“No Pressure” is Logic’s most mature album to date and finishes off his hip-hop career in a well executed fashion.
By Gavin Majeski
Logic, born Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, has had an up-and-down rap career to say the least. Since his generally well received 2014 debut LP, “Under Pressure,” Logic has released a plethora of albums and mixtapes, all receiving mixed critical reception.
2019 was quite the lackluster year for the Maryland rapper. His novel “Supermarket” and soundtrack of the same name was an awful stab at a hodgepodge of different genres, none of which were rap. His subsequent 2019 record, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” was no better and was hailed by many as the artist’s worst rap album to date.
Now, after becoming a father and wanting to focus his time on raising his son, Logic announced only a few weeks prior to the release of “No Pressure” that it would be his last album. “No Pressure” is a great return to form for the rapper, and builds upon the same themes and concepts established in his debut, “Under Pressure.”
Both feature robotic text to speech vocals that give commentary on how the albums were made and general insights such as, “Making a single before your album is like putting together a trailer for a movie you have yet to shoot,” and “Actually living your life is exponentially different from just being alive.”
The aforementioned themes, along with the fact that both records were produced by Kanye West and Jay-Z collaborator, No I.D., do an excellent job at making both Logic’s debut and final record feel like a completed novel and yin and yang, representing both the beginning, end and evolution of him as an artist.
Unlike “Under Pressure,” his latest record has a significantly more jazz rap-inspired instrumental palette, with slower rap flows which compliment the introspective lyrics on Logic’s experiences in his decade of making music. “Dark Place,” “Amen” and the closing track “Obediently Yours,” featuring a vocal snippet of Orson Welles from “To Be Born Free,” feel like a mature change of pace in comparison to older tracks such as Keanu Reeves which feature cringey lines like, “I don’t play no games ‘less we talkin’ Fortnite.”
Even though the introspective lyrics mesh well with the jazzy instrumentals, tracks like “GP4,” “Open Mic\\Aquarius III,“ “man i is” and “DadBod” feel almost comatose in comparison to the more textured and unique production from tracks like “Hit My Line,” “Celebration,” “Perfect,” “A2Z” and “Heard Him Say.”
“DadBod” in particular is the least flattering lyrical standout on the record due to its referential lyrics about how boring the rapper’s life is now that he is a father. On paper, the concept seems interesting, until we hear Logic talk about going to a Target to get new underwear because his drawers are “stank as f**k.”
On the other end of the spectrum, we have conceptual highlights like “A2Z” which features an audio snippet of Logic asking his son if he wants to learn his ABCs. Logic proceeds to go through every letter of the alphabet and use each letter as an interconnected word while rapping bar after bar. The instrumental uses mysterious piano samples along with what appears to be a video game announcer shouting off each letter of the alphabet along with Logic.
While the record suffers most due to instrumental stagnation and sluggish delivery over the longer tracks, “No Pressure” does a good job thematically wrapping up Logic’s career with his most introspective album to date.
Favorite Tracks: Hit My Line, Celebration, Perfect, 5 Hooks, Dark Place, A2Z, Heard Em Say, Amen, Obediently Yours