As Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, the tenured entertainer with a long list of aliases — Young Sinatra, Bobby Tarantino and, most notably, Logic — concluded his July 23 Twitch livestream celebrating the release of his final album, Hall shared a tender moment as he spoke into the camera: “I can sit here and tell you from my heart I have never in my life put so much into any piece of art, any song, any project ever.”
Hall’s abrupt retirement from music arrived after a long hiatus from all social media platforms. The career rapper announced the release of his final album and official retirement with an Instagram post July 16.
“It’s been a great decade. Now it’s time to be a great father,” Hall posted.
On July 24, Hall, 30, released the sequel to his 2014 debut commercial album “Under Pressure.” Logic’s sixth full-length project — “No Pressure” — has been highly anticipated by fans since last August with the release of “No Pressure Freestyle” on Logic’s Youtube page. The freestyle features a hodgepodge of bars now scattered across the tracklist of Hall’s latest record and a final surprise announcement that he would soon be a father.
Hall’s short-lived career should come as no shock when looking at his history of dialogue with fans. Logic has been forthcoming on songs about his personal issues with depression, anxiety and deep frustrations with hip-hop culture, touring and fame.
“I had this mentality for a decade that ‘you’re still on your come up,’ and ‘you’re still grinding,’” Hall told Hardknock TV in an interview released shortly after the 2020 album. “It was this constant cycle of you’re not good enough, but my fans never sold me that.”
The Maryland native touches on this personal battle of self-worthlessness stemming from hip-hop social media on the heartfelt track “Dark Place.”
“It’s deeper than the surface / I’m searching for purpose / I’m tired of searching for Logic on Google on purpose / Just to read that I’m worthless.”
Hall discussed the story behind “Dark Place” on a Twitch livestream as the album debuted. “I wrote this thinking that no one would hear it,” Hall stated. “This is probably one of the deepest records I’ve ever written in my entire life.”
This outstandingly desolate track is only one of the many top-tier performances laid out on the new 60-minute project. In Logic’s final moment, fans witnessed a return to form for the diversely talented artist as Hall rediscovered his unique storytelling flow and boombap rhythm.
In the opening title track, Hall samples an Orson Welles narration that quickly transitions into a three-minute performance.
“I missed just rapping to rap,” Logic told HardknockTV. With this album he decided, “I’m just gonna spit, I’m just gonna rap.”
And the lyricist delivered on his promise with some of the most braggadocious yet clever bars of his career on tracks such as “Perfect” and “A2Z.” A lyrical highlight comes on the track “Celebration” — an interpolation of Kanye West’s “Celebration” from the 2005 album “Late Registration.”
“People denying my past like that shit is fictitious / I’m Spike Spiegel, but I’m known to be vicious / I get under people’s skin like stitches / No strings attached, I just let it dissolve.”
On this track and throughout the album, Hall doubles down on his lyrical mission by intentionally straying from hooks or choruses. Even the track’s title “5 Hooks” is a reference to the number of hooks featured on the 15-track project.
“If you don’t like rap shit, if you don’t like lyrics, if you don’t like storytelling, you will hate this album,” Logic warned HardknockTV.
But while the song structure seems to go against the grain of Logic’s past discography, the lyrical content and beat production makes several odes to his history. On the track “Soul Food II” — a sequel to the infamous 2014 “Soul Food” — the rapper revisits the same instrumental with an entirely different perspective.
“Conversations with people / Crazy how one day the legends forget that they’re equal,” he raps.
Along with this spinoff couplet, the artist alludes to his fictionalized universe that originated in the 2016 project “The Incredible True Story” and his highly discussed, unreleased “Ultra-85” project that has been anticipated since its first mention on his 2017 “Everybody” album. Additionally, the track “Dark Place” concludes with a vocal snippet from the same Alan Watts speech sampled in “The Incredible True Story.” While the reflectional nods to his past are, at times, subtle, the artist does an excellent job balancing nostalgia and a refreshing look forward both lyrically and sonically.
Hall emphasized that after the album was written in four studio sessions, according to a factoid delivered at the end of the track “Hit My Line,” important conversations with No I.D. — a credited executive producer on both “Under Pressure” and “No Pressure” —shaped the project into its final product.
“He’s like Yoda,” Logic said. “And that’s what people don’t understand. But that’s why I gave him sole credit.”
Not only does Logic take influence from his mentor, No I.D., on his ultimatum, but he boldly wears the influence of artists including Outkast, Erykah Badu and Drake on his sleeves productively. Tracks such as “GP4” and “man i is” blatantly repurpose the styles of Andre 300 and Badu, respectively.
While these performances flex the rapper’s versatility, the lack of stylistic adaptation goes beyond the line of paying respect to simply copying his biggest influences. Similarly, the drumline from “Hit My Line” and piano progression from “Amen” both sound suspiciously similar to elements from Tyler, The Creator’s critically acclaimed “Igor.”
Nonetheless, “No Pressure” delivers more refreshing hits than misses throughout the tracklist. Arguably the most distinctive track is an amusing look into Hall’s fatherhood lifestyle on “Dadbod.”
Logic shows his authentic disconnection from the internet as he spits: “I could tell you more about diapers than modern rappers in cyphers.”
The track shows a blissful, stress-free future for the artist as he worries more about paper towels than the paparazzi or media.
As for the future, Logic said this won’t be the end of his communication with fans. While the rapper said he will continue to shy away from social media platforms, Hall recently signed a seven-figure contract with Twitch — a platform most oftenly used for video game livestreaming — to interact with fans.
“I’m just a nerd. I love video games,” Logic told The Verge. “I’m blessed enough to have millions of fans and followers. So it is a great partnership.”
And while this may be Logic’s final album, Hall teased the idea of releasing the highly anticipated “Ultra-85” as a mixtape along with other music on his July 23 livestream.
Logic’s sixth and final full-length album “No Pressure” is streaming on Apple Music and Spotify now.