Logic isn’t nearly as bad as people say. Social media clowns him for his rapping skill, copying flows, possessing a catalog with way more hits than misses and only rapping about being bi-racial. Let the internet tell the tale and Logic has never been good. Obviously, this argument can be put to rest within two minutes of listening to any of his seven major label projects or countless mixtapes (18 projects over 10 years to be exact).
Though his credibility and durability as a rapper is true in the streets, Twitter believes Logic hasn’t been able to shake this try-hard, culture vulture persona for much of his career. So how does a recently record label-free Bobby Tarantino deal with the years of Internet slander? By going back to his Maryland roots and releasing one of his best projects in years, College Park.
College Park’s overall narrative has similarities to Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, mAAd city. It takes place early in the rappers’ formative years, driving around in a car with friends, following the same “one-day-storyline” as Kendrick’s opus. But, instead, Logic isn’t out here looking for Sherane or committing peer pressured break-and-entries. He’s driving from College Park, Maryland to D.C. to perform at a sold out 150 person show. Although this is a structural spitting image of GKMC, Logic does it justice – putting his own spin on the movie-like album.
But unlike GKMC, College Park struggles a bit before finding its footing. Album intro “Cruisin’ Through The Universe” is an abstract cut that starts with a long guitar-laden hum and finishes with a spacey RZA feature that should’ve been saved for another project. An odd choice for such a narrative driven album. Then, next track “Wake Up” is a solid foray into the 24 hour world Logic is about to bring listeners in. Logic touches on his origin story and the process of “waking up” to achieve his rap dreams.
Songs like “Lightsabers” and “Insipio” exist perfectly alone on a playlist as well as this album’s proverbial screenplay. Where it differs the most from GKMC though is the skits. They’re mostly too literal and some of the voice acting by his crew borders on cringey. Logic’s never been good at skits, (The Incredible True Story being a chief offender on an otherwise ok album) so the momentum this album builds falls off everytime Bobby wants to be Tarrantino. The gas station stick up skit on “Paradise II” is just too ridiculous to be passable; a guaranteed skip.
Other than the aforementioned “Cruisin’ Through The Universe”, every beat on College Park delivers. “Playwright” sounds like it’s built straight from a Large Professor handbook. The bouncy boom bap drums and ambient melody is like chicken soup for the Hip Hop head’s soul. Gears get shifted on “Gaithersburg Freestyle” with Logic rapping ferociously over a speaker distorting crunk era beat. He gets lyrical assists from his Chevy Impala passengers C Dot Castro, Big Lenbo, ADE and even Fat Trel, making the song sound like cruising on the beltway during rush hour traffic.
Towards the end of the album’s Hip Hop heavy journey, Logic adds in one song too many that sticks out like an experimental sore thumb. “Highlife” is a sparkly, Auto-Tuned sing-a-long that doesn’t have anything to do with the plot of the album. It has no contextual skits, no real references to College Park and most detrimentally, it’s a bad song where Logic’s karaoke crooning sounds more like your drunk uncle at Thanksgiving than a real artist.
“Lightyear” serves as the album’s closing track and metaphorical end credits. 6ix, PosT and Kal Banx serve up a multi-layered boom-bap beat with intricate little accents and modifications that Logic effortlessly glides over. Though no rapper ever retires this song hints that this could very well be Logic’s last album (though we’ve heard this claim before). With lines like “to the fans that ain’t need me to spell all this shit out/Thank you for riding with me beyond a reasonable doubt/Logic out”. That’s before 6ix switches the beat and Logic drops back in for his own rendition of Kendrick’s “Rigamortis”; a near impossible beat to rap well over. Logic handles it with ease.
College Park is the most free, fun and formidable Logic has sounded in years. It would be safe to assume the Internet has already made up its mind on the album and unfortunately Logic’s perceived corniness can’t be shaken with one solid outing. But with bars, beats and a positive belief system as strong as Logic’s its hard to deny the joy ride.