On sci-fi concept album, Logic falls short with ideas

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Logic, the Maryland-bred MC and producer, has just released his second album, The Incredible True Story — dubbed lovingly as TITS — less than a year after the debut of his freshman LP, Under Pressure. TITS is a sci-fi based concept album that focuses on Quentin Thomas and William Kai, two space travelers who search for another planet for the human population, now reduced to a mere 5 million, to inhabit. Earth’s resources have long since been depleted, and as a result, the survivors have fled the planet and are currently living in a between-worlds limbo.

Although Logic is credited for the majority of his production of TITS, he also worked with fellow producer 6ix, and the pair’s preference and propensity for making complex instrumentations is shown best in the opening track, “Contact.” Its grandiose drum beats, sampled from Kanye’s “Amazing,” dramatic string melodies and subdued use of vocals are reminiscent of the overwhelming nature of the musical scores by Hans Zimmer, the composer of sci-fi film “Interstellar.”

In parts of TITS, Logic retains the smooth flow he demonstrated in his freshman LP, but he also shows a desire for stylistic experimentation — sometimes using a melodic delivery a la Drake and at other times channeling Good Kid M.A.A.D. City’s Kendrick.

In fact, Logic has previously been open about his incorporation of other rappers’ flows into his own. It’s not a new concept in the hip-hop industry. Logic, however, clumsily toes the line between homage and uninspired replication in TITS. Take the track “I Am The Greatest,” for example. The similarities in both flow and subject matter all but scream If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late-era Drake (who, funnily enough, has also been historically accused of flow-jacking). One is led to question the artistic worth and the replay value of the track.

Despite the criticisms of flow recycling, Logic has shown his growth as a lyricist in TITS. “City of Stars,” a track directed toward his love-hate relationship with hip-hop, highlights the development of his lyrical aptitude best, with powerful lines such as, “I didn’t talk about my race on the whole first album / But black versus white bullshit was still the outcome,” and, “I love hip-hop and I hate hip-hop / cause people that love Pac hope Drake get shot / Cause he raps about money and bitches, for goodness sake / Pac did the same shit, just on a drum break.”

To quote Claire Danes in the Netflix series “Master of None,” TITS, while conceptually ambitious, ultimately falls short. It fails to launch as the groundbreaking work that Logic foresaw it to be.

“You know this is the album that changed everything right?” asks Kai in the skit at the end of “Contact.” Truth be told, The Incredible True Story doesn’t change much. It’s a good album with several solid tracks — “Paradise,” “Innermission,” “City of Stars” — that are quite possibly the best songs Logic has released to date. Unfortunately, the album, when examined as a whole, lacks both the depth and innovation to warrant a status as anything more than just a good album.

 

Josh Gu covers video games. Contact him at [email protected].