Published Nov 17, 2015Twenty-five-year-old Maryland rapper Logic's rap career has been defined by two seemingly contradictory through-lines: on the one hand, relentless criticism; on the other, a cult following. With four mixtapes and his debut album, Under Pressure, under his belt, the Def Jam signee's sophomore effort, The Incredible True Story, comes with weighted expectations, both good and bad. It may just silence a few of his critics, if not all of them — The Incredible True Story delivers a multi-faceted aural experience.
Set against a sci-fi backdrop, The Incredible True Story follows two "post-Earth" individuals on a journey to Paradise nearly 100 years into the future. The album gets a head start with "Contact," a grandiose, orchestral intro, while "Fade Away" finds Logic spitting over dense bass, layers of vocal jazz-esque harmonizing and a bouncy, snapping drum beat. The utopic odyssey jumps into high-gear with the 6ix-produced "Like Whoa," followed by '90s-style cut "Young Jesus," which samples ESG's "UFO." While Logic effortlessly mimics the great flows of the '90s, it's Big Lenbo's brash delivery that weaves it together. Channelling early Kanye West, the album hits turbulence with the hip-hop breakup story, "City of Stars," but quickly smoothes back out with the Jesse Boykins III-driven "Paradise." Logic closes out the album with the age-old question: "What if money was no object?" The standout title-cut encapsulates everything Logic is trying to do here: spin genuine, heartfelt yarns over cinematic production. And like any great adventure, it features a cliffhanger.
Given the lights, cameras and action here, at times, The Incredible True Story is overwhelming — not because Logic isn't talented, but because the cinematic story sometimes speaks louder than his own. The Incredible True Story is Logic's best work yet, but there's still work to be done bridging the gulf between his ambition and his ability. The best, The Incredible True Story suggests, might still be yet to come. (Visionary Music Group/Def Jam)