Under Pressure – with Logic’s introspective style and lyrical word play on life, his album title is ironically simple and to the point. He’s had the fortunate or unfortunate (depending on how you look at it) instance of being lyrically compared to Kendrick Lamar by Lupe Fiasco. He donned the black and white visuals in 2014’s BET Cypher, just after branding himself as someone to be noticed in 2013’s XXL Freshmen Class. This isn’t even mentioning being signed to Def Jam Records and hitting a 32-city nationwide tour through The Cud Life Tour. Plenty of artists have gone through a whole lot less before reaching that coveted debut album. Take the words said from the Maryland native, it would be naive to say that the “pressure” to succeed wasn’t and still is a driving influence.
“Making a single before your album is like putting together a trailer for a movie you’ve yet to shoot.”
It’s one of the many robotic narrations that dishes out insight into the production process between songs. The movie in question from the very beginning is an unapologetic look into Logic’s upbringing. Few songs make that more evident than “Gang Related”, a title that darkly probes into a different perspective other than his own – his brother’s. From the onset, it’s strikingly vulnerable with verses that reveal more than any one person would want to put out there. It reveals the risks and rewards that come with being successful within less than ideal circumstances. No glorification, no shouts about money and women, just a relationship between fear and the hood life, which introspectively gives credence to his street cred.
There is a deliberate attempt to reveal as much as possible through hard beats and frank accounts, as if to shout out that his role in hip-hop is deserved despite his biracial background.
Then there’s that term – street cred, which often comes to mind when reflecting on the mood of most of the record. There is a deliberate attempt to reveal as much as possible through hard beats and frank accounts, as if to shout out that his role in hip-hop is deserved despite his biracial background. It only makes sense that fellow outcast in Childish Gambino serves as one of the few featured artists through the song “Driving Ms. Daisy” on the deluxe edition. There is a blend that just works with intricate bars, and in and out idioms, that don’t conflict with each other throughout a song about relationships and personal drive. Talents that extend away from the mic are heard through the use of sliced samples and a hook that just sounds as addictively chill as any hip-hop beat can be.
Serving as a core to the intense level of honesty expressed on the album is “Under Pressure”. It’s a song that goes as far as to emulate the thoughts of differing perspectives: The self-preserved workaholic in Logic, an absentee father and a damaged sister. The track seems so illuminating to his personal life that he goes as far as to include voicemails from his actual family. The sampling from Easy-E’s “Easy-Duz-It” was also a nice touch.
This is wholly about Logic’s life in the meditative ways in which he knows how to tell it.
The lack of featured artists apart from Gambino also gives the album a surprisingly intimate feel. This is wholly about Logic’s life in the meditative ways in which he knows how to tell it. Despite that, you can still hear certain artists in spirit through similar styles and influences that extend to A Tribe Called Quest, Outkast, Kanye West, J. Cole and Nas, among others, and he isn’t afraid to mention them on the album.
Logic comes off as an impressively introspective artist that has used his experiences and talent to tell the mainstream world one thing – that he deserves to be where he is. He understands the pressure that comes from wanting and expecting limelight and Under Pressure’s raw honesty and head-nodding beats illustrates that in a way no single interview could.
Words By. Noel Ransome