Logic came through the Vogue Theatre Thursday night for his first stop on “The Incredible World Tour” Tour. Logic (born Robert Hall II) is an East-coast rapper with a penchant for cinematic story telling and staccato-like flow. This tour is in support of his most recent album “The Incredible True Story”, a sci-fi narrative set from the perspective of a crew of astronauts travelling through space hundreds of years in the future.
Keeping with the theme, Logic and his DJ jumped on stage clad in astronaut coveralls. Behind him stood a 10×20-foot LED screen that displayed everything from Muhammad Ali interviews to the film Akira; an allusion to a pop culture time capsule perhaps or just Logic’s favourite things. He’s been known to credit his inspirations directly in his work, notably A Tribe Called Quest, Quentin Tarantino, and Big Sean on this last album.
Here’s my apprehension with Logic: he’s is the type of dude who throws the word f*ck into every sentence despite his true persona as a backpack rapper. I have got no problem with conscious/nerdy rap, I grew up in the suburbs after all, but embracing it seems more authentic than masking it. No doubt he had a troubled upbringing and has had a rough life as “a young black man camouflaged in the skin of another” – from Concrete (Logic is biracial.), so I don’t mean thematically. It is more a sonic thing.
He has been called a chameleon a million times over for his versatility but this has proved more hindrance than helpful in defining his identity. If you take his album and compare it to the other major releases from Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and J. Cole from the past two years, the similarities (borderline mimicry) are obvious. The finished product seems to be a jack-of-all-trades situation, where Logic can do everyone else’s sound well enough to build an album but not carve out his own niche. He is like the kid in high school who was good at everything but instead of being celebrated as the varsity hero, he was vilified as a try-hard.
However, individuality be damned, he is good. His flow, his lyrics, his production, and most definitely his stage presence come from a foundation of immense talent. It is also hard to hate on a guy whose mantra is “Peace, Love, Positivity” especially in rap, where quite often aggression = masculinity = power. Loving sentiments are not the forte of the genre at the moment. Logic brings his brand of conscious storytelling to a crowd that twenty minutes earlier was belting out “I Don’t Like” by Chief Keef. I am not trying to pigeonhole the audience by any means but to sell the anti-violence anthem Gang Related just minutes after Keef was heard over the sound system is something special.
Logic performed “The Incredible True Story” nearly sequentially, only to interrupt with some older hits to keep the crowd engaged. There was a particularly contrived moment though as he welcomed an 11-year old boy on stage from the audience to, presumably, share the spotlight but ended up making him look more like a petrified human shield.
The highlight of the night was definitely bringing out Big Lenbo to perform Young Jesus. Having the dynamics of a second voice and a change up in flow paid off quite well. Without Lenbo though, Logic was able to carry the show on his shoulders alone.
Running through his new and old hits and always on time with his high-cadence wordplay, Logic has started the tour off right. Vancouver loves Logic (he sold out two nights in a row) and it is deserved. He’s smart, appears humble, and gives a tremendous amount back to the fans. I am excited to see his development as an artist and hope his path leads to a bit more originality while maintaining his on-stage dedication.