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Logic Represents the Man in the Middle on ‘Everybody’ Album



XL1

Def Jam
Def Jam

In certain instances, objects can actually be closer than they appear in your eyesight, which is a concept that can also be applicable in life, where few things are ever what they seem to be. Perception can inform one’s reality, but it certainly doesn’t mirror it, which history has shown us time and time again, whether it be an unforeseeable victory or a new breakthrough in science. Impossible can be perceived as unattainable, until it’s in your reach, which rapper Logic has learned over these past few years as he’s grown to be one of the more unlikely heavyweights in rap, with a track record that trumps many with more name recognition.

While a number of artists have been able to translate mixtape buzz into a record, few have come close to reaching the amount of tangible success that Logic has sans a bona fide hit single, with his first two major label albums, Under Pressure and The Incredible True Story, both achieving gold status and debuting within the Top 5 of the Billboard 200—impressive figures in an industry that has not always had the results match up with an artist’s hype.

Logic may have all of the metrics to justify being considered among the finer lyricists in rap today, but, at times, has found himself left out of the conversation surrounding the next crop of legendary MCs that have placed their stamp on the culture over the past few years. However, the Maryland native has his eyes set on more than mere greatness within the realm of hip-hop, opting to turn his attention to provide a voice for the downtrodden and conflicted, a decision made after realizing how much his music affected fans’ personal lives. As a result, the making of Logic’s third studio album, Everybody, was born. A collection of songs that finds Logic looking inward as well as outward, reconciling his feelings about being biracial and tackling everything from injustice to mental health, the rapper is not hesitant to reveal the inner workings of his mind, his view of the world and his place in it.

“I’m like hallelujah!/Praise God, almighty, the most high/Alpha and omega in the sky,” Logic shouts on “Hallelujah,” the opening salvo on Everybody, which captures the rapper spilling over piano keys, synths and pulsating percussion provided by himself and producer 6ix. The beatmaker lends his talents to all but one track on the album, making him the second most integral cog in the album’s creation. 6ix’s influence may be subtle to casual fans, but given the fact that he has produced a majority of Logic’s material to date, he’s essential to capturing the refined sound that the rapper has become a trademark of sorts. Logic, who brags, “Made in the image of God/With a blunt in my mouth and a bitch on the side,” addresses the conflict in his conduct from the jump, positioning himself as a man with secular tendencies, yet yearns to be aligned with the spiritual. “Hallelujah” is a triumphant introductory cut, with Logic giving thanks for all of the blessings bestowed upon him, and sets the bar high. However, he manages not to wilt beneath it, as the quality of his individual performance elevates the deeper listeners get into the heart of the album.

With his last album, The Incredible True Story, which was based around a conceptual plot, complete with the likes of Steven Blum and Will Poulter appearing on the album as characters, Logic looks to replicate that experience on Everybody, albeit with a different storyline. The project is wrapped around dialog between God (voiced by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson), and a newly deceased Black man named Atom, who is making sense of his fate and the meaning of life (former San Francisco radio personality Big Von serves as his voice). Everybody pays homage to Andy Weir’s novel The Egg, even featuring paraphrased quotes from the book. Both appear at various points throughout the album, contributing colorful skits that gives Everybody additional character and flavor, but not at the expense of Logic’s ability to capture the listener’s attention, a mission he accomplished throughout.

The title track, produced by PSTMN, Logic and 6ix, is a drum-driven track on which Logic laments, “Everybody people, everybody bleed, everybody need something/Everybody love, everybody know, how it go,” decrying racial stereotypes amid dropping slick lines referencing the conflict that his biracial upbringing has in the world of hip-hop. “In my blood is the slave and the master/It’s like the devil playin spades with the pastor,” he delivers.

Everybody impresses from the outset, but the album truly begins to take off with “Confess,” a piano-laden offering that features an impassioned speech from Atlanta rapper Killer Mike, who pens an open letter to God questioning the plight endured by minorities across the world. “I’m a dirty muthafucka, a waste of life, a waste of skin/Wanna repent, don’t know where to begin/Next of kin don’t give a damn ’bout me/I know God don’t give a damn ’bout me,” Logic spouts, rhyming from the vantage point of someone that’s found a home in despair due to the sociopolitical turmoil that has proved suffocating in recent years.

Young Sinatra’s first two albums may have lacked many big-name rap features, with the rapper opting to showcase his own abilities, but Everybody is a departure from that method, with a few of rap’s most respected veterans making their presence felt here. Black Thought and Public Enemy frontman Chuck D both make appearances on the politically-charged standout cut “America,” with the latter delivering a rare high-profile guest spot, but rising to the occasion with zingers like, “Rich white man while the rest be suffering/Run from the locked down borders/Ain’t like flint ain’t got clean water.” Chuck D proves he’s still spry enough to get off a pointed couplet at will.

Aligning with Juicy J, Logic puts fraudulent rappers in the hot seat on the hazy 6ix and Deats-produced “Ink Blot,” but the co-stars on Everybody aren’t limited to rap, as vocalists from various genres also lend their talents to the proceedings. Their appearance is recognized most notably on “1-800-273-8255″ and “Anziety,” both of which tackle matters of the heart and the mind and are among the more sobering fare on the album.

“1-800-273-8255,” which features Khalid and Alessia Cara, is a song that captures Logic’s empathy for depressed people harboring suicidal thoughts and tendencies. The song doubles as the third single released in support of the album. Produced by 6ix and Logic himself, the song showcases the Gaithersburg, Md. native’s vocal abilities. “I’ve been on the low/I been taking my time/I feel like I’m out of my mind/It feel like my life ain’t mine,” Logic passionately croons over piano keys, before handing the mic over to Alessia Cara and Khalid, both of whom deliver in admirable showings of their own. Released in conjunction with the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, “1-800-273-8255″ is among the more powerful songs to be released in 2017 and comes with a message that is sure to resonate beyond music.

“Anziety,” which is produced by Wallis Lane, Logic and 6ix, is another potent selection featuring Logic touching on mental health, particularly anxiety. With vocals from singer Lucy Rose, “Anziety” begins serenely with her harmonizing, prior to the calm being interrupted by thunderous drums and vocal wails. Logic chants, “I’ma get up in your mind right now/Make you feel like dying right now,” and breaks down the symptoms and affects of an anxiety attack. Giving his own account of his history with anxiety towards the end of the track, instead of being removed from the experience, Logic shares his own plight with the listener, heightening its effectiveness and further endearing the budding star.

Other tracks on Everybody that find Logic at the top of his game are the DJ Khalil and C-Sick-produced “Mos Definitely,” which samples “Maybe Tomorrow” by Grant Green; and “Black SpiderMan,” which pairs the rapper with frequent collaborator Damian Lemar Hudson and finds him embracing all aspects of his heritage. “I ain’t ashamed to be White, I ain’t ashamed to be Black/I ain’t ashamed of my beautiful Mexican wife as a matter of fact,” Logic raps, while encouraging others to be themselves.

Everybody may be dense with strong tunes that stick with the listener, but the album’s finest moments come via “AfricAryaN,” a lengthy closeout track on which Logic leaves no stone unturned when spilling about his life as a biracial Black man, spitting, “I feel the Aryan in my blood, it’s scarier than a Blood/Been looking for holy water, now I’m praying for a flood.” He gives a masterful performance that brings the LP full circle. Complete with a hidden guest verse from J. Cole at the end of the song—he urges Logic to be at peace within himself and his biracial identity—”AfricAryan” is among the crown jewels that Everybody has to offer and an apt ending to a musical journey through the mind of Logic.

With the Black Lives Matter movement being juxtaposed with the 2016 presidential election, the topic of race in America has become impossible to ignore, and has bled into hip-hop, with a number of rappers speaking their peace on the subject, whether through songs or taking action in protest. However, while many focus on the oppression and bigotry that is a byproduct of racism, Logic treads similar ground, but delves inward in an attempt to reconcile the pain and struggle that is associated with his African-American heritage and the privilege and perceptions that his fair skin can bring. Complete with unbridled lyricism, top-notch production and conceptual brilliance to tie it all together, Everybody is a hallmark release that further solidifies Logic solid standing in hip-hop.

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