“Let’s get back to this boom-bap shit.” One of the opening lines by frequent album narrator and voice actor, Steven Blum, gives us exactly what we’re supposed to expect from Logic’s fourth studio album, YSIV. The Baltimore rapper takes a break from creating sci-fi story he’s been expanding the past few albums to get back to the music his day one fans have loved him for, myself included.
When I was just beginning high school, Logic was getting his career started. The first Young Sinatra mixtape was released in 2011. Back when Datpiff was still active, I saw his mixtape trending and downloaded it. That was the beginning of the journey I took with him and instantly became a fan. I remember being ecstatic when he was revealed to be apart of the 2013 XXL Freshman Class. For me, I saw a nerd who just loved rap and I grasped onto that. To this day, I’ll always stick with him even if he releases something less than stellar.
Logic is one of the few artists to have an amazing year in the mainstream but be completely overlooked in terms of the cultural impact that he made. He was forsaken by rap fans to be solely in the “white rapper” category. When you really think about it, Logic is a rapper’s rapper. He has done his research, pays homage, comes from an area with hip-hop influence and presence, has technical rap skills, flows for days, and acknowledges his peers. But despite all of this, he has been written off as corny and “too positive”. It isn’t completely unbelievable, however. His last proper album, 2017’s Everybody, just wasn’t it, with some equating it to be the “all lives matter” of rap albums. Even if he gave messages of suicide prevention or mental disorders, the biracial talk made people turn their noses at him.
The comments kept coming and coming, and he got pissed. But from that anger, it didn’t turn into a Kamikaze, instead it turned into something greater. Logic fills his bars not with venom, but with passion. He turned back to the music that put him on. He’s flexing and he’s doing it at the highest level of rapper precision, shooting ‘3 for 3’ with each song. Even on the poppier, radio friendly songs like “One Day” and “Ordinary Day”, he still tries to fit in bars. And while people can try their best to look the other way, he does them well. But if you are listening just for the bars, those are the only “low points” of the album.
While some of the cuts on the album can be long, seven of the 14 tracks being five minutes or longer, they aren’t wasted. Whether it’s joining forces with a DMV staple (Wale providing a fire verse), thanking his fans, telling his story, or getting the Wu-Tang back together, they are all moments deserving of the time. The latter is especially a win for hip-hop. It’s been a good minute to have all the remaining members of Wu-Tang Clan (RIP ODB) on a track together. And boy, was it worth the hype! All the members get their due. Sharp as katanas, they shred. Logic by no means lost in the sauce, but they are the true stars.
Besides just being able to rap circles around the competition, Logic takes his storytelling pen to work. “Legacy” is the storytelling highlight. Told from three different perspectives about family, money, and how chasing one could lead to losing the other, Logic takes you for an emotional ride. It’s sad but it’s gripping. It’s moments like this that remind you how well rounded of a rapper he is, having multiple lanes he can go in. Logic just might be the most versatile and well equipped rapper in the mainstream with the level he does everything. As the album ends with his own “Last Call”, any longtime fan can’t help but get emotional at the hardships young Bobby went through and how they’ve paid off for him to be able to be at the level he’s at today.
Logic proves even if you don’t want him here, that he’s here to stay and deserving of the spot he has. He’s humble but unforgiving. Ready to prove at anytime that he has what it takes. And even if his head gets a little too big, he has his fans to bring him down. They humanize him and deflate that ego. He said he’s ready to bring us to the future with his next album and we might just be ready for him to take us there.