Bringing his interspersed Speedy Gonzales flurries and rap-centric homage to the past time greats, “No Pressure” marks Logic’s change of employment from musician to father.
Logic has more than a decade of output as a hip-hop preacher and pop chart creeper. Radio hits such as “1-800-273-8255” and appearances on film soundtracks like “Suicide Squad,” paired with two marriages and a recent birth, total his headliners in pop culture; Sir Robert Bryson Hall II has kept busy in and out of the rap game and is now starting his retirement with the raising of son Bobby and the dropping of a final record.
On “No Pressure,” Logic cares deeply for his genre’s history as well as his own Rattpack lore. Thalia, the “Midnight Marauders”-induced album narrator returns to explain the recording process.
“Logic cites Nujabes, MF Doom, RZA, and Kanye West as key inspirations behind his production style,” Thalia said in her robotic speech.
He also becomes self aware of his incessant family-based lyrics and even pokes at Chance the Rapper’s lambasted record, “The Big Day” and how much he loves his wife.
Executive production done by No I.D., a long-time collaborator with Kanye West and Jay-Z, “No Pressure” certainly breathes easy on its airy sample loops patterned with record-wear and soul drums. Reuses of Erykah Badu’s “Didn’t Cha Know” and Outkast’s “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” in the track “Man I Is” are a tribute to the neo-soul and hip-hop blend. While on “Amen,” an interpolation of Tyler, the Creator on piano is respect to current musically mature artists.
However, these loops alongside some additional production are hardly separated by breaks or tonal shifts, making the often four-or-five-minute tracks feel a tiny bit stretched. Logic’s rapid-fire spits try to make the time go faster, but that appeal cannot always counteract the repeating beats.
Logic’s known power lies in his storytelling ability. Whether speaking on the struggle or intergalactic happenings, the rapper pumps out more similes than a first-grade Houghton Mifflin textbook.
“I'ma show my gratitude, no attitude, no auto-tune like T-Pain/ Doin' Unplugged, I'm unplugged, like Trinity,” Logic says on “GP4” when he compares himself to the singer and The Matrix hacker.
Lyrics that fuse movie references (many to QuentinTarantino, Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio and Keanu Reeves) show a playful side to Logic and evoke the youthful spry seen in his early work.
The album opens and closes accompanied by dialogue from Orson Welles, one of the great modern orators, acts as a marker to the lyrical plethora Logic goes with his words.
Logic takes listeners Target shopping with little Bobby and dealing with fans on “DadBod” and departs to the stars on the second half of “Soul Food II,” as he weaves more tales of space travelers Thomas and Kai, a focus of past album “The Incredible True Story.”
Many songs, including “Celebration” to “Heard Em Say,” cover Logic’s rise to fame and newfound success, a common topic of his. With each passing record, the subject is more and more dwelled upon, but the same can be said for the whole scheme of rap albums.
He also briefly refers to police brutality and racism that has bubbled this summer with lines, “Shooting my shot like the police/ All on the block like the police, man, who gon' (Stop, stop)/ The police from leaving bodies in the motherfuckin' streets, man?”
The outro, “Obediently Yours” expounds more greatly on the matter. Consisting of a beat backdrop and Welles commentary from 1946 on race, the touching spoken words overshadow much of the end of Logic’s project.
No Pressure wraps as a gentle beast. Logic’s dedication to positive messages and rise to success can be overdone, but his undying love to hip-hop and its roots in exposition are enough to keep the album a fitting finale.