Our Take: Logic Continues to Dazzle on Consistently Impressive ‘YSIV’

YSIV - Logic
YSIV - Logic

Josh's Take

YSIV, Logic’s fourth entry in the “Young Sinatra” series, may well be the best of the lot.

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Is Logic getting one step ahead of himself by declaring himself to be a “Young Frank Sinatra?”

Self-comparisons to the American legend run few and far between in hip-hop, and mostly come from Jay “I’m the new Sinatra” Z, who’s earned his bragging rights more than anybody in the history of the genre. But now Logic, the budding MC from Gaithersburg, Maryland, has labeled himself as such on three straight mixtapes. Now, for good measure, he’s thrown in a fourth album linking himself to Ol’ Blue Eyes, this one the first full-length of the bunch.

Who knows whether these songs will still be played endlessly at sports arenas the same way that “New York, New York” has proven to be such a rigid mainstay at Yankee Stadium for generations on end. But like Sinatra, even if not to the same degree, Logic sure has managed to establish a considerable fan base across the globe. That much is made clear by the opening track, “Thank You,” in which admirers call in from all sorts of countries — Israel, Taiwan, and Botswana among them — to express how “I fall more in love with your message, your music, and everything about you,” and other lines to that effect.

One imagines that many of these positive feelings are specifically in response to 1-800-273-8255,” the suicide prevention anthem that became Logic’s most visible hit to-date last year. Some of the lines of “Thank You” are sung to the same melody as that previous single, which more or less confirms that suspicion. Yet on top of providing the comfortable feeling that “life is worth it,” Logic has done a great deal to earn the admiration of the global hip-hop community.

YSIV - Logic
YSIV – Logic

Logic’s talent as an MC shines throughout YSIV, released 9/28/2018. Logic’s flow has always been a highlight of his records, and his nimbleness impresses again here, particularly on tracks like “100 Miles and Running” (the title only hints to just how crazy his speed-rapping gets on this song) and “ICONIC.” Coupled with that motor-mouthing are complex bars and meaningful rhymes about such topics as his biracial identity, his legacy in the rap game, and paying his dues to the late Mac Miller. YSIV also features plenty of hommages to Logic’s elders in the hip-hop game, be it through a lengthy sample of Nas’ Illmatic album or reminding his listeners that ““We can never forget Biggie and Young Shakur.” Old-school rap fans ought approve.

One obvious point of comparison between Logic and Frank Sinatra is how open both men are to vocal collaborations. Sinatra’s 59 studio albums were mostly piled up with guest artists, and many of the entries in Logic’s steadily-growing catalogue have followed suit thus far.

The most hyped-up of all of these collaborations has been “Wu Tang Forever,” which features a verse apiece from every surviving member of the storied hip-hop group. Achieving a full-scale Wu-reunion of that nature has been described as being as tough a challenge as acing the SATs or making Thom Yorke laugh,” so Logic deserves credit simply for pulling that off. But even more rewarding is the fact that this is eight minutes of compelling, fully-realized music. Despite all approaching age 50 and having largely embarked on solo careers, the members of the Wu-Tang Clan demonstrate chemistry and energy on this reunion track. Not unlike Biggie on “Notorious Thugs,” Logic opens the song with his own solid verse, before stepping aside and letting his guest crew work their magic.

“Wu-Tang Forever” is only one of several fiery hip-hop collaborations on YSIV. Kajo, Big Lenbo, and Slaydro all slip in seamlessly alongside Logic on “The Adventures of Stoney Bob,” while Wale supports his fellow DC-area native quite well on “100 Miles and Running.” The invited singers do their part as well: Hailee Steinfeld shines on “Ordinary Day,” while Ryan Tedder’s soaring chorus of optimism on “One Day” single-handedly turns this lead single into the record’s emotional crescendo.

You ever wonder what it means to make it by any means
And finally obtain your dreams
On the come up, but they run up in a world of many fiends
I been at it since a teen, get this money, get the cream
Hard work and sacrifice, but not a lot know what I mean
Most these rappers, ain’t got no class like bomb threats
And bein’ the illest, the disease, is the on set
And it don’t matter where you at
If you white or if you black
If you rich, or you poor, we gon’ always want more
But one thing I can be sure, as long as I got the floor
I’m ‘gon use this power to paint a picture of unity
Yeah I’m rippin’ it up with that energy like there’s two of me
Fuck the lights and the cameras, right now it’s just you and me

By the time the “thank you to all” track comes along on The College Dropout nod, “Last Call,” hip-hop fans should be ready to say “thank you back” for the thoroughly enjoyable new record one of the game’s most promising young stars has just served them. Whatever one may make of the Frank Sinatra comparisons, it’s clear that Logic shares much of his idol’s charm, charisma, and musical versatility. And in those regards, it’s safe to say that Sinatra gon’ reign supreme.”

:: stream/purchase YSIV here ::

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