Main

Mixtape Review: Logic – Bobby Tarantino II

Logic has become a superstar in the two years since his last mixtape, and he wants to celebrate. I think you should join him.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Bruce Wayne and Batman. Logic and Bobby Tarantino. To establish an alter ego is no easy task, and the Maryland rapper has done just that with Bobby Tarantino II. The (somewhat) surprise mixtape is the sequel to the well-received project Logic dropped in the summer of 2016, which gave rise to fan favorites such as “Flexicution” and “The Jam.” This time around, Logic did not feel compelled to drag out the hype; he dropped the three singles, which we recently discussed on the site, over the course of a week.

 
In some respects, the new effort is similar to its predecessor: a tight tracklist, an abundance of bangers, and a self-congratulatory sentiment. Whereas Everybody gave us the super deep, this right here is just the jam. However, despite the isolationist spirit expressed throughout the 12 tracks (‘I don’t trust nobody/Put my homies on the payroll’), Bobby Tarantino II is more collaborative than the original. On “Indica Badu,” laidback yet anthemic, Logic and Wiz Khalifa share their love for pot over a gorgeous instrumental and an Erykah Badu sample. Wiz kills it on his guest verse and Logic kicks it up to a rare falsetto on the hook. 2 Chainz comes through with a verse on “State of Emergency,” a hook-less track with production from DJ Khalil, Tariq Beats, and Vontae Thomas. The synth-heavy instrumental is alien, unsettling, and mesmerizing. “Wassup” features long-time friend Big Sean; although it bangs, it feels a bit monotonous after ten tracks with similar lyrical content.

 
Critics have long claimed that Logic borrows too much from his contemporaries, and there is no doubt that these accusations will emerge on the internet this week. The pre-chorus on “BoomTrap Protocol,” a densely layered and beautifully assembled track, screams Travis Scott. I have no idea who 6ix sampled on this song, but it sounds dope. The Rodeo rapper and producer clearly influenced “Wizard of Oz” as well. Don’t get me wrong – this track bumps. However, one cannot ignore the melodic use of autotune and Scott’s signature ‘yeah! yeah!’ ad-lib. Finally, as much as I dig it, the beat on “Yuck” immediately brings to mind Drake’s “10 Bands.”

 
Perhaps the most admirable characteristic of Bobby Tarantino II is the sonic diversity. “Midnight,” a two-part track courtesy of 6ix and Frank Dukes, is uncharted territory for Logic. The first half is a melodic ode to Logic’s resistance of the club lifestyle in which so many of his contemporaries indulge. After the beat switch, Logic puts together another super sticky hook and drops a killer verse dense with clever similes. Then, on “Warm It Up,” he does a complete 180 and throws it back to the sound of his Young Sinatra days. Co-written by Nas, this braggadocious track rides a strong old-school vibe and a banger of a drum beat. It’s a dynamic cut: Logic goes hard on the verses and dials it way back on the hook. “Contra,” despite the trendier beat, brings a similar sentiment. The pre-chorus is catchy as hell and Logic pushes the envelope on the verses with some impressive rhyme schemes.

 
The introductory skit featuring Rick and Morty establishes a distinction between “album Logic” and “mixtape Logic.” I tend to agree. If you’re looking for the introspective, vulnerable, and critical tone of Everybody, this is not the mixtape for you. And that’s okay. Logic has previously stated that he drops these tapes to hold his fans over until the next album. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a fun, sonically diverse project full of banger beats and braggadocious bars, you’re going to enjoy Bobby Tarantino II. Logic has become a superstar in the two years since his last mixtape, and he wants to celebrate. I think you should join him.

I am an economics student at The University of Massachusetts Amherst. Beyond my studies, I work as a DJ at the university radio station: 91.1 FM WMUA Amherst. Back in July, a good friend of mine launched a political debate website called The Dialectic, where I currently work as a staff writer and the Editor-In-Chief. I love all genres of music - everything from hip-hop to post-rock to hardcore punk. Aspiring writer. Avid reader. Coffee addict.
Related Articles
#IndieSpotlight, Main

#IndieSpotlight: MusicbyKO “Life In Element” Is The Soundtrack For Pre-Fall Blues

A new LP floated across my desk by an Oakland, California, singer/rapper named MusicbyKO. A warm blend of jazzy 90s…

A new LP floated across my desk by an Oakland, California, singer/rapper named MusicbyKO. A warm blend of jazzy 90s Hip Hop and a cadence reminiscent of acts like Isaiah Rashad. Having shared stages with names like J.I.D. and Earthgang, he appears focused and composed — as evidenced by Life In Element, his new LP.


 
With a very consistent sound, KO slowly unravels a series of tracks that let you into his world just enough — without blatant TMI, or inducing a “yeah right” effect. What listeners get are the tales of a low-level drug dealer (this is both referenced and downplayed at different points), who is taking a chance on a dream, as he slowly but surely uncovers that everything the glimmers isn’t gold, and just because someone calls you brother, it doesn’t mean they have your back — or at the very least even your best interests at heart.

It’s an almost paranoid sense that snakes are roaming the grass that is revisited numerous times throughout the project, like on the song “La La Land,” “Empathy,” and “Let Me Talk With Ya/While I’m Here,” where he notes “I Know niggas right now that want to see me fall.”

He also paints a picture of himself as someone who overextends himself — such as on “Too Much Falls Short,” where he preaches that failing to leave your comfort zone is a fail before even leaving the running block.

That’s just the first few layers of this project; touching on socio-economic issues facing the black community nationwide, and even relationships (see the super dope “Spirit Rise”), he creates a lot of depth. Though the vibe is consistent — almost bordering on redundant — it manages to remain engaging. Also, that instrumental on “A Devil’s Advocate Corner” is a bucket of flame emojis doused in gasoline.

 
Like a bride on her wedding day, Life In Element is something old and something new; all that Hip Hop is dead shit goes out teh window when you hear younger cats with cohesive projects like this. With enough amazing quotables to create a success Instagram daily quote account (“I couldn’t heal in eth place I got sicker”) and an admirable ear for production, MusicbyKO NEEDS to be on your radar. It’s just good for the soul.

Early.

Continue Reading
Main

Video Spotlight: Mean Joe Scheme & Optiks

In this video spotlight, Joe and Optiks discuss the new project, the state of east coast hip-hop, and what to expect from BEAMS. Be sure to check out both singles below, and follow @meanjoescheme and @thisisoptiks on your socials.

NYC artists Mean Joe Scheme and Optiks are putting the finishing touches on BEAMS, their new collaborative project. If “Cannonball” and “Hands Down” are any indication, we’re in for a viscous slice of hybrid hip-hop- a fusion of beats, rhymes, and anxious 2018 energy.

In this video spotlight, Joe and Optiks discuss the new project, the state of east coast hip-hop, and what to expect from BEAMS. Be sure to check out both singles below, and follow @meanjoescheme and @thisisoptiks on your socials.

Continue Reading
Main, Reviews

Eminem: Kamikaze- A Relapse of Epic Proportion

Poor Eminem. He’s damned if he do and damned if he don’t. His last album, 2017’s pop-heavy Revival, flopped by…

Poor Eminem. He’s damned if he do and damned if he don’t. His last album, 2017’s pop-heavy Revival, flopped by way of social media yet wasn’t a total disaster. It moved units and afforded him headlining spots on the summer festival circuit- but it didn’t give the fans what they needed. Or did it?

This conundrum surrounds Eminem’s career. When he’s on there’s only a handful of rappers alive who can compete with his pen and his fury. But when he bogs down projects with introspection- giving us a break from his hyper-aggro screaming at the mic- it feels like we’ve been cheated. Stans can’t deal with the sappy pop-crossovers, and today’s charts simply do not have space for good old-fashioned rap acrobatics. So what’s an aging top-five-dead-or-alive rapper to do?

Marshall Mathers unleashed Kamikaze as his response to the Twitter army (and critics) who condemned him- an unexpected and venomous (although carefully measured) surprise album packed with more syllables than a semester’s worth of English-as-a-second language classes. As we all secretly hoped for, rappers ain’t safe from Em’s verbal barrage of double and triple time bars on Kamikaze, and if you have time to unpack these 13 tracks you’ll find some genuine heat.

Unfortunately, if you really unpack these ferocious bars you’ll find a grumpy old man rapping for the simple sake of reminding us how technically skilled he truly is. The problem is we’ve known that for ages. Reverting back to early 2000’s Eminem complete with the use of “faggot”- his favorite homophobic slur on the otherwise bulletproof “Fall”- does little to contribute to his relevance in 2018.

There are a few maniac standouts on Kamikaze, songs that young rappers should study for the intricate art of word play and cadence (check “The Ringer”, and “Not Alike” featuring Royce Da 5’9). Yet, those lessons are harder to learn when it’s impossible for the listener to catch their breath. For most of the record, Em is in such rapid-fire mode that you absolutely have to run back verses and entire songs to truly digest his messages. Rap nerds and old heads will revel in the task, but is that what the game needs these days? I’d argue no

Kamikaze is a rare full-on barrage of supernatural MC’ing; but it comes and goes without much meaning when the target becomes Machine Gun Kelly-who tweeted about Eminem’s attractive daughter back in 2012. Is there really a hip-hop fan alive willing to side with MGK on this one? And if you’re looking for the most lukewarm, mediocre diss track (possibly ever recorded) check out MGK’s response, “Rap Devil”, a headscratcher that splits its time attempting to discredit Em while simultaneously praising his longevity and abilities. You either want the smoke or you don’t? Like it or not, the whole thing feels like a charade.

Eminem has always carried a chip on his shoulder. When the critics go low, he goes lower. While Kamikaze is far from a low point in what will be viewed someday as a catalog of studio hits and misses, it’s far from the return to form that it was intended to be. He might not be afraid to take a stand, but it’s become tiring trying to figure out exactly who Eminem is standing against.

Continue Reading
#IndieSpotlight, Main

#IndieSpotlight: Noah Wright Is Back With His Latest Visual “Cameras”

Noah Wright is on a run with his latest visual, “Cameras,” and we’re here for it!

27-year-old American Cedar Rapids MC Noah Wright is back with another super dope video treatment. First popping onto our radar back in March with his short film “Valley of the Sun” — and with his super dope LP Love, Noah. From opening for Rakim, Rick Ross, Futuristic and working with Young Money’s very own Cory Gunz, he’s definitely on a run, and we’re here for it.

Relevant: Check out our March 2018 Noah Wright feature

His latest video for his sure-shot single “Cameras” is next level creative. It begins with a plot reminiscent of the iconic episode of Fresh Prince of Bel Air when Will and Buddy were trying to be in the BBD video being shot while Phil and Viv were away. In this video, the cleaner keeps trying to be in the shot, interrupting the shoot to the point that Noah storms off. That’s the opening skit, though. As the actual video kicks off, we’re introduced to gorgeous models, a luxury car, and that same interrupting cleaner is playing out a virtual reality plotline that eventually intertwines with his performance shots.

It’s the type of creativity we’ve come to expect from Noah who’s been dropping some fire lately. The short and sweet “El Chapo,” which he dropped back in June, and the intensely powerful visual for “No Room” have been building his profile — his quality is next level.

Check out “Cameras” above, and be sure to follow Noah via Twitter.

Continue Reading
More in Main
Who is Lord Lu C N?

South Florida just blessed us with another gem. Producer Lord Lu C N recently dropped The U Album, a highly...

Close