Sir Robert Bryson Hall II probably isn’t a name you’re immediately familiar with. But if I tell you that Sir Robert Bryson Hall II is better known as the rapper Logic, well, then things might start clicking into place.
Logic was raised by drug-addicted parents and surrounded by siblings who sold drugs while he grew up Gaithersburg, Maryland. After being expelled from high school, Logic turned to music as a way to escape and to immerse himself in what he loved most.
He quickly put out seven mixtapes, starting in 2009. But Logic is best known for his chart-topping colalboration with Khalid and Alessia Cara on “1-800-273-8255,” a song that highlights the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and reaches out to those struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts.
On top of his multiple mixtapes, he also has five studio albums, his latest being Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Sixteen explicit tracks long, this album examines the correlation between depression and social media. But it also deals with the rapper’s casual marijuana use and his sexual exploits, as well as the reality that he believes he’s “made it” as an artist.
Logic critiques social media and some aspects of internet life in a couple of songs. “Clickbait,” for example, takes a shot at how the media manipulatively uses tragedy to generate online traffic. That song also says of a young rapper’s untimely death, “R.I.P., Lil Peep, let that young man sleep/Let that young man death teach/The youth, the streets, to beat addiction.”
Similarly, “Wannabe” speaks to the vain pursuit of fame on the internet and the insecurities that inevitably follow. Though it’s drenched in harsh profanities, that song nevertheless acknowledges how some people respond self-destructively (slipping into depression and even considering suicide) if enough people don’t “like” their social media posts.
“Cocaine” might sound like the title of a song that glorifies drug use. But in fact, it’s doing the exact opposite. Logic raps, “I don’t wanna glorify it, but the streets glorify it.” (That said, it’s clear elsewhere that Logic smokes marijuana and seems to put that drug in a different category.)
Logic encourages thriftiness on “Mama/Show Love”: “Save yo’ money, don’t think about a Beamer/’Til ya sellin’ out arenas, and you’re ballin’.” And on “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” he adds, “Don’t worry about how to maintain all your millions/Just spread that positivity for the children.”
“Don’t Be Afraid to Be Different,” featuring Will Smith, is about as straightforward as a song can be. Both Logic and Smith want people to know that it’s OK to be yourself: “Don’t be afraid to be different ya’ll,” they tell us.
Logic claims that he respects women, and certain songs mildly back up that claim, but …
… he’s definitely not consistent in this area, with other songs descending into crude objectification of women. Numerous, graphic sexual references show up on tracks such as “Cocaine,” “Mama/Show Love,” “clickbait,” “Lost in Translation,” “BOBBY,” “COMMANDO” (“Michael Jackson on these hoes, you know I keep that glove”) and others. Among other things, Logic uses the f-word in a sexual context, and he brags about not using a condom.
In addition to crude sexual references, Logic flexes a lot here, letting everyone know that he is the best on songs such as “Keanu Reeves,” “Lost in Translation,” “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” “Mama/Show Love,” “Limitless,” “Still Ballin’,” “COMMANDO,” “Pardon My Ego,” “Out of Sight,” “BOBBY” and “Icy.” In “Keanu Reeves,” he brags: “Can’t no one compete, I’m spectacular.” And in “Icy,” we hear, “I’m a bad m—–f—er (I’m icy)”.
Violent imagery is prevalent as Logic expresses his desire to beat everybody else in the rap business. And even though he’s generally critiquing the issues of suicide and self-harm on “clickbait,” “Wannabe,” “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” and “Out Of Sight,” some references to those subjects could mistakenly be heard as glorifying them.
On “Homicide,” Logic pairs up with Eminem to say, “Bobby feelin’ villainous, he killin’ this/I’m comin’ for your man and his lady and even the baby.” There’s also a sarcastic reference to abortion on “Mama/Show Love.”
Sympathetic references to smoking marijuana (“Wonder why I smoke dope, no wonder why, I can’t cope”) and drinking (“All this potion that I’m sippin’”) turn up on “Lost in Translation” and elsewhere. One song, “COMMANDO,” brags about having a drug dealer who supplies “weed for the month.” “Cocaine,” and “clickbait,” while they don’t glorify drugs, still namecheck cocaine, as well as Molly and Percocet.
All 16 tracks include profanity that ranges from mild to heavy. F- and s-words are heard repeatedly, and other frequent expletives include “b–ch,” “h—,” “d–n,” “d–mit,” “p—y” and “n-gga.” Elsewhere, “hoe” and “fag” are heard once or twice.
In a YouTube interview with Brian Foster, Logic gets candid about his life, his views on social media and his craft.
He dips into what it was like growing up in a broken home and then jumps to his struggles with anxiety and depression, and their relationship to the internet. “Every single time I got on social media, I was sad,” he says. So what did he do? He cut social media out of his life and now only uses it for work purposes. Smart.
And that’s the thing, in many ways Logic is smart. This guy, as an artist and an individual, often seems genuine, kind and intelligent. His music can be thoughtful, deep and intellectually provocative.
Logic also frequently wades into troublesome waters. Profane language and sexual references lace most of his songs, as do allusions to Logic’s obvious affection for marijuana. Cocaine may be out, but the same critical logic doesn’t apply to weed, which the rapper clearly considers no big deal.
A review of this album from Variety sums it up well: Yes, there are some nice moments here, “but you do have to sift through the silt to get to the gold.” And even when you find those golden nuggets, they might not be as shiny as you’d like.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).