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No Pressure: A Review

Sir Robert Bryson Hall, aka Logic

Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, aka Logic, has undoubtedly had one of the most prolific, albeit controversial, careers in hip-hop throughout recent years. With his last three projects, Young Sinatra IV, Supermarket and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (COADM) receiving mostly negative criticism from the public, many had lost faith in the young rapper’s talent feeling that he had lost the substance that he was originally known for. With the announcement of No Pressure came the news that the Maryland rapper would be retiring from rap. While many of his fans, known as the RattPack, believed this to be another of the rapper’s trolls, news of a recent multi-million dollar deal with Twitch seemed to support his claims. Following the release of the album, the rapper was live on Twitch listening to the album and interacting with fans, providing context to certain tracks and further explaining his decision to retire while delivering an emotional Grammy speech to end off the stream. With his claims of retirement seemingly being genuine, I felt it was imperative to write a review for this album not only as a critic, but as a fan.

Logic and his son "Little Bobby"

No Pressure pulls inspiration in similar ways to Logic’s old mixtapes, being that he pays homage to different styles and artists while adding his own unique sound. GP4 shows his influence from Outkast by mimicking the vocal effects of Andre 3000 and the sampling of “Elevators (Me & You)” as well as Public Enemy’s “Shut ‘Em Down”. The lyricism and content of this album is a welcome return to the norm after the seemingly nonsensical lyricism featured predominately on COADM. Becoming a father has seemingly given Logic a new outlook on life and this is reflected in “DadBod” which hilariously chronicles the day in the life of a new dad in a Slim Shady-esque manner while also addressing some of his past criticisms.

Reverse side of No Pressure featuring Thalia

Other tracks like “Perfect” and “A2Z” are fun tracks to listen to that feature unique production and rapid-fire lyricism that draws parallels to the sounds on COADM which was well executed this time around. While I enjoy these tracks, they do feel somewhat out of place in an album that focuses more on substance but I believe these tracks do have a place on this album. Lastly, I have to mention the inclusion of Thalia, the robot voice featured at the end of most of the tracks on the album. For fans, this is a nice callback to Under Pressure, but I believe that most people outside of the RattPack will not receive her inclusion well, as it can be jarring at times as she presents facts about the album that really aren’t all that interesting or provide much extra context. I feel her inclusion could have been toned down or better utilized to flesh out the story behind The Incredible True Story.

Songs like “Soul Food II”, “man i is”, “Open Mic\\ Aquarius III” and “5 Hooks” all feature call backs to older albums and flows that emulate the rapper’s earlier sounds from his mixtape days. The nostalgia factor is high for those who have been with Logic throughout his rise as an MC and he knows this as the samples and lyrics have all been carefully and tediously put together to help chronicle Logic’s years in hip hop. Hall mentioned on his livestream that he wanted this album to culminate as a celebration of not only his life and career but the milestones his fanbase has helped him to achieve. “Celebration” is an obvious reference to this as he goes on to talk about his time before he became famous, his battle with criticism as he gained popularity and even referencing his future endeavor as a record label owner with the only (hidden) feature on the album being Silas from Bobby Boy Records. While I was overall not a fan of his verse, the content he brings was similar to a hungry Logic from the days of Under Pressure when his career was just beginning which helps to complement the song and theme of the album.

No I.D. executive produced No Pressure

The production on this album is the perfect send off for Logic. With No I.D. executive producing and longtime Logic collaborator 6ix working on the album, there was almost no chance that the production would come off as anything less than phenomenal. Before this album, the last time Logic and No I.D. had collaborated was back in the inception of Under Pressure in 2014. Because of the No I.D. influence the overall vibe of this album contains elements of jazz and boom bap that combine together to create a soundscape where Logic tends to perform at his best. This choice in sound mirrors that seen on Under Pressure and is an intentional choice to not only play off of nostalgia but also add some elements of Logic’s more recent sound. Logic is also credited as a producer on a majority of tracks, including “5 Hooks” where he created most of the beat on his MPC.

For me, what I define as a good album is:

(1) Replayability

(2) Having a track list that is coherent, catchy and has very few skippable tracks

(3) Something that left an impact on me as a listener

This album has managed to accomplish all of these things for me. Being a fan of Logic and watching his journey from the days of The Incredible True Story, discovering his old mixtapes and seeing his growth as an artist to the present day is an experience that only comes around once in a lifetime. After announcing this was his last album, at first, I felt sad that I most likely would never hear another new Logic song again. But then I realized that No Pressure is that best thing that could’ve happened for his career. Unlike many artists, Logic took the liberty to decide when his rap career ended and he managed to go out in his own way. This overall atmosphere of celebration that encapsulates this album is felt in every track as you can tell that Logic, for the first time in his life, is truly happy.

As a fan, I try my best to look at Logic with a neutral lens when it comes to being critical. While I absolutely love everything about this album from a fans perspective, I must try to put myself in the shoes of those who maybe don’t listen to Logic as much or maybe never even heard his music before this. It is because of this that I give No Pressure a 7/10.

Rating: 7/10- Great

Written by: Michael Miserendino

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