Logic’s career as a rapper has been marked by odd contrasts. At the moment, the Maryland rapper (Sir Robert Bryson Hall II) is more famous than he’s ever been before, but the general opinion of his music seems to be at an all-time low. Alongside this, both his fans and his haters seem to agree that his best work came from the first half of his discography: his mixtapes.
Logic decided not to ignore his critics, and the result of that decision is his new album, YSIV (Young Sinatra IV), a breath of fresh air for those who wanted to see him return to where everything started back in December of 2010.
The album starts off with an homage to Logic’s second studio album, The Incredible True Story, in the opening seconds of the intro track “Thank You (feat. Lucy Rose & The Rattpack).” The two main characters of that album say a few lines to introduce this new project, finishing off with “Let’s get back to this boom bap shit”, which had been Logic’s selling point throughout the months leading up to the album’s release.
The song continues with a verse and then a long section where Logic inserts voice recordings from fans who sent him messages or videos either thanking him or saying how much he inspired them. He did this back in one of his mixtapes, Young Sinatra: Undeniable, in a song called “World Wide,” and this section of “Thank You” was another homage of sorts.
Next, the album jumps to one of the best tracks on the tracklist, “Everybody Dies,” which utilizes a fun, brass-heavy intro sequence, and then segues into an instrumental filled with unique sampling and complemented by some high-speed lyrical prowess from Logic himself. He uses a few choice lines that diehard Logic fans will easily recognize from his older projects, as well as the classic “You are watching a master at work” sample that he has used so frequently in his Young Sinatra series.
The following song is “The Return,” which was the second single released for the album. Another vocal sample is used as the background melody for this track, and Logic’s flow is good, but not great. This was one of the more average songs in the record, not bad but not amazing.
Three songs later, the two best songs on the album, “Wu Tang Forever” and “100 Miles and Running,” play back to back. “Wu Tang Forever” features the entirety of the Wu Tang Clan and is one of the only times any rapper has managed to get the whole clan together on a song. The eight-minute song is just pure fun. Then, “100 Miles and Running” manages to somehow be even more fun than the previous track, using a very playful electric guitar-laden instrumental and featuring an impressive display of fast-rapping from Logic and the featured collaborator, Wale. The two emcees play off each other so well, and each of their flows complement the other’s from verse to verse. Logic concludes the song with a series of ridiculously rapid-fire rhymes that manage to be almost entirely incomprehensible but are still endlessly entertaining. This two-song section is easily the high point of the album.
The rest of the album contains a consistent aura of homage to Logic’s roots, with a sequel to the classic film-esque track “Street Dreams,” and the fourth installment of the Young Sinatra song series. At the end of the song, called “YSIV,” Logic spends a minute on a tribute to the late Mac Miller, who passed away from an overdose a few weeks ago. He talks about how he was inspired to create his famous “Young Sinatra” persona after he heard Mac’s song “Kool-Aid & Frozen Pizza,” which used the beat that would eventually become the recurring instrumental in the Young Sinatra series.
While most of this album is either above average or better, there are a few low points, namely the first single for the album, “One Day (feat. Ryan Tedder).” This particular track is riddled with corny lines and faux-inspirational lyrics, and it just comes off as too forced. But other than that and the slightly cheesy “The Adventures of Stoney Bob,” a sometimes fun, sometimes cringe-inducing weed anthem, the album is some of Logic’s best work.
It doesn’t quite encompass the vibe of his original old-school mixtapes, but YSIV answers the fans’ calls for a return to the boom-bap style that started Logic’s career and will certainly hold them over until his next record, which will most likely be called Ultra 85 and has been rumored to be his last studio album. If YSIV is only the prelude to that final project, then the rap community might be blessed with Logic’s best album ever when it drops sometime in the future.
Featured Image by Def Jam Records