Review Summary: Logic excites with new mixtape
This is very much a fan-oriented project. Logic in the past couple years has proven himself to be one of hip-hop’s formidable talents, buckling traditional mainstream success in exchange for more structured albums. With Bobby Tarantino
, Logic’s surprise new mixtape, the concept driven blueprint of his last two albums is largely abandoned in favor of a more trap heavy, bombastic sound. Unlike past efforts where listeners would dissect detailed narratives, Logic lets his fans sit back and enjoy the atmosphere.
Not since the Young Sinatra series has Logic released a mixtape and like them, Bobby Tarantino
feels light-hearted and incredibly fun. Sure there are emotional asides and ruminations on fame, his own unflinching ambition, overcoming tribulations etc etc. You know, the usual subject matter with the same overly generic self-mythology one spins when they find success. This mixtape however is more interested in untethering Logic’s own large personality, letting it loom over each track and taking pride in his boasts rather than deep narratives.
The best moments on this tape are the ones that feel meant to be played at maximum volume and allow the listener to revel in simple, catchy hooks, in your-face delivery and flow technique. This is all done without losing total lyrical credibility though or lapsing into whiny deprivations over the state of hip-hop. It goes to show that style over substance can still be a little artistic.
At its start, Bobby Tarantino opens with the three -track sequence “Flexicution,” “The Jam” and “Slave II,” all god-level hype songs to jam out to. Each one posesses Logic’s rapid-fire delivery as he boasts about his position in the rap game and detracts those who doubt his longevity despite his success. “The Jam” features an auto-tune sung hook by Logic, which shouldn’t work but surprisingly does. “Slave II” is especially a stand-out track. Here he raps over a portion of Bryson Tiller’s “Rambo” (originally the mixtape was meant to be Logic rapping over other artists’ beats but his label put a red-light on that idea). Logic glides softly over foreboding synths and a glimmering atmosphere in the first half of the song until spazzing out with a great burst of energy in the second half.
Production on “44 Bars” is beautifully orchestrated. Angelic interpolations from Barry Levington’s “The Vibe Is Right” provide an underlying surge of emotional atmosphere to the song. Those closing moments you hear only a fading of that sample and wish it can last a little longer. While those small details may be intoxicating to hear, I have to admit as a touristic listener I was more intrigued with the beat than Logic’s rapping even with the ardent subject matter on ambition and dedication. In all honesty, I appreciate Logic’s effort instead of him simply saying eff it and trying to make a wannabe trap album.
However, despite that effort the main problem with this mixtape is plenty of it relies too much on its own braggadocio and atmosphere. This would have hindered my enjoyment of this project if Logic had not been keenly aware of this. On “Super Mario World” right after Logic reprises the hook for “Flexicution” (“oh my god”), someone in the background humorously yells out “that’s gonna be the hook right there!
” Logic understands the often formulaic dynamics of pop-rap yet he also understands how fun they can be. Instead of fully immersing himself into that sound, he instead opted for his own brand of pop-rap. But does that make for an exciting new musical concoction or original voice" Of course not. A majority of Bobby Tarantino’s soundscape is not unique but it does make for one enjoyable listen.
In the rapper’s own words, Bobby Tarantino
“is something to have fun with over summer.” Its surprise drop onto streaming services clearly a gift to his fans, not to convert any potential disciples. Certainly not his best project but for those hardcore listeners this record will definitely hold them over until the next album lands. For the rest of us, Bobby Tarantino
goes in some interesting directions and if given the chance, is worth the ride.