 dropped with Run the Jewels 2 , then Theophilus London's Yeezus Christ-influenced album Vibes professionally leaked, Drake's "not an EP" 6 God was set free upon us, KRIT's new album is streaming; plus multiple other incredible singles came out like Jay Rock supported by K.Dot and of course the new Nicki Minaj single was unleashed to assassinate the radio (about this one through). Holy moly, god bless the internet era. Besides these select, just named projects the release that was nearly nonstop on blast in my personal rotation ever since last Tuesday, was Logic's amazing major debut, Under Pressure.
A dope concept and lyrical finesse got me hooked like Tyrone Biggums on crack, paired with elite instrumentals (even partly produced by the man himself) and a top notch double time flow throughout the entire project that reminded me of a type of quality last heard on an album called Good Kid, M.a.a.d. City. I’d go even further and say this is one of my favorite (but not necessarily the best) projects to come out since ... well, I guess since GKMC. Now the OG LG already pointed out in his review that this might be the hottest contender for the album of the year (leaving RTJ2 out of the discussion since it only dropped two days later) and he wasn't the only one who had this idea in mind, based on the DJBooth community ratings and how other critics rated the album. Considering this, plus the recently released first week numbers of a more-than-respectable 73,000 units sold, got me thinking: how much success can a “new” artist like Logic experience at the Grammys.
I know, I know...first of all, screw the damn Grammys. In recent history they robbed more credible and talented artists than the major labels, notably in the Urban category. Think of Yeezy when he wasn't nominated for the Record of the Year with MBDTF, Kendrick's robbery last year, Nas in each of the seven years that he has been nominated... the list is longer than Scottie Pippen's arms (word to the 19x winner, Jigga Man). Then again, wouldn't it be hella satisfying to see an underdog like Logic on top of the mainstream music world?* Meaning that if an album is more than just critically acclaimed and even does well commercially, why under a blue moon shouldn’t it be possible for a guy like Logic to be successful at the Oscars of the music industry?
Let's take a look at some of the winners from recent years. What they all have in common, besides that in most cases there was a different project that probably deserved the W more, is that they all did well on the Billboard charts and were released by well known, household-name artists. Unfortunately, those aspects alone eliminate Killer Mike and El-P's second child, but let's be honest; a hardcore rap album wouldn't fit into the format of the Grammy's now anyways. (At least they are probably the top contestants for DJBooth's Best of the Booth Awards! Hey, that's not something, right?)
However, let's go back to Logic: how realistic are his chances? Obviously, he needs to boost his sales more in order to have elevated chances of being considered by the committee, even though he's had a great start so far. The lack of a real impact single could be crucial, too, yet I could see that "Buried Alive" might have a decent chance of being nominated, as well. The X-factor here, though, is the fact that Logic is an artist that is newly introduced to the wider music world. The Grammy Awards are voted on by a committee that is muhc older than Logic's core demo. Assuming that they didn't dedicate the right amount of time to hip hop artists as we do, because they obviously don't give a damn about hip hop (see exhibit A, B and C above) it's likely that they will pick a more known artist both for nomination and victory.
History taught us that newcomers only stand a chance when their buzz is tremendous, like when le Mack de la More and RL broke the internet last year, or back when Kanye's debut sold three million copies. On the other hand, this also means that a regular dope "rookie" artist like Logic (same goes for any other newcomer in his position) has a harder time getting picked than the 5'7 white dude for the high school basketball team (the pain is still deep), especially when considering that his challengers will likely be established artists such as T.I., Eminem, Mr. West and Kendrick. (Assuming they all drop their next full body of work by September, given that the committee only counts releases from September to the following September.)
To make a damn long story short, Logic has played his part well so far and is in a sweet position for a Grammy nomination; the talent, the dope project, the support and the recognition of the masses are all there. Unfortunately, as we all know, that's not enough in most cases. I guess we'll just have to wait until the nominations are announced in December. In the meantime, here's to hoping that the committee gets it right this year, for once.
*The exact same thing can be said about an artist like Big K.R.I.T. Just imagine what it would be like if Krizzle and Logic went head to head on The Grammys stage... until this year's Macklemore and Ryan Lewis win again. Or not?
[Kevin Taylor is an aspiring music writer and master of the killer crossover. This is his Twitter.]