Bo-Tones: A Christopher’s Guide to Music
THE RUNDOWN: LOGIC, Maryland white rapper known for fluidic, tempo flipping, tricky flows and crazy concept mixtapes. The Incredible True Story is his Sophomore Feature-Length Album.
EXAMPLE TRACK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uf7nGBJOR9I&index=4&list=RDO601PVTd0g8 (Warning: Some Mature Language)
Space is commonly known as the final frontier. But what happens as man loses his homestead? In the distant future, there are only 5,000,000 human beings left upon a space station, as we have wasted all resources on earth, leaving us with the less-creative life of fueling the flame of human survival. This means designated jobs. No more are the days of choosing an occupation. Our goal is to find a replacement Earth, nicknamed Paradise. This of course, means a loss of creativity: There is no time to make new movies, new literature, and, of course, new music. All people aboard the is station are forced into looking back upon the days of creative yore for entertainment while all the possibly talented artists have to aid the station in survival. All mankind has in terms of art is what has already been made — Tarantino films, Breaking Bad reruns, and other modern-day art forms are hailed as part of the pantheon of artistic classics that all are well-versed in. So it comes to the listener as a shock to be onboard a spaceship in the future at the end of the introduction track of The Incredible True Story and find themselves listening to “The Oldies” alongside Captain Quentin Thomas and William Kai. Listeners join them on their fictional journey inside the Aquarius 3, thus doing more than listening to a rap album. They find themselves jamming out to the playlist of two friends on a sort of Interstellar road trip to search for the next home for humanity.
Pretty rad, right? Logic has set up quite the concept-album here. The skits that have found their way onto many recent hip-hop albums — To Pimp a Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar. Cherry Bomb, Tyler the Creator — and albums in general actually work very well and are cohesive with the music, as they allow us to imagine ourselves listening to this album far in the future. We can listen to this album in a time when people look upon Logic as he wishes to be seen: “One of the greats.” He wants us to listen to this album in the future as we would listen to a Led Zeppelin album with our parents on a long summer car ride to the beach, talking about him as a legend of a bygone era of music. However, while there are a lot of highs on this album — some of which include these wonderfully moving, often-times humorous skits — there are a few flaws in which The Incredible True Story might not exactly be remembered as the “One That Changed Everything” as it is referred to in the aforementioned intro track “Contact.” While quite a listenable and enjoyable album, I do not think the work as a whole will be remembered, and I fear this beautiful fresh beam of light from a distant habitable sun might be lost behind the light of other recent Stars like Kendrick, J.Cole and Drake.
Some of my favorite Logic songs have come from this album, and yet some tracks seems to feel stale and uninspired. On one hand, you have more vocal-heavy, deep, and bold slow-jams like “City of Stars,” with its deep choral harmony nuanced by an ambient echo and fluidic synths. The piece moves like a steady, slow stream a mile high. The second the beat drops, you’re hit with a massive wall of sound that makes for something you would actually find in a space epic movie, rolling with the theme of the work. On the other hand, you have a track much like “Run It,” which sounds like Logic is attempting to emulate the nuances and stylings of other A-listers of our time. Especially noticeable here is his pandering to Kendrick Lamar’s signature inflections on certain words, like suitcase. I don’t want to hear him try to be someone else; I want to hear more of what Logic can do with his own signature speedy raps and constant switching of flows. When the beat on the same hook shifts and Logic completely changes the vibe of a tune, like he shows us he is capable of doing, it is simply flooring how much lyrical power he possesses.
Another facet I really enjoy about Logic is the diverse subject matter he covers. Albeit, they are somewhat newer takes on your normal rap steez; Being the Greatest (Young Jesus) is performed with a beat that harkens back to the types of instrumentals you’d expect on some old Tribe, Wu-Tang, or even some Cypress Hill tracks. While his lyrics aren’t always the deepest, especially on this track in the album, it had to be one of the fresher takes on this kind of subject matter I’ve heard in awhile. However, we already knew he could do a lot of this with his mixtapes and his album prior — Under Pressure.
Honestly, this is where the problem lies: yes, while his beats were unique at times — my personal favorite track on the album, Fade Away, has a particularly catchy and unique instrumental — I feel like there are a few tracks on this record where it is lacking and somewhat weak because Logic wants to be like current A-List Rappers as he enters the mainstream. In other words, it’s the tracks where he tries to be like someone else that keeps this record from reaching it’s full potential, which, if reached, would actually make him more like those artists he tries to emulate. While there are five or six individual songs that are absolutely fantastic, some of the duller, less unique tracks add a little drag to the otherwise lightspeed spaceship that is The Incredible True Story. It makes for an album I expected from Logic, not something that overall blew me away. This isn’t a bad thing, obviously. I mean all in all, the album has some fantastic moments: the diversity of beats from head-bangers to slow jams, and the subject matter ranging from the overused to the unique, like the concept of why we need to keep creating new art via well executed skits and track placement. However, there is an occasional feeling a listener can’t shake off that they’ve heard something way too close to this before. So while this record is really enjoyable, it has its occasional flaw. Perhaps Logic hasn’t found Paradise, but his growth in these right directions shows that he is well on his way.
The Bo-Tones Scale of Bad To Rad
- Bad– Nickelback performing an acoustic cover at your grandma’s funeral.
- Agony– Huh. Didn’t know a song could Make someone’s ears bleed like that.
- Sad– Disappointment in the audible form.
- Negative Steez– Not the worst, But certainly not on my saved music.
- Meh.- It is definitely Music that I am certain of.
- Positive Steez– Not the Best, but If a friend put it on in the car, I wouldn’t mind.
- Aight– Hey! Not too shabby.
- Good– I’d recommend it
- Schweet– One you would “Listen-on-repeat-till-you’re-sick-of-it” to.
- Rad– Damn! These lyrics were handed down from God himself. The Instrumentals caused me to grasp the concept of the infinite. Vocals that mortal man cannot emulate. Serve with a Dr. Pepper and obtain Musical Nirvana.
THE INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY, FINAL VERDICT?: 8
(Copyright 2015 Chris Bottone)