By Tayo Omisore
In the opening track of Maryland-bred rapper Logic’s mixtape “Bobby Tarantino II,” there is a conversation between Rick and Morty (yep, that Ricky and Morty) that plainly states the purpose of the project. While riding a spaceship to Clazabar planet in sector G9, Rick concedes to Morty, “meet me in the middle, Morty. Give me some of that Bobby Tarantino shit. You’re talking about Logic, you know and I’m talking about that titty rap. Jus- why don’t we meet in the middle with some Bobby Tarantino, you know.”
The message is clear: Logic is alright, but Bobby is ready to turn up.
A sequel to his mixtape “Bobby Tarantino,” Logic attacks similar subjects he rapped about on his previous project: his wealth, his talent, his continuing affliction for the opposite gender, the same adages often talked about for the majority of trap rappers in today’s music meta. However, there is a subtle tinge of maturity in the variety of ways that he brings up his (now) ex wife, his struggle with depression and the musical standard he feels he owes his long-time fans. In “Overnight,” Logics proclaims
All these bad bitches say they love me, I already know
Check the, check the bling that’s on my finger ’cause I’m married, ho
There he go, everybody know that boy pockets is swole
The project’s sonic palette mirrors the album cover art, loud with red and orange bass lines and scattering synth keys. Bobby is most at home with swimming with the sharks of his own accolades, weaving together hooks that both showcase his lyrical detrexity while also aggressively asserting his cemented spot in today’s hip-hop landscape. Standout tracks like “Indica Badu,” “Contra” and “Wassup” give a clean summary of Logic’s attitude: he thinks he’s the best rapper alive and here are the receipts. The end of “Yuck” features a voicemail message from Sir Elton John that makes this a hard argument to disagree with. The art of the humble brag.
Logic understands that you think his albums are corny. He understands that your mom probably likes his albums more than you do. If Logic was a Greek play, his tragic flaw would be his ambition. “Album Logic” is cinematic, he grips you like a gust of wind, brings you a ticket to a show and delivers three acts of vibrant strings, lush piano keys, crisp production value and a Neil Degrasse Tyson monologue. Mixtape Logic doesn’t care about you. He is outside of his trailer, smoking a black and mild rolled with indica, hiding behind his bodyguard when he sees you staring in his general direction. When he steps back inside the trailer, all you can hear from the outside is bass that shakes like a coke fiend, a kick drum that would punch a pregnant woman’s stomach and a kaleidoscope of ad libs that consist of some variation of the words titty, ass or money. This is the problem of being a Logic lover. Do you have to be a fan of both egos?
The newly minted Grammy winner is not the first person to have an alter ego in his art, he isn’t even the best rapper doing it right now. But the uniqueness of Logic’s duality is just how polarizing Bobby Tarantino is to his diverse fanbase. This is no news for Logic, who is already a pile of dualities: half black, half white; half carefree rapper and half faithful husband; a middling millennial stuck between championing nerd culture and defending the street life that raised him. In his albums, he tends to take a more message-based approach, opting for stories of resilience in the face of struggle and tales of self-identity. This is why your mom, your little sister and pop radio like him. It is a message that is clean, but also distinctly commercial in a way that halts the deeper hip-hop community, particularly the old school boom-bap fans who make up Logic’s core fanbase, from fully buying into his message.
“BT2” brings with it a lot of baggage. Coming off of his critically acclaimed suicide prevention anthem “1-800-273-8255,” I was really afraid for Logic. As a fan, I was no doubt ecstatic he was coming into the mainstream conversation and getting the exposure he rightly deserved, but I was scared that a box would soon close in on his brand. “1-800-273-8255” is a great pop-rap single nestled inside the quality pop-rap “Everybody” concept album, which sometimes feels more like a curse than a blessing. Being a pop rapper is a losing game, a relegation to being a one hit wonder at worst and a meme at best. And Logic’s trajectory was looking eerily like that of Macklemore; a white passing rapper making a catchy “socially conscious” song that goes on to be nominated for a couple industry awards. As far as I’m concerned, “BT2” needed to drop after “Everybody” in order to contrast the overtly positive themes of the album and in order to avoid getting branded as the “safe, corny white rapper.” This was an image saving move as much as a labor of love.
If this was the mission, “Bobby Tarantino II” achieves this with moderate success. At 43 minutes, there’s not a song that can be undoubtedly cut, it is an experience in every type of excess with Logic switching trap flows like a mathematician attempting to solve quantum mechanics all in one take. Taking trap rap aesthetics and implementing his trademark versatile word play, he makes trap a bit more digestible for unanointed while still owning a record that will undoubtedly get one’s crew aptly pumped in the car on the way to the house party.
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Logic’s Facebook page.
Tayo Omisore is a senior accounting major and can be reached on his twitter account.