The Incredible True Story, Logic
It’s hard being a rapper in today’s cutthroat industry. With every release, rappers are expected to not only deliver the best possible output, but also create a unique, relatable image for themselves. For a while, Logic has fallen under the category of rappers who have consistently brought forth the former but failed to develop the latter. On his latest release, The Incredible True Story, Logic makes an earnest attempt to separate himself from the pack of undeniably gifted but unnervingly one-dimensional rappers in the modern era, but the results of his effort are mixed.
While Logic’s debut album, Under Pressure, was a grounded, intimate look into his upbringing and substance abuse, The Incredible True Story is set in outer space, 100 years in the future, as two space explorers, Thomas and Kai, search for the planet Paradise in the wake of the Earth’s destruction. The dialogue between songs is often clunky and forced, with Logic unsuccessfully attempting to inject humor through building on the characters’ stereotypes – “Man, why do white people gotta always go investigatin’ shit, man?” Logic claims to have written an entire script for the rather predictable narrative, but listening to this doesn’t make me want to hear the rest of it.
The music itself serves as a sort of artifact through which Thomas and Kai relive the past while traveling. The song-stealing and flow-biting has some significance, then, because there’s a lot of it. The intro, “Contact,” takes the drums from Kanye West’s “Amazing” and slaps a melodramatic string section on top of them, while the atmospheric instrumental of “Lord Willin’” is eerily similar to Childish Gambino’s “3005.” Meanwhile, Logic does his best If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late Drake impression on “I Am The Greatest,” a rattling slow-burner courtesy of producer 6ix, and croons like Take Care Drake on “City of Stars.” The oblivious listener might enjoy this album greatly for its seemingly high production value, impeccable flows and gimmicky but admittedly unique storyline, but the avid hip-hop head will immediately recognize these overwhelming influences that deprive Logic of a distinct image.
But maybe that’s the problem with listening to this album in the current music world. The hip-hop community has always frowned upon style-biting and copying, but all rappers have done it to some extent. There’s no denying Logic’s talent and potential. Just listen to “Stainless,” a relentless barrage of wordplay, internal rhyming and flows about how living a “stainless life” deprives you of your personality. Or the aforementioned “City of Stars,” a sentimental track about Logic’s breakup with hip-hop and society’s perception of hip-hop: “I love hip-hop and I hate hip-hop / ’Cause people that love Pac hope that Drake get shot / ’Cause he raps about money and bitches, for heaven’s sake / Pac did the same shit, just on a drum break.”
It’s just that being a successful, major-label hip-hop artist takes much more than sheer talent today. Rappers like Travis Scott, Drake and Kendrick Lamar have found their niches – their identities – in the hip-hop world, and consequently they have taken off. Logic will certainly attract fans with The Incredible True Story due to his rapping ability and songwriting, but if he wants to take the next step and create that coveted “modern classic,” he has to end his habit of overtly drawing from influences and focus on crafting his own sound.