Logic - Welcome To Forever [Review]

This is the realest,
Only unto the real shall I reveal this.
I even made this beat myself just so y'all could feel this.
From Nasty Nas to Big L to A Tribe Called Quest,
We the Rattpack in other words the tribe that's next.

One of the things that I've always appreciated about sharing music on this blog is that it's forced me to stay up to date on the latest up-and-coming artists. In order to bring the best of the best to you good people, I have to scour the internets to find that next best act. It's part of the reason why my recent absence was all the more painful--I basically have a year-long gap in my iTunes library (I promise that I'm mostly caught up). 

That's part of the reason why I missed out on the rise of DMV emcee Logic from high school dropout to XXL Freshman. But it's also why I was able to come to Welcome To Forever with fresh ears and without any biases. It was my first time hearing this talented artist and it's why it was such a pleasant surprise that this mixtape was one of the best things that I've heard lyrically in sometime.

Some will look at Sir Robert Bryson Hall II and immediately pass him off as just another white rapper (he's so light skinned that it's a common mistake, he does look remarkably like Grynch), but he's the product of a gritty upbringing in a downtrodden Gaithersburg, Maryland (the same community that birthed Wale). As a child he witnessed his parents battle alcoholism and crack addiction and older brothers pushing crack to get by. On "Roll Call" Logic fires shots at anyone who would place him in a box because of his lighter skin without digging deeper into his story:

Fuck a critic with the balls to try to tell me how I feel
You wasn't with me as a child
Never once did you feel the pain of my stomach
That manifested from the lack of meals
Headed to the soup kitchen on foot by the lack of wheels

Hall eventually dropped out of Gaithsburg High School and worked two jobs to support his aspirations as an emcee.  His early mixtapes, particularly 2011's Young Sinatra started to garner Logic national interest and earlier this year he was named to XXL's 2013 Freshman Class.

Welcome To Forever, Logic's fourth mixtape, addresses that transition period in his life from unknown to widely-respected emcee--from looking up to legends to standing beside them. For those that have missed out on him, Welcome To Forever is a great introduction to this talented emcee and perfectly showcases his superb lyrics coupled with supernatural flow and delivery (as exemplified by "Roll Call," "The Come Up," "Nasty," and "The End").

From the opening title track, it's clear that Hall is still not quite comfortable with his new found fame. The intro track discusses his first starstruck encounter with Nas (remember meeting Nas for the first time/ shook his hands and he started quoting my lines?...He said that real hip hop shit, I had it/ Thinking to myself, damn, man you made Illmatic). This theme is one that Logic revisits constantly. Welcome To Forever as a whole proves to be his effort to respect his hip hop elders while still placing himself adjacent to them.

Logic seems to elevate his game to the highest when recording over revered instrumentals in a similar way that J. Cole once did for "Dead Presidents II." On "Roll Call," a song that samples OutKast's classic "Ms. Jackson," Logic even admits that Y'all probably think I'm crazy for touching this instrumental. He's right. "Ms. Jackson"is a nearly impossible instrumental to record over due to the way that 3 Stacks so thoroughly killed, buried, and eulogized the original version.

Most other emcees would embarrass themselves trying to live up to that version and while Logic doesn't quite match up, he comes remarkably close. He seems to view these songs as a way to measure up to the greats and with the ridiculous number of quotables, tight rhyme schemes, and clever wordplay, he does the song justice while displaying his immense potential.

"925" is a fun celebratory track that echoes Kanye's "Touch The Sky." Just as that track marked West's arrival among hip hop's luminaries (Jay's favorite line: "Dog, in due time," / Now he look at me like, "Dog, you where I am." / A hip hop legend, I think I died in that accident 'cause this must be heaven), "925" has that same celebratory tone and conveys that common hip hop and American dream of making it from nothing.

"5AM" and "Break It Down" prove to be a change of tempo after "Roll Call" and, along with "Walk On By," showcase Logic's ability to paint a bleak, vivid picture of his upbringing in urban America that would make Norman Rockwell blush.

There are only 4-5 songs on the mixtape that keep it from being flawless. The skippable three track run from "Life Is Good" to "Young Jedi" would be considered good songs from many artists, but don't seem to live up to the quality of the rest of the tape.

Logic recovers on "The High Life," which discusses his discomfort at suddenly being around the icons of the genre, admitting that he's "waiting for someone to say, 'What the fuck you doing here?'" But also leaves listeners with the promise to stay the same person:

So many rappers on that stupid superstar shit,
But I plan to eat with the people I starved with.

"The High Life" is followed by "Common Logic/Midnight Marauder," which along with "Roll Call" and "The End" may be the best songs on the mixtape. Like "Roll Call" it sees Logic elevating his lyrics and flow on a revered sample (this time from Tribe), again displaying his hunger to be considered amongst the greats as exemplified by the chorus:

This is the realest
Only unto the real shall I reveal this
I even made this beat myself just so y'all could feel this
From Nasty Nas to Big L to A Tribe Called Quest
We the Rattpack in other words the tribe that's next

The next two songs, "Just A Man" and "Man of the Year" pale in comparison (and frankly feel weird juxtaposed against each other considering their subject matter) and the tape would succeed by skipping directly to "The End." Logic recovers in a big way with this final track and it's the perfect way to finish off the mixtape. Backed by the epic Adele "Skyfall" sample, Logic comes out firing with one verse, his last words leaving the audience hungry for more:

Look to my left and see my brothers selling drugs
Look to my right and see my sisters fucking thugs
Ain't it 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.

A few songs keep Welcome To Forever from being perfect, but it remains a potent effort that successfully places him as one of hip hop's best up-and-coming artists. I highly recommend the download and look forward to bringing you more from Logic in the future. Enjoy.


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