2018, Music

YSIV (2018) by Logic

I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered a more alienating opening track to an album than “Thank You.” It’s possible that, when listening to noise music, I’ve heard an opening track meant to be more alienating but a) I like a lot of noise music and b) I likely new it was noise music before I started listening. I’m thinking that maybe the first time I heard the title track to 20 Jazz Funk Greats maybe I was put off or confused. But I don’t remember, as I heard it for the first time over 20 years ago and, well, I knew that Throbbing Gristle played “industrial” even if I didn’t know what I was in for. Anyway, I can’t think of anything at the moment more off-putting than “Thank You.”

“Thank You” is 7 minutes and 10 seconds long. It consists of him bragging about his past, talking about this track and how and why he wrote it, and then 3 minutes of messages from Logic’s fans telling him (Logic) how important he and his music are in their lives. (It feels like 5 minutes while you’re living through it.) Now, maybe Logic just has a phone number for these fans to call him at any time. But I suspect he set up this number and asked for fan messages deliberately for this project or this track. That, in and of itself, is so foreign to the way I think about art and fandom – it makes me feel old and confused. I wouldn’t call if I was a fan – maybe if I was younger, maybe – but I absolutely would never do anything like that as a musician. Is something like this art? I have a very expansive definition of art but I’m not sure creating a collage of postcards from your fans is art. If it is, it’s probably not very good art, most of the time. And “Thank You” is the aural equivalent of that. If you know anything about Logic or his music, and this is your first Logic album, as it is mine, this is just…completely befuddling. Is this supposed to make me want to listen to the rest of your record? If this album hadn’t been highly recommended by my cousin, I would have turned it off and never listened to another Logic album ever again. Is this a normal thing in hip hop? What is this?


This man is prolific. I count 20 albums and mixtapes in the last 15 years and that doesn’t include other groups and monikers he has. I generally think most people who are this prolific are just releasing every idea they have (or nearly every one of them). In the rock world, very few artists can pull off consistency releasing this much music. I do not know if it’s similar in hip hop, especially since so much of hip hop is assembled from preexisting samples. But one thing Logic seems to assume is a fairly high level of familiarity among his listeners with what he’s done in his career – he references his past an awful lot. And I just don’t have the context for that (and do not care). That feels, like, really insular. (And when it’s not, there are so many references to other rappers.) It’s very clear to me this record is for his fans, and not for people who don’t know him. I guess that’s something some artists do, but it’s something I find pretty confounding.

The fans don’t even seem to like it! Now, it doesn’t have a ton of reviews, but its average rating is not great. (Though it seems about average for a Logic album, which is weird. Is this guy hated by a lot of people, or something?)

The whole rest of the album, with maybe one exception, is better than “Thank You.” But that is an extremely low bar, obviously. And I’m not really in a position to tell you how good it is. I read that it’s nostalgia but I have no idea how much it’s nostalgia for earlier “Young Sinatra” or Logic records. I know the Wu Tang track reeks of nostalgia, obviously. And the production definitely reminds me of some ’90s east coast hip hop records, but I don’t know enough about any of that to really say.

I can say that “Thank “You” puts me in a terrible mood every time I listen to it and he spends the rest of the album trying to dig himself out of that hole, only he can’t help but rap about shit I don’t know or care about. He’s clearly a talented rapper in terms of his technique/flow, but he’s obsessed with his own history, the history of hip hop, and I can’t say that his lyrics connect with me very much. (That’s true of so many rappers though, it’s hardly his fault.) He’s meta, but in a way I can’t appreciate and which strikes me as self-indulgent. Something like “100 Miles and Running” is extremely impressive but its’ surrounded by stuff that isn’t, including tracks where he’s singing, which is not his skill (like most rappers).

“Last Call” is nowhere near as bad as “Thank You” – little is – but it’s still extraordinarily self-indulgent. Is the way I feel listening to “Last Cast” how people who hate prog rock feel about listening to an 11-minute track with too many solos? Anyway, the bookends on this album…they’re a lesson in, um, not book-ending your albums with your worst songs.

If Logic had an editor, and wouldn’t rap so much about his self, I bet he would be one of the great rappers of his generation. But man, does he ever need an editor.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.