Logic makes the most of his supposed final album ‘No Pressure’ by bringing his A-game as an MC and honoring his family and industry peers who have helped to make his career what it’s been.
So maybe “I’m taking some time off music to spend time with my son” would have been a more reliable— albeit less commercially viable— declaration on behalf of Sir Logic than “This is the absolutely the last record I’m ever going to release in my life.” But no matter what will transpire in the years to come, No Pressure (July 24 via Def Jam) plays like a statement by a man who’s lived his life thoroughly devoted to hip-hop and now is able to celebrate his proud relationship to the genre to the fullest.
Stream: ‘No Pressure’ – Logic
Robert Bryson Hall has been amazingly prolific this past decade, releasing an LP almost annually since his 2014 debut, Under Pressure, and putting out a substantial stash of mixtapes on top of all that. His panoramic knowledge of hip-hop old and new seeps through his entire discography, and No Pressure maintains that standard. Like the Hamilton soundtrack, this is an album that’s fun to listen to while keeping an ear out for flights of phrase that have been lifted from various classic rap songs.
OutKast are among the most prominent honorees here— their ‘90s hits “Elevators (Me & You)” and “SpottieOttieDopalicious” are heavily interpolated on “GP4” and “Man I Is,” respectively. More contemporary rappers like Drake and J. Cole are referenced as well — Logic echoes the former’s “started from the bottom” reasoning, and also directly quotes “Too Deep for the Intro” by the latter: “If they don’t know your dreams, then they can’t shoot them down.”
At the end of the day, though, Kanye West may just be the rapper who’s shown the most love here. Logic has never hidden his admiration for West, and the list of Kanye songs that get quoted on No Pressure is, as they say in France, longue comme une journée sans pain— “Celebration,” “Diamonds From Sierra Leone,” “Good Life,” “Who Gon Stop Me” and “Barry Bonds,” among many others. It also can’t be a coincidence that, for his “final” record and the first time since ‘14, Logic has chosen to reunite with No I.D., the Chicago producer who provided invaluable assistance to both him and West in their early careers.
On top of celebrating hip-hop history, No Pressure finds its author re-examining the path of his own career in the industry. Plenty of moving stories from his time as an M.C. are detailed here; on “Soul Food II,” he thinks back to his early days— “2012, dreamin’ I’m a freshman on XXL. 2013, I’m on the cover”— while also returning to the outer-space scenario first presented on his 2015 album, The Incredible True Story.
More perspective on his life as a recording artist comes on “DadBod,” on which he recounts the pros and cons of having to be in the road as regularly as he has been. “The most exciting part of my life is probably touring,” he confides. “Don’t get me wrong, I love fans in every single city— but hotels suck, and the Internet is shitty.” Meanwhile, Logic throws out a handful of the boasts that he feels entitled to at the end of his long and successful career— as “5 Hooks” puts it, “Let’s take a trip down memory lane: Logic arrived and he fucked up the game, simple and plain.”
Logic is a little less loose-of-the-tongue when he describes his recent family history, another one of the central themes on No Pressure. “I promise when I have a family, I’ma be there for them,” he vows on “Man I Is,” and he makes good on that promise by following through on his wife’s demands, via text, that “You gotta get home and feed your son,” received while he’s out driving on the US Route 101. Little Bobby, whose birth has apparently inspired his dad to wrap up his recording career, is now the focus of Logic’s everyday efforts, inasmuch as he’s now at the point where “I could tell you more about diapers than modern rappers in cyphers.” All of this is a lot of personal information to share, but Logic wants his real self to be fully appreciated. “I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for what I’m not,” he makes clear.
So sure, it’s ultimately unlikely that we’ve heard the very last of Logic on No Pressure.
But the album has certainly been crafted under the impression that Logic’s career is finally coming to a close, and now is the time to rejoice all that he’s accomplished and everybody that has guided him along the way. That much renders No Pressure a highly enjoyable and emotional release from the Maryland M.C., whom it’s been a pleasure to see active in the hip-hop biz throughout these last ten-odd years.
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No Pressure – Logic