…But I’m Back Now. Sit the F*** Back Down.”
These are the opening lyrics of the title song from rapper Logic’s new album Everybody. In this instance, I thought they seemed fitting.
Before we get into it, let me just address the metaphorical elephant in the metaphorical room really quick: I haven’t posted a blog since May. I went from posting semi-regularly to literal radio silence for about 6 months. I promise that this was not intentional! Some really big things have happened to me since my last post, like really big, and I never found the time or the ability to gather my thoughts coherently. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to explain how it felt to travel across the world, or be stranded in New York City, or move away from my home and my family and friends to begin the rest of my life. But that day is not today. Today, I’m going to talk about something safe. Music.
For the last month or two, I’ve been listening to Logic’s new album. I proclaim myself to be a lover of all musical genres, but I confess that hip-hop is one category that I do not have much experience with. Aside from listening to Hamilton about 50 times, or learning all the words to Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us”, I haven’t really taken the time to listen to hip-hop. (Rap? Hip-hop? Where is the line? Is there a difference? See, I am a lay-person.) But the debut single from Logic’s album, “1-800-273-8255”, made me take a closer look. By the blessing of Apple Music I was able to download Everybody with a tap of my thumb, and I was blown away by what I heard.
Everybody is a concept album. That means that it has an overarching theme that connects all the tracks. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. I actually recognized the ‘concept’ of this album, which Logic confirmed in this video. Andy Weir, the author of The Martian, published a short story on the internet; Logic’s album’s frame story is quite similar. (Link the Andy Weir’s “The Egg” here.) To paraphrase: On his way home a man named Adam was hit by a car. He then wakes up in a white void, where he has a conversation with God. During this conversation it is revealed that Adam will be reincarnated, as he has been before and will continue to be, until he has lived as every single human life. Only then will he be able to move onto the next phase of existence. Almost every song off of Everybody is from the perspective of one of those lives in the 21st century, but specifically tracks 1, 9, and 13 deal with the story.
So already the album is pretty intriguing, yes? There is another aspect that makes Everybody an uncommon perspective. Logic’s real name is Sir Robert Bryson Hall II. Even though his skin color is fairly pale, his mother is white and his father was black. To quote his song “Take it Back”, Logic had the struggle of “identifying as black, looking as white”. He fit in nowhere but everywhere, he saw things from both sides. Because of this, his music reflects his unique opinions on modern-day conflict in the United States. Tracks 3 through 6 are realistic takes on issues like police brutality, identity crises, the apathy of social media, and the political state of America.
As far as the quality of the music itself, it’s top notch. Logic does not feel the need to play with beat fetishism or offensive rhetoric. He uses the instrumental as another tool to layer meaning in his songs. His songs are filled with orchestral melodies, as complex as his lyrics. His lyrics which are, in fact, poetic and deep. It isn’t just the words, it’s the way Logic delivers them. In August of this past year, Logic performed “1-800-273-8255” at the VMAs. At the end of his incredibly moving performance, Logic gave an impromptu speech about what he stands for and what this album means to him. It honestly gave me MLK vibes. It gave me the chills that you can only get when you’re watching a natural speaker. (Link to Logic’s performance and speech here.)
I could go on forever, but I’d rather you hear for yourself. Logic will be around for a long time to come, I think. His music has a powerful meaning and cultural relevance, one that doesn’t exist in mainstream music. I encourage everybody to go listen to Everybody.
“He always knew that the message, everybody / Was born equal regardless of race, religion, color, creed, and sexual / orientation”
“Take it Back”, Everybody