Review Summary: The duality of Logic
“I’m much more than fast flows,” Logic declares on “Warm It Up.” To a certain extent, this statement encapsulates the Maryland rapper’s career and the seemingly contradictory elements that define it. There's always been something of a dichotomy between Logic the technically-gifted, fire-spitting braggart and Logic the cool, socially conscious luminary. It’s a disunion so obvious that Logic himself pokes fun at it in the record’s intro track, defining “album Logic” and “mixtape Logic” as two separate entities.
I’m not sure I buy that, though. Regardless of the stage or record on which he’s performing, Robert Hall is Robert Hall, and it’s silly to suggest that one project is more or less a representation of him as an artist than any other. And, of course, this begs an obvious question: who is
Logic？And, more precisely, what does he hope to accomplish？
If Bobby Tarantino II
is an accurate representation of a musical and lyrical direction going forward, it suggests Logic is attempting to bridge the gap between the two inherently separate facets of his musical image. Much like this mixtape’s predecessor, there’s a decidedly light, bouncy feel to its production and lyricism. And, as always, a good chunk of Logic’s bars is devoted to money, fame, and the pursuit and appreciation thereof, and it’s easy to get tired of his frequent acknowledgements of haters and detractors.
Nevertheless, things don’t feel quite as inconsequential this time around. Individual tracks aren't simply pigeonholed as "insightful" or "not," and there’s an overall lack of the directionless monotony that plagued the original Bobby Tarantino
mixtape. For the most part, songs deftly weave between charismatically-delivered rap braggadocio and genuinely prescient, if not somewhat basic, social commentary. With “44 More" and “Warm It Up,” Logic dabbles in some of the same dismissals of commercial rap culture as peers like J-Cole and Hopsin. And yet, the atmosphere conjured by playful delivery and colorful production largely avoids the didactic pretension that often plagues their music. Sure, there are a few moments likely to induce some eye-rolls, but BT2
is leagues ahead of the frustrating heavy-handedness of last year’s Everybody.
On a song-by-song basis, there’s not a whole lot to complain about beyond the aforementioned clichés. “Overnight” is a solid opener with a bouncy, addictive chorus, and Logic somehow manages to wrangle decent verses from both 2 Chainz and Big Sean with “State of Emergency” and “Wassup,” respectively. “Boomtrap Protocol” has Logic lifting from Travis Scott in a way that doesn't do him many favors, but other than that minor hiccup, Bobby Tarantino II
avoids any outright duds. This is in part thanks to the mixtape’s concise runtime; at a crisp, economic 43 minutes, it seldom overstays its welcome and begs for repeated listens.
As a whole, Bobby Tarantino II
wisely avoids both the heavy-handedness of Everybody
and the derivative repetitiveness of the previous Bobby Tarantino
mixtape, choosing instead to occupy a comfortable, palatable middle ground. It admittedly doesn't do a whole lot to further his depth as an artist, but it's nonetheless an addictive project that offers a small serving of Logic's social acumen without shoving it down the listeners' throats. We can all hope that he matures with age and learns to better find balance in his lyrical dichotomy, but for the time being, BT2
represents a fulfilling step in this direction. And, above all else, it's just nice to hear Logic rap.