Logic “Tetris” & “Decades” Cover via Def Jam
You can’t judge a book by its cover but you often can judge an album by its cover art. The photo for Logic’s latest album Vinyl Days feels familiar. The child, Logic’s toddler son Bobby is seated in an old-fashioned office chair, the afternoon light filtering in. The child is surrounded by various cool stuff, a Back to the Future hoverboard, guitars, movie posters, a drum machine, speakers, and turntables. And vinyl. So much vinyl. This is an album that is not just an album. It is meant to be an heirloom and a family bible set to music. Funk Flex yells: “Retire for what?!”
Logic, as he would agree, is hard to define. A viewing of Kill Bill ignited a love of hip-hop in Sir Robert Bryson Hall the Second, Logic’s government name, that was fanned to flame with the purchase of The Roots’ 1995 album Do You Want More?!. And as time wore on this love of hip-hop that he nurtured in his room found expression in mixtapes. 2009’s Psychological-Logic: The Mixtape took off and got young Robert his start. Since then, Logic has released 7 albums, published two books, appeared on Rick and Morty, signed a Twitch contract, and retired at least once. Vinyl Days came out in June of this year.
In America, because we all came from somewhere, it is important you fit into a box. Italian American. Democrat. Republican. Vegan. Etc. But for some of us, maybe even most of us, the definitions are blurred. Logic has discussed his position between worlds as a child of a white mother and a black father and the way that identity influences how he moves through the world and how the world moves through him. And this tension defines his work, especially on Vinyl Days. At the heart of it, this album is a love letter to hip-hop. Narrated and hyped by the iconic New York DJ Funk Flex, Vinyl Days feels like a mixtape if the teenager creating it had access to some of the biggest names in the business. It sounds like a kid paying homage to those who came before him.
“In My Lifetime” featuring Action Bronson sounds like ’90s-era Wu-Tang and Logic himself is doing a very convincing imitation of Ghostface. “BLACKWHITEBOY” is lyrically dense and the flow sounds like an angry Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest. “Ladonda” with its loaded title and confessional lyrics is both lush and intimate at the same time and encourages the listener to consider the artist not just as an artist but as a human. Vinyl Days is a lot of things. It is a document of a young artist striving to be better, it is a record of a man dealing with early fame, and it is a cultural exploration of identity in 21st-century American life. But most importantly, it is a love letter to music written by a sincere fan.