Logic – Welcome To Forever – The STiXXclusive Review

            From Young, Broke, and Infamous, it was Undeniable that Young Sinatra would be recognized by the limelight and appreciated for the style that he brings to a mainstream Hip Hop culture that has been tainted and over-saturated for far too long, but given the fact that many continue to doubt him as an artist, question his ethnicity, and think that people only think he’s good because he raps primarily in ‘Double time’; how can you explain being a Def Jam signee, and a 2013 XXL Freshman? I’d say to those people who question Logic should have to question their own first.  He has definitely blown up in the one year (almost exactly one year) since I was introduced to his music, and it’s really to no surprise: a massive fan base, and songs that relate to a young but growing generation to not only white, but also black people (since he is both). There’s no denying that Logic will be a success, the question is only for how long, and now that he’s signed, will he change himself for the better or for the worse? With all that being said, music is what Logic wants to do forever, and playing as a gracious host, we are humbly welcomed to it.

Welcome To Forever

            Obviously when a rapper gets signed, the subject matter switches up a little because they’re getting paid, and that’s evident when a rapper starts rapping about money – that tends to scare a lot of fans, because you think it’s just going to be all about bragging about what you have now, as opposed to talking about the struggle stories that helped them get there. I’ll never forget what a friend of mine (Jamz) said: “You think if I had X amount of dollars, I’m gonna still live like I’m broke? For what?” The same rule applies to essentially everything in life, and Logic reiterates and reassures that nothing changes but the bank account (that’s how it begins) but on the Welcome To Forever intro, he address not only that, but also what I mentioned in the beginning as far when it comes to his race (or bi-race):

Aight, I guess we back again
With another verse of about how much I’m black again
You don’t like it, blame God for my packaging
Bringing up my race, don’t call me a white rapper then
Damn, they judging me by my skin tone
Instead of my talent, man these motherfuckers been wrong

The way he rhymed it reminded me of Kanye’s line in ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’:

Always said if I rapped I’d say somethin’ significant
But now I’m rappin’ ’bout money, hoes, and rims again

I like the way how the beginning of this mixtape is a play on the beginning of Undeniable with the track ‘Inception’, because he’s saying “This is real life” all throughout the song, and in Inception, if you follow the movie, it was about how do you know what separates dream from reality. I guess he woke up from his dream and discovered that in fact, it is a reality that he gets to live his dream now. If you’ve been listening to Logic for a while, or you’re a new fan, you’ll appreciate the fact that he does push the point of positivity in his lyrics and promoting people to follow their dreams since he’s a living example of one as he raps it to you.

Right off the bat, 925 gave the mixtape that bounce that he didn’t have much of from his previous mixtapes as he often just used industry beats to rap over (you have to start somewhere right?). Carrying on from his emphasis of being in the real world and following your dreams, what better way to say it than “Fuck a 9 to 5” job, but adding a bit of bounce to it? He’s good with his melodies which rise a lot of Drake comparisons in his case (along with being biracial as well), and almost every song he puts out can be radio material to say the least. The beat itself sounded very Boi1da/T-Minus inspired as well, but that’s a common sound that many have been duplicating for the past few years, but adding in the audio blips here and there is was adds personality to Logic’s music – that’s what separates him from others.

Roll Call was a track that Logic had released before the mixtape, and rhyming over Outkast’s ‘Ms. Jackson’ beat was something that many Hip Hop purists would look as blasphemous, but at least he actually came correct and delivered with ferocity. This mixtape will generally chronicle Logic’s journey from growing his fan base to getting signed and in a nutshell, it’s just a proclamation that he’s made it into the world. Logic isn’t one of those rappers who’s going to throw you punch lines here and there, he’s more so a storyteller, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t sneak in a couple from time to time, in which he did on this track. His flow is solid, and that’s what’s captivating about him as an artist when he’s able to string together words in a way that just sounds dope.

Speaking of Drake comparisons, it was ridiculously obvious to hear the ‘Started from the Bottom’ inspired songs that were 5AM and The Come Up. From the beats to the overall flow that Logic laid down, it was painstakingly obvious that they just took the beat and flipped some stuff around to give it ‘distinction’, but I know for a fact that no one is going to really let those slide by unnoticed. Appreciate the attempts, and I appreciate the fact that the ‘no new friends’ line didn’t surface from anywhere between the two. I just felt that it was very obvious and it won’t help his case when people are going to say that he sounds like Drake, since it seems like more and more, everyone is playing catch up to him, and have been for years now. Let’s just hope it’s not something that follows him throughout his budding career.

Break It Down featuring Jhene Aiko (somewhere very faintly) combined two No ID prospects on one track, and the vibe was really chill, and Logic’s flow brought me back to Kendrick Lamar’s verse on ‘Buried Alive’. I’m not saying Logic’s a biter, but certain songs, you can just tell where the style and sound come from, but not many people who catch onto it. A lot of this mixtape is like when Big Sean came out with Detroit, except Logic’s the better rapper in this case. The fact that Logic has a different approach to his music now makes him more accessible to have features on tracks you wouldn’t normally hear him on. With this track, you can definitely hear Kendrick’s style just smack you in the face – he might as well have just asked him for a feature (it’s not like he can’t afford it). Hopefully there are more appearances from Ms. Aiko in the future (not to mention her Souled Out album waiting to bless the world).

Remember the greatness that was on Twitter when Kanye West would release a new song every Friday or the aptly named ‘G.O.O.D Fridays?’ And one of the songs – ironically enough, G.O.O.D Friday- was one of them? Logic flowing over this beat for Feel Good brought back some good memories, and the embrace of success is what is emphasized on this track. He’s come a long way from waiting tables and washing dishes, and not even heartbreak could take away from being driven to be successful:

I never told anyone but I asked my ex to marry me
A couple months later the bitch buried me
And I know what y’all thinking
“Logic, there’s still hope, keep yo chin up mothafucka, ain’t no reason to mope
Plus you got a lot of money and your music is dope”
What’s all the money in the world if yo heart still broke?

The humility of Logic pours out from track to track, but often times, we don’t get that hype from him, until On The Low came about – that changed everything. On a trap beat, it’s a different look for him because it’s more ‘hood’ to say the least (something for the club). If he were to make a single, I can picture about 18 rappers to hop on this beat: 2Chainz, Meek Mill, Ross, Future, Wayne, Drake, Ace Hood, and throw in whoever you want; the point is that it’s one of those songs, but Logic would need tracks like this if he’s trying to find the appeal of both races (having Kid Ink & Trinidad James on this was smart). I’m not mad at Young Sinatra at this one, because it definitely goes hard.

Walk On By pays homage to the classic Boom Bap Era of Hip Hop that many (too many) are trying to ‘bring back.’ Some things are just better off left in the 90s, but this has been consistent with Logic’s catalogue since his first tape (Dead Presidents & Young Sinatra series come to mind). The same feel came to mind when it came to Nasty and both of these tracks felt like raw and gritty freestyles to me but not trying too hard to “bring the 90s back” which is what I appreciate – you can use all of the 90s beats in the world, but if you’re boring, then no one cares – believe me, no one cares.

Key Wane has been steadily becoming one of my favourite producers having produced a good chunk of Big Sean’s Detroit and Jhene Aiko’s ‘Mirrors’. He has a cool vibe to his beats and Logic, very melodically, took over Life Is Good and turned it into a smooth track overall

Eyes on the real though
All yall probably back down on the real low,
I switched it up the day I got a deal yo,
But I’m bringing that real flow
And of course a little bit of melody guess I got the appeal though
But don’t ever think I’ll be sacrificing with the skill though

I feel like the reason why he keeps addressing that he’s not going to change (a lot) from who he is as an artist is because when underground artists become popular, the “I’ve been listening to ____ since ___” fans like to try to keep the artist humble and try their ultimate best to protect the precious talent that they fell in love with from the beginning, but Logic said it best on Common Logic/Midnight Marauder:

This is a letter to the underground the place where I’m from
This is a letter to the fans that understand what I’ve done
And even though I’ve gotta leave man don’t none of y’all grieve
Cause even in the mainstream that lyricism I breathe
Some of y’all love my raw records, some of y’all don’t
Some of y’all will love my radio shit, some of y’all won’t
Just like my race, my music has always been Yin and Yang
Something for everybody no not just one lane

Those lines generally say what every artist wants to say to all of their fans from the get go, because they forget that the artist has to eat, and in day in age for Hip Hop, doing just one thing alone won’t always cut it; the problem is that you’re allowed to switch it up, but some artists don’t know how to balance out, and some just rather be the same all around and wonder why they can’t grow to get a the full potential out of their careers.

What I did like about this tape is that he continued with the skits from his previous mixtapes and that adds a sentimental value for the fans that were looking for something that was a carry forward from his previous work, since there were no new Young Sinatra or Dead Presidents additions to the series. The skit with John Witherspoon brought in a Friday/Boondocks humour to it, since he basically plays the same character for both of them. Also the return of the ‘Sell Out Records’ executive Marty Randolph who is upset since Logic didn’t sell his soul to make it big (that’s essentially the joke, if you weren’t familiar with the skits prior). Logic does care about the fans, so it’s great that he added in those skits for the nostalgia of it all.

Castro, who’s also part of the RattPack, is someone I’ve been waiting to hear a tape from, because he’s dope as hell. He made a couple of appearances on Logic’s older tapes, but he definitely needs to have his share of shine. It was evident that he was hungry for the spotlight when I first heard him on ‘Beggin’ (from Young Sinatra):

Sick of living in the dark so I’m begging for the light
Feeling like I’m in a fight every single time a write
Cus I gotta make sure that they hear me right
Told me that I couldn’t do it so when I pick up the mic
I gotta kill it with something so real that when they hear it
They can feel what’s in my soul
Lyrical cocaine yeah homie I got a blow
But first they gotta know who I is
So I’m begging for recognition on the mission just to do it big

           Ballin is another club track that has Ace Hood/Meek Mill flow all spilled over it, but again – diversity is key when you’re trying to take it to the next level. Logic is flourishing, so let him flourish we must.

Young Jedi’s beat is ferocious, and the XXL Freshman collaboration featuring Dizzy Wright was solid and very necessary when the beat changed up for his part. This was the opportunity for Dizzy to put himself on a platform where more people will hear him out before he drops another project, and he did impress for the most part. The 2nd beat is what should have been spit over for the whole thing, but I’m not even mad at it.

Although I already used a quote from the track earlier, Common Logic/Midnight Marauder is one of the better tracks on here, given the fact that Logic paid homage to the great ATCQ album of the same title, and the fact that he showed off a bit of his production skills (used the same sample from Heart pt. 3 although that’s a heavily used sample throughout Hip Hop.). The track has an intimate feel as you get a glimpse as to how he feels about being on a bigger platform from this year going forward. The methodical approach continues onto Just A Man where he just lets it all out – the inner feelings and thoughts on where he goes from now, and one line pretty much wraps it up for the message:

Dude you feel me? Whole world wanna kill me
Signed a deal but I’m still me
In 5 years will I still be?

Man of the Year completes the trio of songs that express where Logic’s head’s at as far as where he wants to go in the future and the type of artist he aspires to be. He wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time, and you need to have that confidence if you want to excel in the rap game. Everyone will have doubts, and there will always be areas up for debate, but that’s why Hip Hop is (not as much as it used to be) such a compelling and competitive genre to enjoy: to see exactly where these rappers want to be and just who exactly is going to step up and do it.

The End gives the mixtape a cinematic feel as the ‘Skyfall’ sample from Adele plays while a piano strolls through beautifully. Then it breaks into Logic giving his last word as he’s ready to take on this new chapter in his career – the beginning of forever, which he welcomes in open arms.

I had nothing, came up with somethin’ and I still got it
Motivated by the shit I’ve seen, boy, it’s so hypnotic
Yeah, look to my left and see my brothers selling drugs
Uh, look to my right and see my sisters fucking thugs
It ain’t funny how this life go
One moment you’re in the dark, but when that light glow
It’s like you’re seeing for the first time
As I penetrate your mind
Like a burst of ammunition that was shot out of a nine
I’m givin’ everything I got, so, yeah, it better be my time
They said I’d never make it, that’s the reason I still rhyme now

Logic is going to be something great because you can see the hunger and passion that derives from his delivery and there are glimpses of notoriety with his lyricism. There are 2 ways that an artist can go when they start up – they can get hot and flourish, or they can crash and burn. A lot of people thought that J.Cole had already crashed and burned because of his first album (although it sold over 220K first week), and there are other artists who had big expectations but haven’t really amounted to where many expected them to be (anyone who’s signed with Bad Boy records). It is now Logic’s turn to step up to the plate as we all watch to see if he’ll either strike out, or take a deep shot centre field out of the stands. This mixtape is a great first step as to determining where he wants to take his career. It’s not going to be the same logic; hopefully better than before. Only time will tell, but for now, this is my opinion, this is my review

That’s My Word & It STiXX

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