I've always seen myself as an open-minded individual. I'm not a person who likes to force my thoughts on anyone, but Ive always wanted to get my thoughts out on things somehow. I've also always loved writing and thought that blogging was the perfect way to do this. I hope you enjoy what I have to offer and feel free to offer your thoughts and opinions on things as well, whether you agree or not.
The Best Debut Album Since "good kid, m.A.A.d. City"
Out of my past three reviews, this is the one I couldn't wait to do. After his Young Sinatra mixtapes, Under Pressure has climbed up a lot of rap fans most anticipated albums. He employs great lyricism and the ability to tell great stories with every song and every bar. He has shown the ability to make great music. I would do my typical DBZ narrator "will this continue? Find out blah blah blah" stuff but I'm pretty sure that the heading gave the answer away. This is my fifth time listening to the album as I'm writing this review and I'll listen to it a few more times while writing.
To be honest, Under Pressure just plays so smoothly and you can just let it play through and go about your daily activities; of course you're better off listening to every word closely, to truly appreciate its meaning and the part it has in his story. It's taken me this long to write this album because of the fact I get caught up in just listening to it; seeing if I notice something I haven't the previous listen.
I haven't heard someone mix everything so well since the best rappers to ever do it. Yet, without further ado let's finally get into it...
A tale of what inspired the name of the album, how Logic got to where he is now, how he felt beforehand and his thoughts on life as a whole. This also starts the sequence of skits, starring an automated voice, Thalia to give the album the feel of a tour into his life. Great start.
2. Soul Food
In Dreams and Nightmares, Meek Mill starts off slow and smooth; halfway through the beat changes and Meek Mill goes harder, becoming very loved by many fans. Logic does something similar with Soul Food but instead of speaking louder(almost hollering), Logic just comes with harder bars and increased lyricism. There are many topics covered in both verses. Sort of a rehash of the first song, Logic covers growing up in Maryland and his family, loss, so on and so forth. The second verse is covering how he got here now and will not slow down. Also, leaving messages to everyone, fans, haters and fellow rappers. Loved it.
3. Im Gone
Logic talks about how he is above others because he has graduated to a higher standard in rapping. Everyone is still rapping about the same stuff and he's already surpassed the simple rapping part of his life, which is a common topic in the album. After mentioning how he has surpassed those types of rappers, he raps about those types of things "females, marijuana, etc." effortlessly and shows how easy it is to him, while making a better song than his competition could.
4. Gang Related
Usually you expect a song called "Gang Related" to be about the singer/rapper partaking in gang related actions. However, this song is more so a story about Logic witnessing them every day of his life. Actually a breath of fresh air, Logic actually talks about how it affected him instead of saying he was just as hard as everyone else. He didn't condone the actions, he questioned them.
5. Buried Alive
This song tells everyone they should continue to persevere even when you feel like you've reached your limit. Not only is he telling the listener this, but telling himself as well. Making it through his own self-doubt allows him inspire you to get through yours. At first, I think it's the constant keyboard playing over the whole beat bothered me, but after awhile I warmed up to it.
There are a lot of references to many other songs in this and mentioning "Nikki" for the first time...Logic starts to talk about how he's meant to take on the game. I don't necessarily believe these references were challenges but more so just shouting out who the rappers he considers himself amongst. "God Goddamn" sounds like an adlib in K. Dot's Good kid m.a.a.d. city song. "Take a trip, little trip" flows and sounds like "crush a bit little bit" in Pursuit of Happiness by Kid Cudi. He also references Project Pat and many more throughout the song.
7. Growing Pains III
The third installment of the series of songs, Logic talks about how his growth has stressed him out at times which has caused him to need his precious Nikki once again. The tour continues.
Sounding very soulful at first, this is a quick song about taking over and not needing any help. It's a shorter version of bounce in a way. Probably the first song I didn't quite LOVE but I still didnt hate it or anything like that either. Tight beat, still pretty damn great lyrics. I think it served as a way to progress to the rest of the album though, possibly.
Perhaps Im looking too much into this...but obviously Superman lives in Metropolis, Logic referring to himself as Superman, is talking about the city he grew up in(Smallville for Clark Kent) and also references his love "Nikki" again, which might also be his own kryptonite. Also talking about going through the issues through his life to get to Superman's level and leaving Smallville(normal life) to get to Metropolis(fame).
One of these is the love of his life...which one?
What's the difference between love and addiction? Is there a difference? You need both of the things in your life, right? Both make you feel better when you have them; even if they're not good for you or worse, killing you. Nikki is actually Logic's nickname for nicotine and throughout all these songs, the girl he's been talking about being in love with is actually just that, nicotine. As mentioned in my Game album review this is my favorite symbolism in music. Logic talks about the only thing in life that has gone through it with him from the start, the thing that keeps him alive, the thing that kills him at the same time. He can't live with or without it.
11. Under Pressure
Being nine minutes long, you dont even realize it's that long if you're just doing normal daily activities. The song progresses and Logic switches his flows and certain aspects of the beat accordingly to keep your interest throughout. In a way, I also think he's trying go against what a lot of rappers talk about when it comes to money, a lot of rappers only want to talk about money. Logic has it, but when it becomes the main topic, he gives everyone the dial tone. To be honest this song has so much in it....its actually kind of the whole album's topics in one song. It's hard to cover all the topics but his life, his friends life, their problems, his haters, his dad who wasnt there for him, so on and so forth. You can really just dive into this nine minutes and not get bored.
12. Till The End
The end to the regular album, he ends his story, for now, talking about the improvements he's made because of everything mentioned in the rest of the album. That is why everything is all connected and laced with the tour guide like narrator. You're supposed to experience the same epiphany and realization that Logic came to from reaching fame and while making this album.
13. Driving Ms. Daisy ft./ Childish Gambino
Surely it cant be over though right? Can we keep going, please?
Mr. Glover approves
The fact that two of my favorite rappers are on the same track together made this amazing for me. This is about appreciating the good things that life gives you and being yourself. A lot of references and word plays connecting to driving are heard throughout the song.
Second bonus track..
This is about his doubters and how they've switched up over the time he went from nothing to something. He's mocking them; now showing off in front of them. Probably the hardest beat on the album as well.
15. Alright ft./ Big Sean
I kind of feel like Big Sean was just put on here to...I guess attract some fans, I dont know. Dont get me wrong, I like Big Sean, but he just doesnt seem to even fit in the track at all. An otherwise well put together song, he seems to ruin the mood and chill feel that the beat along with Logic's lyrics establish early on. Probably should've made this a song to come on earlier instead of the finish to a great deluxe edition.
This is possibly my favorite album of the year. Honestly, straight off the top of my head, its the hip-hop album of the year. A lot of people talk about how it feels so 90s...I disagree. I just feel that the album perfectly utilizes what true hip-hop is, similar to how it was IN THE 90's. This is exactly what music needs right now. A few small issues cant keep this from being a...
Im a huge T.I. fan. There was a time where he was in my top 5 favorites. I still believe he is very under-appreciated, but sure enough the top 5 talk has subsided. T.I. although rough in a lot of his music, he still shows how intelligent he is from his vocabulary. T.I. has done a lot; he was even floating fitted hats over his head, way before Bobby Shmurda ever did.
This is your typical, Im the best and I will do this and I will do that and I will do it as I please...even though he got caught doing stuff with Miss Piggy in jail multiple times and had to be punished accordingly. But hey...we're not going to hold that against Cliff....we all have our moments where we need a little something something. In a way it feels he's just trying to remind you of the good ol' days T.I.P. other than actually showing it with this song. There is a lot of "I will/would" instead of "I have/am". If you get what I'm saying. Some cool references and connections to the mafia and all that but it isnt like anyone has ever done that before..
2. G' Shit ft./ Jeezy and WatchTheDuck
This beat SCREAMS Pharrell and sure enough it is produced by the man himself. The trio of T.I., Jeezy and Watch The Duck(tf?) made a great feeling, coming of age in the hood, as a hustler story together. I have to say Jeezy and T.I. together is reaching AT LEAST Schoolboy Q and A$AP Rocky levels. I mean they aren't at Jada and The Ghost, Jigga and Yeezy or Run DMC levels yet...but they are a great team and they feed off each other well.
That's the lyrics and a link to RapGenius to understand what the hell it is this...I dont even know....is saying...because I know none of you could because I can't either.
The funny thing is I actually feel the song as a whole. I mean maybe not being able to understand him is what makes Young Thug tolerable to his fans...does he have fans or just people in a trance? I dont know...but Im actually not going to take any points off.
4. New National Anthem ft./ Skylar Grey
I like this song...and I love Skylar Grey on the chorus. This is a song about what America has become and how we are nothing like what this country originated from anymore. This is supposed to send that message to everyone and maybe make a change. It's supposed to stand against police brutality. It's supposed to stand for making a change. But I kind of feel an outside source forced the whole "guns are bad" talk. Other than that I approve of a deep song with meaning and attempting to get people thinking. Placing this song right after the Young Thug feature might actually be quite strategic as well.
5. Oh Yeah ft./ Pharrell
So after attracting some young people with a fun song about money, followed by something with a bit of meaning and to switch their way of thinking on something that ACTUALLY matters.....maybe they're starting to see things a bit differently and with this song T.I. is reestablishing himself as the man in charge and the best to follow. Or maybe Im totally just over-thinking here, which I probably am. I have to say I prefer this approach to showing he'll take any challenge or that he is the strongest over what he did with King earlier.
6. Private Show ft./ Chris Brown
It's hard to take over the world without any females...so if you want to be with the King youre going to have to take it off for T.I....you see although Clifford is quite the busy man challenging God for runner of the universe and all that, he still needs to spend all that money he makes off of hustling. So here he is with Chris Brown trying to show some coolness in the strip clubs. There's nothing like taking advantage of females with low enough self esteem to dance near nude for men, right? It's kind of cool though.
7. No Mediocre ft./ Iggy Azalea
Iggy Azalea knows what life is like in the hood. Everything in Australia is poisonous. On the toilets in America, we only worry about the STD crabs....in Australia there are ACTUAL crabs on the toilet seats. I mean shit is real out here.
Bruh....look at the ferocity in dude's eyes at the end...
The song is just corney and too simple for my interests. Plain and simple
8. Jet Fuel ft./ Boosie Badazz
Tip and the walking spelling bee BLESSED this track, man. I mean sure, it's only about smoking the best weed but I'd prefer that over any other drug. The song is catchy. The flows utilized by Boosie and T.I. were perfect.
9. Paperwork ft./ Pharrell
This song is filled with SOUL. Pharrell is PERFECT at making some old school, magical sounding music.
Sometimes too perfect.
And once again the team of T.I. and Pharrell make a great sounding song. The song is best described in the quote "money makes the world go around" and pretty much you need it to get the perfect life.
10. Stay ft./ Victoria Monet
The songs are getting a lot better...but at this point Im a little burnt out on the low quality from previous tracks. This one is basically about him wanting to do anything he could to get her to "stay"...its a good song. I enjoyed it.
11. About My Issue ft./ Victoria Monet and Nipsey Hussle
About time Nipsey Hussle is on something! He saved the song IMO which the song is about taking every issue head on and even dying if they have to.
12. At Ya Own Risk ft./ Usher
See usually I despise this type of song here...but here I like it. See, he's pretty much telling this chick that even though she has a man it's okay to still come along with him...but SHE is the one that has to accept she's a whore, if she does so; I can live with that. Usher did his thing as well.
13. On Doe On Phil ft./ Trae The Truth
It was cool....it was really just bars to me; no set meaning to the song. Trae was the weak part of the song. He had to finish every bar with n*gga and it was pretty annoying.
14. Light Em Up ft./ Pharrell and WatchTheDuck
Dedicated to his buddy Doe B...this is a song mourning for him and anyone who has lost someone who should still be here can relate. It was a story of memories with him and how they came to point of him passing away. Suffering can also truly be felt from the way each artist expresses themselves in each song.
15. Let Your Heart Go ft./ The Dream
The yup in the background wasn't needed. This song is connected to the last one in a way that even though he still grieves he's going to let life go on but never forget. I can never complain about two very deep songs in a row.
16. Sugar Cane
Nope not those kind of canes
I like the feel of the song but there isnt much I can say about it. What sounds like a TLC-esque bridge towards the ending, an uncredited singer sounded really good and made the song click.
17. I Dont Know
Actually kind of creative. The instant you hear this song you're expecting it to be just another song about how T.I. doesnt take shit from anyone. This is true...but it's even more true when it comes to his children. T.I. will defend/protect them at all costs, no matter what they think about it afterwards. I'm sure any parent can connect with this song.
18. You Can Tell How I Walk ft./ Rick Ross
Ricky's weight loss has him comfortable rapping about all sorts of different things now....including exercise and how he does it. However, he didn't take the time to shout out all the peach out there who helped him get where he is now. This is a good song and T.I. closes out somewhat like he opened...showing he's in charge and making the rules. Rick Ross put out some ignorance as usual.
This was better than I thought it would be..the worst thing about it was that I got kind of tired of listening to it after a while.