On the heels of the release of his third studio album, discussion of Logic’s creative influences thrives yet again. Derivative artistry is very real, and talks of it concerning Logic were apparent from his major label debut as illustrated in this 2014 Very Smart Brothas piece. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon of calling out the two-toned rapper for showcasing his fandom (did you hear “Everybody”? Definite Kendrick Lamar “I”/”Alright” flow) I’m offering another deviation, one that retells the story of Logic’s studio releases better than Logic himself.
As a brief aside, I’m hardly a creative writer. Truth be told during high school I had my much more creatively gifted sister draft an original play that involved a host of mythology, ranging from angels and death to prophetic symbolism that was miles better than anything I could have penned (the only “A” I got in my Literature class). Thus, in organizing this retelling of Logic’s work, plot holes, even more than those I anticipate will flourish. While I don’t think that Logic’s albums are always the most cohesive as a storytelling medium considering they dip into the imagination quite a bit (The Incredible True Story involved space travel, the likes of which humans haven’t yet accomplished, so I’m told), he does provide some substance in favor of my retelling, a composition that chronologically presents the story from Everybody to The Incredible True Story, and finishing with Under Pressure. Notably, as the end of Everybody foretells the fourth and final project in this tetralogy, only time will tell whether there is any merit to my musings. Additionally, I’ll focus more on the skits and scenes Logic orchestrates across these works, as he opens the floor for contradiction when reading into his music (Juicy J’s, “Kill yo Muthaf*ckin’ self” line on “Ink Blot” comes to mind on an album with a cut about suicide awareness). All things considered, let’s dive into my bastardization of the story of Logic.
Act I – Everybody
A fan of video games, anime, movies, and pop culture in general, Logic’s tunes are at times defined by his fandom. While his second studio album, The Incredible True Story is set as a space epic, the makings for such extraterrestrial exploration were set in motion on Everybody. The album begins with our protagonist, Atom, on his way home from work, when he is struck by a car and killed on impact. Upon awakening, he is greeted by a being, who we later understand to be God, or some rendition of Him, voiced by astrophysicist extraordinaire, Neil deGrasse Tyson. As Atom acquaints himself with the “waiting room” in which he converses with God, listeners are greeted with the title track that establishes the album’s overarching themes of equality and respect just as it earmarks one of the few tracks in which Logic doesn’t embody another being.
On Everybody, Logic speaks from shifting perspectives, including a suicidal individual and respective hotline receiver on “1-800-273-8255,” as well as different incarnations of himself, either in age (“Take it Back” speaks on his youth) or in mentality (“Ink Blot” features Logic as a misguided, materialistic rapper losing sight of his morals). This stylistic choice fits with Atom’s progression through the skits which see him realizing his relationship to the concept of “rebirth.” God tells Atom of His plan to reincarnate him across the infinitely looping time span of Atom’s universe. After some awe on Atom’s part, God reveals his intentions: to have Atom grow and mature to understand the “grand meaning” of existing as every human being that ever lived.
Presumably, the trial God presents to Atom is directly related to Atom’s eventual acceptance into Paradise, which in this retelling is the focus of the journey on The Incredible True Story. By the outro track, “AfricAryan,” Atom has seemingly lived through a number of reincarnations, finally encompassing the lives of all of humanity. God ends with the advice that humanity, “Live your life… Enjoy the days you have… live your life to the fullest, according to your happiness and the betterment of all.”
Act II – The Incredible True Story
With that knowledge in mind, Logic’s second album in my chronology carries the subtitle “…And the Transformation of the Man Who Saved the World.” Logic employs skits in a similar vein as he did on Everybody, this time dubbing them scenes to fit with the sci-fi film approach. TITS is the story of space pilot Thomas and his confidant Kai who are in seek of a new planet for humanity. Following the manmade destruction of earth, only five million people remain, all living in a space station, according to Thomas on “Babel (scene).” Accompanied by THALIA, the artificial intelligence aboard Thomas’ spaceship, the two embark on a journey that includes an unexpected encounter with failed a expedition that left Captain Christopher Smith and his crew dead, as well as Kai passing the time playing with a Rubik’s Cube and conversing with THALIA under the guise of Big Sean.
The biggest take away from TITS though, arrives on “Babel,” the scene during which Thomas and Kai begin to consider the possibility of creating Purgatory on the planet they hope will sustain human life. Why are Thomas and Kai seemingly the only survivors of the voyages seeking out Paradise? Their success (reliant mostly on the pilot Thomas) is due in part to having been born of the memories of Atom from Everybody, who learns the ills of humanity and seeks out Paradise as an incarnation of God.
Thomas never directly acknowledges his embodiment of Atom, rather, his perceptive understanding of society’s potential for ruin is exactly the growth and maturity God expected of Atom on Everybody. Just as God gave Atom a trial, Thomas is placed in command of the mission to take humans to Paradise and for him to ascend to a higher being. Further evidence for Thomas’ trial is apparent on “Lucidity (scene),” which has him detail the lost ability for human to consciously pursue their dreams, seemingly a holdover of the knowledge he gained as Atom. Of course, Thomas having any knowledge of his time as Atom would run counter to Atom’s loss of his past incarnations, though it can be reckoned that Thomas is a higher brand of human, graced with the perception and will of God, and thereby Atom.
Act III – Under Pressure
After reaching Paradise, THALIA informs Thomas and Kai of the vital signs. “Oxygen: 100%. Temperature is 17 degrees Celsius (62.6 Fahrenheit).” The duo interrupt THALIA to continue their discussion of Logic’s favorite movies, including his ever-present love of Quintin Tarantino films. Eventually they are startled by the sounds of birds chirping and wind blowing. “Life…,” THALIA declares; Thomas has successfully found planet Paradise for humanity to begin anew.
Where Under Pressure picks up is a bit farther in the future, at a point in which Logic’s work is revered by humanity. THALIA has been re-purposed from an A.I. companion of an interstellar voyage to a museum host, detailing the life and influences of Logic, the artist whose music was the soundtrack for the rebirth of humanity. The outro on “Growing Pains III” points to this epilogue, as she informs viewers of the exhibit that only an inkling of the Logic’s recorded material has been released, signaling more to come, namely in the form of his final project in the series.
Where Logic continues this story is anybody’s guess. My vote is for some sort of rendezvous where God, Thomas and Atom meet and reflect on the humanity again through the guise of Logic’s music. Regardless of its direction, Logic’s final project in the series is sure to amuse, and rustle jimmies, of listeners and critics alike.