By Gus Nations IV, Staff Writer
Legacy is a funny thing.
Some artists spend their entire lives carefully emulating their heroes in order to reproduce successes in their own way. It’s an obsession for this type of creator; interviews are chock-full of references to their influences. Sometimes their work even feels like a fresh take on an older figure in their genre.
Other artists come into their legacy seemingly by accident — by the merit of their dogged individuality or their obstinate rejection of rules. They spend their time thinking excitedly about ways they can reshape the musical landscape.
In either case, when an artist finally makes it to the top, their position feels earned, their path traceable and with a satisfying sense of continuity.
Logic, however, seems to have skipped all of the observable methods of achieving his fame and now sits at the top of a haphazard body of work, wondering bewilderedly why people aren’t giving him the respect he thinks he deserves.
He is a man that wears many hats. Logic has spent his prolific career rapping about his desolate upbringing in Gaithersburg, Maryland; space; mental health; his family; his haters and myriad other rap tropes. He has retired, un-retired, married, divorced, remarried and had a child. He has collected Pokémon cards, signed multi-million dollar Twitch deals, played chess with grandmasters and has even been nominated for a Grammy.
But somewhere along the way, Logic missed a step. His eclectic personality has had the opposite effect of what he intended. By desperately trying to find an angle that would cement his position as an all-time great, he’s ostracized himself from the conversation entirely.
His new album, College Park, is next in his line of albums begging to be considered legendary. Amazingly, each of the 17 songs on the record provide a fresh formula that pleads his audience to throw his name into the “greatest of all time” conversation. He reuses and recycles old formulas from his peers to continue constructing his disillusioned, self-inflated worldview.
On “Clone Wars III,” he raps, “There were days when I wished I was Cole, wished I was Kendrick / Days when I wished I was Jay and had the blueprint / Makin’ fresh money like a new mint / ‘Til I woke up one day and realized I’m Logic / Somethin’ they could never be, let’s not even acknowledge it.”
This line precisely explains his issue. Each of the rappers listed are the objective upper echelon of talented artists — rap royalty. Logic explicitly name drops the best of best, and then flippantly pooh-poohs them because they “could never be him.”
For Logic, credibility is measured through features. College Park boasts an incredibly varied selection of guests, including Joey Bada$$, Bun B and Norah Jones. But the feature model isn’t a compelling argument for Logic’s success either. In nearly every song, his guests sound more grounded and confident on their respective tracks than Logic does.
Nowhere is this more evident than on “Self Medication,” featuring Seth MacFarlane and Redman.
MacFarlane steals the entire album in four lines, delivering a rich, Sinatra-esque performance that elevates the track to an ethereal level. To put it into perspective, “Logic” was trending for a week after videos of MacFarlane singing went viral.
None of this is to say that Logic isn’t a talented artist. He has a dexterous command of language and can deliver complicated lines with ease and finesse. He is also credited for producing many of the tracks on his new album. In many of his early releases, there was a hunger to carve out his own brand of success.
It’s obvious he has the chops to be great — I just hope that in the future he goes back to rapping about spaceships.