Prior to its release Logic’s third studio album ‘Everybody’ has generated some controversy. Firstly, it was initially to be called ‘AfricaAryan’ a nod to his mixed-race/bi-racial heritage – which led fans and critics alike to express their disapproval of Logic’s use of the word “Aryan”, due to the Nazi connotations attached to it. This probably prompted the album name change to ‘Everybody’ but did not stop Logic from retaining the name ‘AfricAryan’ for the final track of the LP. If this wasn’t enough, on the release of the album’s artwork and trailer fellow rapper Freddie Gibbs took to social media to accuse Logic of reproducing promotional and aesthetic concepts from his album ‘You only live 2wice’.
Controversy aside, Logic’s follow-up to his largely successful 2015 concept album ‘The Incredible True Story’ follows the themes of race, religion, reincarnation and mental health with slick and impressive production from Logic himself, 6ix, DJ Khalil and No I.D. whilst also boasting a host of features including the likes of Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Killer Mike, Black Thought, Juicy J and J.Cole amongst others.
The thirteen track album ‘Everybody’ opens with the introductory track ‘Hallelujah’, an initially fast paced and energetic track which asks the listeners if they’re ready and also for them to open their minds – before slowing things down as it leads into a skit which cements the religious theme and introduces the character “Atom” who dies when he is hit by a car on the way home from work and meets “God” (voiced by acclaimed Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson). “God” explains to “Atom” that the white void he currently resides in after dying is a waiting room.
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The second track is the lead single which was released in March and is also the track that the LP was eventually named after, ‘Everybody’. It’s been evident from previous projects that race and racism is a topic close to Logic and one that he feels strongly about. This track is one of the several tracks mentioning the topic, as Logic raps about his childhood experiences amid a pounding bass:
“White people told me as a child, as a little boy, playin’ with his toys. I should be ashamed to be black. And some black people look ashamed when I rap. Like my great granddaddy didn’t take a whip to the back”
‘Everybody’ is followed by a return to the religious theme with ‘Confess’ where Logic takes on the persona of a sinner who is wanting to repent but remains angry at God. With lyrics like:
“Wanna repent, don’t know where to begin. Next of kin don’t give a damn ’bout me. I know God don’t give a damn ’bout me”.
‘Confess’ makes for an interesting perspective as Logic lays bare how many people struggle with religion and the idea of sin whilst also featuring some of his usual witty wordplay before the track is rounded off by a rousing speech/prayer by Killer Mike; which seems to be continuing the characterisation Logic began, questioning God on the meaning of life, why people suffer and inequality before asking for God’s help.
One of the strongest tracks from this project is ‘Mos Definitely’; with its wonderfully produced beat by DJ Khalil & C-Sick, is structured as one long singular verse – which showcases Logic’s technical rapping ability that we’ve seen on previous albums and mixtapes with the speed that he can deliver lyrics. As is evident from the title of the track there is a Mos Def influence to the song as the outro portion of the track is an extended chant of praise, positivity and advice for black people – very similar to Mos Def’s ‘Umi Says’ from his ‘Black on both sides’ album.
It’s not until ‘Waiting Room’ that we finally return to the “Atom” and “God” story that is introduced at the beginning of the album. Clocking in at almost 5 minutes, the skit breaks up album quite nicely as “God” has an amusing philosophical conversation with a reluctant “Atom” about the logistics of reincarnation and what it will mean for him. ‘Waiting Room’ also serves as an interlude into two tracks covering issues of mental health ‘1-800-273-8255’ and ‘Anziety’ which sadly don’t continue the interesting reincarnation narrative.
On one of the album’s slower songs ‘1-800-273-8255’; which is the phone number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL), Logic sings and raps a scenario from the perspectives of a caller to the NSPL and a NSPL representative, with the caller explaining reasons why they want to die before the NSPL representative eventually convinces them to live on. The track, featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid tackles a sensitive topic excellently and is the most recent single to be released from the LP.
Closing off the album is left to another single that preceded the album’s release ‘Black Spiderman’ (featuring Damian Lemar Hudson) and also the 12-minute long track ‘AfricAryan’ as the finale. ‘Black Spiderman’ is a feel good track and is abundant in positivity for diverse cultures. It gleefully references an online outcry from 2010 to get Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) an audition to play Spiderman in the Marvel cinematic universe (#Donald4Spiderman). By this point in the album however, it could be argued that the theme of race in particular has been covered so many times that it has become slightly excessive, especially as it continues on to the final track ‘AfricAryan’. While it’s obvious that Logic has the best intentions by sticking with the theme of race, it’s slightly overdone whilst the religious/reincarnation theme that the album began with is left by the wayside as far as musical representation of it is concerned.
As the jazzy first segment of ‘AfricAryan’ draws to a close; where Logic again shows his versatility in being able to sing and rap excellently, we are again treated to “God” giving some advice to “Atom” about how to live life. Interestingly, at this point where you can’t help but feel the album has come to a natural conclusion, the narrative that began on his previous album ‘The Incredible True Story’ that ended on a cliffhanger is continued!
On ‘The Incredible True Story’ humankind has left a poisoned and resource depleted Earth in search of a similar planet. ‘The Incredible True Story’ ended with “Captain Thomas”, his first mate “Kai”, and their ship’s AI computer “Thalia” landing on a planet named “Paradise” after listening to Logic’s two albums ‘Under Pressure’ and ‘The Incredible True Story’ throughout their journey.
On the last two segments of ‘AfricAryan’ we hear “Kai” complain about how long they’ve been walking for but he also says that he’s glad that they have good music to listen to whilst walking – which we can take to mean they’ve been listening to ‘Everybody’ since landing safely on the planet “Paradise”. We also hear “Thomas” say they’re about an hour away from their destination and that he’s about to play Logic’s fourth and final album. Strangely, ‘AfricAryan’ still does not end there. To the sound of a minimal beat we hear J.Cole rapping some advice to Logic as an outro.
‘Everybody’ is a great album and although it re-hashes the topic of race, it does make some very valid statements on the issue. It has great production throughout and interesting narrative devices – even if you haven’t listened to ‘The Incredible True Story’.
‘Everybody’ is out now via Visionary Music Group and Def Jam Recordings.