Logic, the person, seems very nice. He is affable, charming, endearingly earnest, and just goofy enough that his obsession with Quentin Tarantino movies comes off quirky and not serial killer spooky.
Logic, the musician, is a whole other story, unfortunately. All the personality tics that make him endearing and lend themselves to him growing on you make for a rapper that’s a little too smug, a little too self-righteous, a little too convinced that whatever he just said deserves a standing ovation, and it’s all kind of repetitive.
On each album Logic has released, he’s been a little like the Mega Man character from the eponymous video game series. With each, he picks up another bad habit that rears its head on the next — a tasteless joke about his mixed heritage, a tendency to read too much into internet comments. His latest, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind, will ultimately leave listeners who aren’t already Logic fans with the same sense of aggrieved, dissatisfied, exasperation as his previous albums. The potential is there; he just doesn’t seem to know what to do with it.
Logic clearly subscribes to the idea that you’re judged by the company you keep. In any case, that philosophy would explain the hilariously mismatched collection of guests on the album. It doesn’t explain why all the guests, to a man, outshine their host on their respective songs — even Eminem, in full-fledged, “see how fast I can read a dictionary at you” mode on “Homicide.”
The guests seem calculated to hit different quadrants of rap fans: Grumpy old heads (Eminem), ornery young ones (YBN Cordae, with whom Logic is going on tour later this year), laid-back stoners (Wiz Khalifa), hood come-up advocates (Gucci Mane), moms (Will Smith). They feel like a shortcut to Logic doing the actual work of tinkering with his flow and finding new, appealing things to say to each of those crowds. Instead, he covers well-worn territory that anyone who’s heard a Logic album before could likely predict without hearing a song, right down to the jarring mixed-heritage joke that still fails to engage with the perceived privilege that comes with his white-passing appearance. Even the beats, which knock to the high heavens, loop every four-to-eight bars without even attempting to step outside longtime producer 6ix’s comfort zone.
“Don’t Be Afraid To Be Different” is ironically and yet unsurprisingly one of the few times Logic and 6ix actually try something, well, different, combining Rob Base and EZ Rock jock jam energy with video game sound effects and a shockingly refreshing verse from Will Smith. Smith’s ultra-positive, “you can do it too” verse should be instructive to Logic on how it’s done — rather than wasting time harping on whether or not he receives what he feels is just credit, the former Fresh Prince simply lists his credentials, including a cute callback to his best-known track, the theme song from his culture-shaping sitcom.