Logic: YSIV Album Review

Story posted October 4, 2018 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Zach Hall

Logic has been consistent with his yearly releases (Some only a few months apart), and the Fall of 2018 is no different. Off the heels of his last release Bobby Tarantino II and a very public divorce with his wife Jessica Andrea, YSIV is Logic’s newest album, the fourth and final installment to his Young Sinatra series. This newest release is a love letter to the fans that have stuck around with him since his early days, as well as a way for Logic to touch on some personal topics regarding his rising success. What results is an album that is unapologetically intended for his fans, while throwing a few songs to excite even the newest of Logic fans. While a good amount of YSIV is enjoyable, it is bogged down by the same issues plaguing his last few albums.

If Logic’s teaser “bringing boom-bap back for the Rat-pack” leading up the album didn’t convince people who this album was intended for, the first song on the project solidifies it. On the opening track “Thank You” Logic raps a heartfelt thank you to all the fans that have stuck with him since day one, featuring a ton of recorded voicemails from his fans telling him how much he and his music means to them. While this is a nice sentiment for his fans and a great theme for the opening, these voicemails take up the majority of a song that's just a little over seven minutes. This was a problem Logic had on his Everybody album, where a good portion of the songs on the project featured long-winded monologues from Logic that stretched on a bit too long. Fortunately, Logic doesn’t have this problem on YSIV aside from the opener and the closing track “Last Call.” The rest of the album sees Logic rapping about his newfound success and wealth, the grind that took place before all this new success and how his fans helped him along the way, as well as thoughts on his legacy and his recent divorce with Jessica Andrea.

On one side, you have the tracks that are meant for Logic to flex his new wealth and success and double down on his hard-working mentality. There isn’t much substance in these tracks and permeate a little too much of the album, making it sound a bit like his last project Bobby Tarantino II, as well as many of his older projects before his debut Under Pressure. However, while these tracks may run thematically thin on occasion, mainly tracks like “Everybody Dies,” ICONIC,” and “One Day,” Logic’s flow and delivery is still stellar if a bit stale sometimes. The rest of the tracks on the album focus on his love for his fans and his rise to success, which is a topic that Logic is no stranger to. What hurts YSIV the most is its lack of originality, especially being compared to Logic’s previous albums. At this point in his career, Logic has touched on all of these topics extensively, making the majority of YSIV a rehash of previous themes. YSIV succeeds when Logic breaks away from these common topics and gets personal. The track “Street Dreams II” features a story about Logic’s wife getting kidnapped and his quest to get her back, only to realize in the end that it was he that kidnapped his wife and that it was a dream on the tour bus. “Street Dreams II” sees Logic return to a storytelling format, a format that has seen some of is best songs such as “Nicki” and “Gang Related.” “Legacy” also features logic in his storytelling bag, speaking of a man who worked too hard and pushed his family away in the process. While the man in the song is not Logic, a direct correlation to Logic’s life, legacy, and recent divorce are heavily implied. Tracks like these where Logic moves away from his typical subject matter to get personal and introspective serve as the highpoints on YSIV, and something that Logic should explore further on upcoming projects. 

While Logic’s themes can get a bit stale, it’s undeniable that his talent as a rapper has only improved over time. There are several intricate and impressive flows throughout the album that show Logic has been steadily improving with each new release, even if his subject matter hasn’t evolved with it. Along with this, what makes YSIV so enjoyable to listen to despite all of its thematic issues is the production. What Logic lacks in the subject matter he makes up for in personality, delivery, and a handful of boom-bap style beats that compliments Logic’s style well. This style of instrumental was integral to the early days of Logics career, prompting him to “bring the boom-bap back for the Rat-pack,” an obvious nod to his core fans begging him to bring back his Young Sinatra persona. Tracks like “The Return,” “Wu-Tang Forever,” and “100 Miles Running” feature some of the best boom-bap instrumentals on the album, even if Wu-Tang Forever (Featuring the entirety of theWu-Tang Clan) can get a bit stale by the end. Instrumentally, YSIV features a healthy mix of slow and fast beats, both introspective and free-spirited, all tied nicely together in a boom-bap style knot. A combination of the instrumentals and Logic’s excellent flow and delivery make for the best parts of the album and makes the majority of YSIV and enjoyable listen, despite its thematic issues.

YSIV is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, you have an album that is held back by its paper-thin themes that have been prominent on many of Logic’s past albums. On the other hand, you have an album that is filled to the brim with excellent flows, infective charisma, a DIY mentality that is hard to deny, as well as a treasure trove of enjoyable and varied instrumentals that make most songs a joy to listen to. Somehow, Logic is both noticeably improving himself with each new release, while at the same time sticking to conventions and themes that hold him back from becoming something more. YSIV is clearly aimed at his core fans, and there is no doubt that they are going to enjoy it. As for everyone else, YSIV is an enjoyable listen from start to finish, but isn’t worth revisiting more than once or twice. If Logic can make an album not dominated by his typical thematic trappings all while continuing to improve his flow and delivery, he has the potential to drop his best album to date. Here’s hoping Logic’s next album, Ultra 85, will do just that.

Rating: 7/10 

 

Zach Hall is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email zth5043@psu.edu.