Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, known by the emcee name Logic, is a 25-year-old rapper from Gaithersburg, Maryland, with a versatile and playful approach to rhyme and an obsession with Frank Sinatra.
Like many rappers of the mixtape era, Logic rose to fame without a label, without management and without actually dropping an album. His first mixtape, 2010's Young, Broke, and Infamous, got people talking about him and his stubborn honesty reminiscent of Eminem.
But it was his next two mixtapes, 2011's Young Sinatra and 2012's Young Sinatra: Undeniable, that garnered the critical attention that would ultimately result in a XXL Freshman 2013 nod and a deal with Def Jam.
Now it's 2015 and Logic, having delivered his aptly-named Def Jam debut Under Pressure in October, is on an ambitious world tour that functions both as victory lap and as a continued argument for the young rapper's worthiness.
Interestingly enough, that's exactly how Under Pressure comes off: at once a mighty brag and a desperate plea for a seat at the table of rap's big wigs.
Under Pressure is a self-indulgent, insecure, cinematic and mostly successful album that chronicles Logic's journey as the product of a terrible upbringing filled with poverty, chaos, fear and alienation. The album's honest and often disturbing autobiographical content juxtaposes well with its lush, string-propelled and trap-thump-grounded production overseen by Grammy-winning producer No I.D. While it's true that, on songs like the Kendrick-aping "I'm Gone" he'd do well to remember that imitation is suicide, Logic's repertoire of delivery styles is on full display here. And it's a good thing too, because his technical virtuosity as a rapper is essentially cerebral and not particularly well suited to raw, emotional vocal inflection.
Under Pressure's highest points come on the soulful "Buried Alive," which finds Logic fretting over major label expectations and concluding that he's "Gonna rise even though [he's] been buried alive." The title track takes a merciless look at his past, using pieces of transcribed voicemails from family and spinning loosely related scenes of abuse, drug culture and the trappings of fame.
Logic feat. DJ Rhetorik, Michael Christmas
$20, 8pm Mon, Feb 23, Alamo City Music Hall, 698-2856, alamocitymusichall.com