On Logic the Rapper
By Nick Chhoeun
Rapper Logic has been in the spotlight recently for his song 1-800-273-8255, which addresses mental health. He says that this song is “the most important song I ever wrote.” The song name is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which reported a tremendous increase in calls after the song was released.
Logic’s message in his songs is peace, love, and positivity regardless of race, religion color, creed, and sexual orientation. He uses rap as a voice to reach the masses on the problems of our society that need addressing. He has come from a humble background and now at the age of 27, he has made his voice prevalent through the power of his words.
Logic’s unique ability to incorporate stories into his songs drew me to his music. By this I mean that on top of his raps, which tell a story themselves, there are added moments of dialogue conveying another story. Especially present in his past two albums, there was an additional narrative that added another layer to the context of the songs.
I began listening to Logic in 2015 when he released the album “The Incredible True Story.” I was immediately a fan. This album blended a sci-fi story with rap songs. It has snippets of dialogue between two characters 100 years in the future after life on Earth was no longer sustainable. They are on their way to a planet called Paradise and as they talk, the story of what happened to humanity slowly unfolds. While on their way to the planet they also listen to Logic’s album.
In his most recent album “Everybody,” Logic continues to blend rap with story. In “The Incredible True Story,” there is a present narrative in the songs. After some of the raps we get dialogue between God (voiced by Neil deGrasse Tyson) and a man contemplating the state of humanity. All the songs around this narrative deal with societal issues that, when paired with the conversation with God, provide a thought-provoking take on life.
In this album, each song is like a short story about a person in our society struggling with a range of issues such as the pressures of social media and suicide. For example in the song Black Spiderman, Logic stops rapping about himself and says “Or the fact that I’m a single mother living all alone/Looking for man and a home to call my own.” This line incorporates another perspective on the subject at hand. And in 1-800-273-8255, he starts the song embodying the voice of someone struggling with mental health and says,
I’ve been praying for somebody to save me, no one’s heroic/And my life don’t even matter/I know it, I know it, I know I’m hurting deep down but can’t show it.
After embodying the voice of another person, he goes back to his own and offers a solution to the voice struggling with mental health. He responds with compassion and understanding and explains to the other person why life is worth living. His point in doing this in every song is to show the extent of the problems in our society that can be fixed if we unite as a people to make our voices heard. The album title “Everybody” is a symbol to emphasize that everybody is the same and thus we should all be treated the same. By taking on multiple voices, he tries to show that everybody has problems that need attention.
As MFA students, we are often challenged to experiment with form in our stories and poems. Logic successfully shows us how he did this in merging raps and stories for a more meaningful outcome. When combined with his unique storytelling method, his message of peace, love, and positivity enable him to convey multiple meanings and cover a variety of subjects. He is an artist that wants to bring about change in our society by using music to point out the issues.
Image: Rolling Stone
Nick Chhoeun is a staff editor at Café Américain and a first-year candidate in American University’s Creative Writing MFA program.