No Pressure Album Review (2020)

Cover of 2020 album “No Pressure” by Logic: Photo Courtesy of

Click here to read the highlights of this album review.


Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, better known as Bobby Tarantino or Logic, is a rapper, songwriter, producer, and author. He first gained popularity through his breakout mixtapes released in the early 2010s and has since risen to become one of the most popular rappers on the planet with six studio albums, one soundtrack album, and six mixtapes total. He has been nominated for two Grammy Awards and, as of September 14th, has over 14 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone. 

It is safe to say that Logic’s decade-long run as a rapper has been busy. Back-to- back albums and multiple releases in one year is nothing new to Logic. He will occasionally boast about writing and producing albums and songs in short periods of time, just as he does on this project as well. Unfortunately, these boasts do not always pan out so well. Logic’s discography is notoriously spotty with critics. When it comes to my own opinion of Logic’s albums, it tends to be a mixed bag. I found last year’s “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” to be forgettable, uncreative, and a bit annoying outside of a few tracks. Alternatively, I love pretty much everything on 2015’s “The Incredible True Story”.

When Logic announced that this was his last album before retiring from rap to focus on being a father and Twitch streamer, it made many fans like myself sad. However, I must commend him for having the guts to step away from the limelight and his fame to focus on his family. While I personally do not think this is the last we will see of Logic music-wise, I was nonetheless fully hyped for this album. After all, one of the most popular rappers alive must have something great up their sleeve for their final project, right?

With the announcement of the album title and the amazing artwork by Sam Spratt (who deserves all the recognition he gets and more for his work), it was clear that this album was meant to harken back to his first record, similarly titled “Under Pressure”. The artwork depicts the same basement that was illustrated in Logic’s first record, except everything is underwater. It all felt very final.

Combine this with Logic’s reunion with legendary producer Ernest Dion Wilson (also known as No I.D.) and you get an album that calls back to some of Logic’s best work. I can happily say that this album is a good sendoff for Logic and a quality listen. 

Track by Track

The first half of the album’s opening track, “No Pressure”, contains a sample of Orson Wells in which Logic will insert his own voice periodically to create this narrative relating to this album and his past work. Logic’s voice will sometimes complete a sentence or replace a word that Wells says. It is quite a genius idea, I must admit, and it is all nicely laid on top of an immaculate lo-fi beat. The Orson Wells sample fits so perfectly with this beat and in the mix. When Logic comes in, he is confident and clear. Lyrically, it is unimpressive. Logic’s quick verse on this track is a mix of braggadocious lyrics and a reminder of where he started. His voice is smooth and satisfying. On repeated listens, however, I am tempted to skip the track as the novelty of the Orson Wells sample diminishes. 

Before I jump into the rest of the tracks on this album I want to make one thing clear: the production on this album is great. This will not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the team that worked on this project. I am merely stating this now so I do not have to restate it multiple times throughout the rest of this review. 

“Hit My Line” picks up the steam after the mood-setting first track with a great piano groove and a fantastic drum loop. It is a feel-good song with a catchy hook. Lyrically, Logic has a hard time focusing on just one thing. This is sometimes a pitfall of his writing. In this cut, he talks about evil politicians, being comfortable with himself, unauthentic activism, his addiction to fame/money, and unjust murders, among other things. Keep in mind that he has just one verse to touch on all of these topics. He seems to just list these things without explaining them so it just comes across as a bunch of buzz words. Despite these darker themes sprinkled in, the chord progression and chorus promote a positive feeling overall. He invites listeners to feel comfortable with themselves. Logic also speaks directly to God, asking for help with the current state of the world. I appreciate that the instrumental gets played out at the end so I can better immerse myself in it.

Picture of rapper Logic. Photo Courtesy of
Picture of rapper Logic. Photo Courtesy of

“GP4”, an acronym for “Growing Pains 4”, is the fourth part of Logic’s “Growing Pains” song series. The beat and hypnotizing piano in the background makes “GP4” one of the more unique moments on the album. However, I am not a fan of the uncomfortable, half-whispered hook. It culminates in a lazy, forgettable chorus. When Logic starts rapping, the register he chooses to place his voice in is quite annoying. This is something he experimented with a couple of times with varying degrees of success on his last album. His voice on “Hit My Line” sounds much more natural, confident, and far less annoying. Eventually, he settles into a more natural vocal range and his flow becomes silky smooth and effortless. Some of his triplet flows on this song are impeccable. Logic speaks again about his come-up on this track with no notably outstanding lines. The outro of this track also includes an unstructured and quick verse by an unnamed rapper that comes across as completely unnecessary and does not add anything to the song. Overall, this is definitely one of the weaker tracks on this album. Once you have heard the first minute of this track, you have heard all four and a half minutes. 

“Celebration” quickly pulls the listener out of the rut that was “GP4”. It is easily one of the most fun moments on the album. It is big, loud, and feel-good. The instrumental is lush and puts a smile on my face. Lyrically, Logic once again chooses to rap about his come-up and his current status. By the end of the album, you will have heard Logic discuss his rough start as a child over and over and over again. I have to admit, it gets really old after a while, especially since a lot of his previous work discusses this subject. The sample they use for the background vocals, which sounds like a small choir, fits the vibe of the track well. The guest verse from rapper Silas is well done and fits well with the song as well. I also like that it ends in a fade-out, rather than an abrupt end for a song with such great energy. 

“Open Mic/Aquarius III” begins with a skit introducing Logic by his real last name, harkening back to a time when Logic had less fame. When the beat comes in, it is sharp as a knife and right in the listener’s face. The background vocals, while less memorable than the ones on “Celebration”, are a nice backdrop for Logic’s voice. On this track, Logic discusses family, his distaste for the rap game, and his current state of mind. It feels like he is getting a lot off of his chest in this song and he fits a surprising amount of lyrics into each verse. You really get the sense that Logic has grown as a person and is in a better place mentally. This song really shines in its second half, starting at around three minutes and 27 seconds. The drums move a bit back in the mix and the piano is brought out in all of its jazzy glory. It is one of my favorite piano moments on this album. This section is what really makes this song come together. If it were not for that switch around halfway through, this track would have been extremely forgettable. 

“Soul Food II” is a song that I was especially looking forward to, as the first “Soul Food” remains one of my favorite songs from Logic. As soon as that ethereal and instantly recognizable vocal sample kicks in, you know you are in for something good. It shares a lot of similarities with the first “Soul Food”, but I am not even mad about it because of how amazing the instrumentation is. The drums, the piano, the background vocals, the bass, it is all perfection here. After Logic’s first verse, the instrumentation takes a moment to shine as the vocal sample gets chopped up and jumps back and forth from ear to ear. It makes for a jaw-dropping moment instrumentally and I always look forward to it when I revisit the song. Lyrically, it is more of the same from Logic as he raps about his evolution. This track is pure perfection up until the halfway point. A cringe-worthy sample of a supposedly natural exchange between Logic and some friends followed by a complete beat change left me confused. The amazing beat and instrumentation from the first half is gone and is replaced by a completely forgettable beat and a different vibe entirely. Lyrically, Logic makes the strange decision to abandon what he was talking about on the first half of this track and instead decides to explain the storyline of his 2015 album “The Incredible True Story”. Why? What was the point of this? After the first half of “Soul Food II”, which is, to reiterate, amazing, I skip the song out of pure distaste for the fact that they threw it away for the boring second half.

Photo of Logic and his son; Photo Courtesy of
Photo of Logic and his son; Photo Courtesy of

The only thing that is not perfect about the track “Perfect” is that it ends after a mere minute and a half. The beat is nothing short of an absolute banger. The high pitched keys in the background add just enough to give the relatively unoccupied instrumental a bigger punch. Logic’s flow is impeccable. His bars are sharp and help to prove why he has such great popularity as a rapper. The sample from the video game “Street Fighter” adds so much character to the track as well. “Perfect” is easily one of my favorite tracks.

“man i is” is an instrumental miracle for this album. It gives us an incredibly jazzy and satisfying listen with lush horns, impressive solos, a red hot bass line, and silky smooth drums. This track is perfect in that it does not try to do too much. Every instrument is crafted to perfection. It makes amazing use of the trumpet during the chorus and is one of the more memorable moments on the album. Logic raps about how happy he is to be himself. These feelings certainly rub off on the listener and “man i is” makes me smile with every listen. It almost feels like something that belongs on a completely different album but it also fits so well in the context of the album and No I.D.’s production style. 

“DadBod” is a track whose entire appeal comes from Logic’s lyrics. The instrumentation is pretty boring on its own and does not even come close to some of the other tracks on this album. It has lo-fi synths and some pretty simple drums. Lyrically, Logic is super tongue-and-cheek on this cut. He calls out his critics and people complain that he has changed. He also goes so far as to narrate a typical day in his life as a punch back to the people who complain that he does not rap about his everyday life. There are some cringe-worthy lines on this track such as: 

“Now I’m headed to aisle three for some Bounty paper towels

I also grab some wet wipes to clean the s*** from my bowels”

But there are also some genuinely funny moments on the track like when he says he loves his wife like he is Chance the Rapper (who notoriously wrote what is essentially a whole album about this topic) and when he says:

Then I spot some more fans, stan hella hardcore (Can I have a picture?)

Asking for a pic and I say sure

Scratch my d*** and shake his hand

Shaking uncontrollably, he tells me I’m the man

If it were not for the humor on this track, it would have been skip-worthy. However, I still get a chuckle out of “DadBod” to this day.

“5 Hooks” is definitely a track that should have been cut from the album. Everytime it comes on I think to myself: “Oh yeah, this song exists”. Logic hammers home his come-up story once again and it just makes me roll my eyes back in my head. He also brags about how this album is mostly lyric-focused with not many hooks. However, this just makes him look worse because his lyrics are so similar across many of the tracks on this album. To make matters worse, some of the hooks on this album are not even good, so why brag about how little there are? The instrumentation does not have much going on in it either.

“Dark Place” sees Logic getting real with himself and discussing his own mental health. He feels that rap music and making it now fills him with pain instead of happiness. A sample from Alan Watts illustrates Logic’s negative feelings towards gross amounts of fame and money. It makes for a really personal moment for Logic and I genuinely feel his emotion through this song. His relationship with technology is also relatable as we see ourselves getting sucked into social media even if it only hurts us. This is clearly one of the most important tracks on the album simply because of its message as it gives you insight into one of the reasons why Logic is stepping away from rap. I was pretty disappointed with the instrumental at first because the beat is the same as the one on “Aquarius III”. Even when the beat does switch up, it feels a lot like that other track. The background vocal sample is very pretty, though. I also like the Alan Watts sample at the end as well because it sums up a lot of Logic’s points about material objects very well, even if it is a bit extraneous or overkill.

“A2Z” opens with an absolutely adorable recording of Logic asking his newborn if they want to learn their ABCs. The listener is then suddenly hit with a stellar beat and some ominous, out of tune pianos and it sounds absolutely badass. Logic is loud and in charge on this track. The lyrics on this song have Logic’s typical rap braggadociousness. Based on title, you would assume that the gimmick of this track is that every new bar, sentence, word, or group of words contains the next letter of the alphabet starting at “a”. You would be wrong. Instead, the gimmick of the track is that Logic merely uses every letter of the alphabet, which is significantly less impressive. I like the core of the track other than its lazy excuse to incorporate the alphabet into the song as a way to make non-rap fans be impressed by it. I also dislike that an old recording of Logic rapping when he was a kid is tacked onto the end of this track. Why couldn’t it have been a separate interlude instead? Why pad out the song? Now I just end up skipping the second half of “A2Z”. 

“Heard Em Say” feels like the magnum opus of the album. It is Logic at his most confident, happy, and motivational. It is the album’s most cinematic and grand track with strings, a huge beat, lots of reverb, and a beautifully sung chorus. It is inspiring and it makes the listener feel like they should not be afraid of their goals and aspirations. Logic embraces his identity on this track and it ties the album together thematically. I honestly think that this should have closed the album. It feels like a great send off for Logic and it is so bittersweet listening to this song knowing we might now see another project from him. 

Then, the album transitions from the “No Pressure” experience to the “Ultra 85” experience. Unfortunately, the former is much more interesting than the latter. The track “Amen” feels unnecessary and like a watered down version of “Celebration”. I am not a fan of Logic’s delivery on this track at times, especially in his first verse, and the hook is straight up bad and lazy as he repeats the word “Amen” over and over. It simply does not work well and could have been cut from the album entirely.

The album ends with the closer “Obediently Yours”, where we see another speech from Orson Wells. Logic takes a backseat on this track and lets Wells do all the talking on this track, a decidedly bold move for a closing track. The instrumentation is fitting for a closing track. It is piano driven and has some lovely strings to accompany it. The speech, originally given in the 40s, discusses race relations. When listening to this song, it is apparent just how little we as a world have moved forward in battling racism. It still exists in all facets of life, and this speech urges people to do more about it and stand up for what is right. It is a shockingly relevant speech. Wells calls out racism like it is – a mental disorder that must be cut off at the root. The Black Lives Matter movement has helped push this serious issue to a global pedestal and I appreciate that Logic chose to end his album by highlighting this inequality that exists. 

Click here to read the highlights of this album review.

Final Verdict

“No Pressure” is the comeback we needed from Logic. The production and instrumentation, for the most part, is amazing. It lacks lyrically in many areas but Logic’s voice is clearly built for rap and his flow is still something to marvel at. He has a lot of charisma undoubtedly. For an hour-long album, there are areas where it feels like I am listening to something I have heard too many times before, and some tracks probably should have been shortened or cut (“5 Hooks”, “Amen”) to make the project more concise. At the end of the day, “No Pressure” feels like a solid sendoff for the veteran rapper even if he is subject to some of his typical downfalls. 

Rating Scale:

0 – 4 = Negative feeling toward the record

5 = Middle-of-the-road

6 – 10 = Positive feeling toward the record

Final Rating = 7.0/10