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'No Pressure' is Logic’s bittersweet farewell

by Arianna Sergio One week and four studio sessions was all it took for Logic — with the help of producer No I.D. — to record his seventh and final studio album, No Pressure. The album was then edited, mixed, and mastered to perfection over the course of the year that followed. On July 16, 2020, Logic single-handedly broke the internet with the announcement of his retirement on Twitter and Instagram. He posted the album cover of  No Pressure with the caption, “Officially announcing my retirement with the release of ‘No Pressure’ executive produced by No I.D. July 24th… It’s been a great decade. Now it’s time to be a great father.” This post shocked his fan base — also known as the Rattpack. Comments and tweets came flooding in with overwhelming support, sadness, and love. After releasing his first mixtape Psychological in late 2009, the past 10 years of Logic’s career have been nothing short of incredible. He’s released six mixtapes and seven albums. No Pressure is Logic's best work to date. Logic hinted in the booklet of Everybody that his next album was going to be his final album, and it was going to be called Ultra 85. For the Logic fans that were expecting Ultra 85 and not No Pressure, Logic said on his Twitch stream, “A lot of people might say ‘Oh, Ultra 85,’ and da da da, this is Ultra f***ing 85. This is what that would’ve been… I put my heart and my soul into this. This is the one… When it comes to my die hard fans, this is for you.” No Pressure is paying homage to his first studio album Under Pressure and celebrating rap as a genre.

Not Living Behind a Persona Anymore

No Pressure is a full circle moment for the Maryland rapper. His first studio album — Under Pressure — tackled topics such as his violent childhood, the gangs in his neighborhood, his past cooking drugs, his battle with nicotine, his struggle with fame, and ultimately, the hardships of his life. The Under Pressure album cover features Logic, phone in hand, sitting with two friends in the basement of his friend Lenny/Big Lenbo — whom he used to live with and who helped him work on his career in music. In the picture, they are working on music, surrounded by some furniture, a couple computers, some works of art on the walls, and several other items. In the No Pressure album cover, Logic is seen alone underwater surrounded by all the items depicted in the Under Pressure album cover. It shows that Logic no longer has to worry about the struggles he once battled while trying to make a name for himself in the music industry. He’s free from the pressures of the rap game; he’s just floating and enjoying his life now. Portraying that on his final album cover is absolutely genius. No Pressure doesn’t focus on Logic or Bobby Tarantino or Young Sinatra or any of his personas. It focuses on himself, Bobby Hall, and it’s more transparent than any of his music before.

Blasts from the Past

“No Pressure Intro” features Thalia, Logic’s android narrator who was inspired by the hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest’s album Midnight Marauders, saying, “Welcome to the No Pressure Program.” Then, it goes into a chopped up version of filmmaker Orson Welles’ intro to the 1942 Suspense Radio Theater show “The Hitchhiker.” The intro of the song is diced up and pieced together with words, names, and phrases said by Logic, which is thoughtfully done in order to present the thematic elements of the album. It’s safe to say that every Logic fan can remember the first time they heard the song “Under Pressure” and the feeling they got when they heard it. “No Pressure Intro” offers listeners that same feeling. The newly euphoric, yet nostalgic, sound is a treat every single time you listen to it. The sixth track on No Pressure is “Soul Food II.” “Soul Food II” is what Logic wanted the original “Soul Food” to sound like on Under Pressure; unfortunately, he couldn’t clear the licensing for the sample he wanted to use. “Soul Food II” is a more grown up and artistic version of “Soul Food,” with his genuine, authentic outlook on life over the slightly altered “Soul Food” beat which overall works in favor of making this song the best produced on the album. Logic is known for frequently referencing his other songs, which act as Easter eggs for his devoted fans. In “Soul Food II” he makes reference to — yep, you guessed it — 2014’s Under Pressure predecessor “Soul Food.” In “Soul Food” Logic raps, “Goddamn, goddamn, conversations with legends/Crazy how one day yo' idols can turn into your brethren” and in “Soul Food II” he raps, “Goddamn, goddamn, conversations with people/ Crazy how one day, the legends forget that they equal/ On this Under Pressure sequel.” In “Soul Food II” the word “legends” is replaced with “people.” This implies that he doesn’t praise the image of rappers he once idolized. In actuality, he calls them out and believes that many of them lose themselves within the world of fame.

The New Logic

When I first heard the piano in the song “Hit My Line,” my jaw literally dropped. This song is easily the front-runner of the album. It’s about Logic preaching to God about the worrisome, alarming, and troubling things he bears witness to in his everyday life; this is shown through his lyrics, “I'm just sayin', God, I need to talk” and “It's been a long time, God, can you hit my line?” Logic raps in “Hit My Line” in a happy and bubbly tone which can be attributed to the level of happiness he feels in his life recently. Rather than acting as a contrast to some of the dark subject matter the song entails, the upbeat tone is actually Logic accepting all of those things and knowing he will make it out okay. Throughout the song, he evokes previous life experiences while also speaking about his life since fame. “Hit My Line” has a captivating melody that immediately draws the listener in and holds them tightly until the four minutes and 25 seconds are over. “Open Mic/Aquarius III” is about Logic’s rapping skills, family, and career. The lyrics, “Tryin' to be the greatest, that sh*t been dead/I'm trying to be the happiest that I can be instead/ I'm trying to get ahead like a fetus/ Money don't complete us, but it feed us, it can lead us to depression/ Being rich is not a blessing, fame is not a blessing” are part of a longer verse used on his single “OCD.” “OCD” didn’t make it to No Pressure, but implementing these lyrics still packs a punch that only his longtime fans will recognize. With Logic paying homage to Under Pressure on this album, "Aquarius III" uses the same sample that was used in the song “Under Pressure.” As noted previously, Logic is known for making references to his other songs, and in “Open Mic/Aquarius III” he references 2014’s “I’m Gone.” In “Open Mic/Aquarius III” he raps, “Living life like this is so crazy/Hip-hop is amazing/One day, you're on top and the next, they want to erase 'em/ Goddamn, what I'm facing,”and in “I’m Gone” he raps, “Living life like this is so crazy, this world is amazing/ One day you’re on top and the next she having your baby." “DadBod” is another standout. Logic opens up about his current life: being a new dad and a loving husband while also cultivating his rap career. This new life he has created is a complete 180 from his extremely difficult upbringing that he used to rap about in his early career. Throughout the song, he jokes about people wanting him to revert back to the way he used to rap. It’s refreshing to hear the artist’s points of view on how his life has changed, especially considering how drastically it has changed. In “DadBod” he makes reference to “Upgrade,” which is from his sophomore album The Incredible True Story. In both “DadBod” and “Upgrade” Logic raps, “I've upgraded while they waited, will they love it, will they hate it?” This lyric is recurring in his music because Logic has essentially “upgraded” his life. He is a totally different man and artist than he was when he started rapping. He’s asking if his fans will love or hate the new him. “DadBod” is one of the most telling and raw songs on the album. In “A2Z” Logic is teaching his son Little Bobby the alphabet. This is lyrically one of the most clever and witty songs Logic has ever released. The song begins with Logic asking his son, “You wanna learn your ABCs Little Bobby? Yeah? You wanna learn your ABCs? Yeah? Yeah, let's do it,” and then you can hear his son trying to formulate words to respond to him, but it comes out as babbling. Throughout the song, Logic raps the letter of the alphabet he is trying to teach his son as a lower pitched voice in the background repeats the letter. Having that voice in the background fuels the message Logic is simply trying to teach Little Bobby his ABCs. The second half of the song is Logic playing his demo from 2005. Incorporating his demo at the end adds to the song, because it shows how far his rap skills have developed and how vastly they have improved. Logic is playing as his most creative self with the concept of this song.

Open Topics

“Dark Place” is Logic’s most personal song to date. Logic discloses personal details about his mental health — specifically his depression and anxiety — discussing topics ranging from the amount of hate he receives online to inner struggles and worries that he may never climb over the pedestal his fans put his early music on. Overall, Logic confesses that sometimes people are sad, with no particular reason behind that sadness, and that’s okay. “Obediently Yours” is the closing song on No Pressure. It goes into the July 28, 1946, episode of the “Orson Welles Commentaries.” Logic raps, “This is Logic” for the first line of the song and for the rest of the song this sample plays over a low piano melody. This episode is related to a black veteran, Issac Woodard Jr.,  who was blinded and abused by a white police officer. With the Black Lives Matter movement being so prevalent, prominent, and crucial within our world, the audio used in this song drives the message home that there is still an immense amount of work that needs to be done in order for each person to really be equal. Top Tracks: Hit My Line DadBod Soul Food II Recommended if you like: J. Cole Kendrick Lamar Mac Miller
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