Logic: 'Do Something For Yourself'
The rapper, who hails from Maryland but now resides in the Los Angeles area, came through to talk about the road to his second album, The Incredible True Story, fending off critics and the language he uses to to remind himself of his blessings and his possibilities.
ALI SHAHEED MUHAMMAD: What up, Logic?
LOGIC: What's good? This is crazy. I'm so excited.
MUHAMMAD: Me too.
FRANNIE KELLEY: Thank you for coming.
LOGIC: Of course.
MUHAMMAD: How'd you feel walking in the building?
LOGIC: I felt very like I've been here a million times. Cause this is the place where --
KELLEY: Cause you have?
LOGIC: Yeah. Where I've recorded. And we mixed the first album — we mixed Under Pressure here. And we mixed the new album, The Incredible True Story here.
And I saw you, and I was like, "Yo, I know this guy." And I was on the phone and I was like — I didn't think it was you at first. Cause I was like, "Nah," but I was like, "Yeah," but I was like, "Nah." And then Bobby, my engineer, who we know, was like, "Yo, you know Ali has his podcast ..." and I was like, "Oh my god! That was him. That's crazy." And I was on the phone talking about some extra — I always be on the phone.
MUHAMMAD: Yeah, I saw Bobby and Alex. And it was just like, "Would you pass a little message?" I try not to do that but --
LOGIC: No, I'm glad. Thank you.
MUHAMMAD: Yeah. I saw you, but you were on the phone so I was like, "Man, I just wanted to go up to him, but I was like — it looked like you were in a serious conversation.
LOGIC: I was in a very serious conversation. It's always a very — when it's album time, it's always like something's happening at the label, and you gotta make sure something gets done right. Like little things. Everything. I'm a perfectionist, and I'm very analytical about every little detail. So if something's wrong or there isn't a quotation on a iTunes thing or this or that, I go crazy, man.
MUHAMMAD: Yeah, see the detail? The detail was in the body language. So I was like, "Yeah, I'ma just keep moving. I'll hopefully run into the gentleman another time." But that was --
LOGIC: But we're here.
MUHAMMAD: — the only time. Yes.
LOGIC: I'm glad we're here.
KELLEY: When was that?
LOGIC: That was like a couple weeks ago.
KELLEY: Oh, OK.
LOGIC: Like a month ago maybe.
MUHAMMAD: It was about a month ago.
KELLEY: Alright. Got it.
MUHAMMAD: For the people — OK. Let me just set it up. We're at Blakeslee Studios. So it's where I record. And this is where we do Microphone Check now. Yay. And so I have a production room, and then there's a vocal booth and there's another production room behind me.
MUHAMMAD: I was recording vocals, and it was just like the sub was just so ridiculous, so I asked my production partner in the next room. I was like, "Yo I'm cutting vocals. Can you kill it for a minute?" And he was like, "Yeah, sure. No problem." And then like 15 minutes later it was just worse. So I'm sending him a text like, "Dude. I'm still cutting." And he was like, "I'm quiet, man." And I'm like, "Where the hell is that coming from?" And it was coming from the C room where you were mixing.
LOGIC: So all the way on the other side?
MUHAMMAD: Yo. Your music was catching life on my tracks. But it was sounding --
LOGIC: I'm sorry about that.
MUHAMMAD: No. Don't apologize. It sounded really good.
LOGIC: Thank you.
KELLEY: You've probably done that to people before.
LOGIC: For sure.
MUHAMMAD: You gotta know how to take it when you're recording. But anyway we're happy that you're here. And I want to shout out our producer, David, cause he's the one that put me up on you.
LOGIC: Shout out to David. I appreciate that.
KELLEY: David Luke. He's the man.
MUHAMMAD: David Luke. Yeah. He — when your last record came out, which was not your first --
LOGIC: No. Well, I mean, technically it was the first album, right? But in this day and age — I mean, I had done a whole bunch of mixtapes and to me, those are like albums. You put together a body of work and release it. But it's just a different time. But, yes.
MUHAMMAD: Yeah so he put me up on you, and I was like, "Alright. Logic. Cool." Checked it out, and I was like, "Oh. Thank you, David." Music was dope.
LOGIC: Thank you.
MUHAMMAD: And you're very talented. So, kind of want to go back to the beginning a little bit. And I want to go back to the beginning referencing a song off the new album, which is called "Paradise." And in the song, you mention this one moment in the song "Paradise," and it was about being pulled over by the police with your mom or something like that, right?
LOGIC: Actually, it was — yes. But it wasn't — we were in the house.
MUHAMMAD: You were in the house.
LOGIC: So that's what I was talking about. My mother being dragged away. I was about five years old.
MUHAMMAD: So that must've been a lasting memory for you, to put it --
LOGIC: 100%. Cause they like — she didn't have any shoes on. And then I remember these kind of cobblestone stairs that we had, cause we lived in this apartment, you know, through the government. They helped assist everything. And I just remember her being in handcuffs and then dragged down and then, like, her ankles were very bloody. It's crazy. And I was about four or five years old.
MUHAMMAD: Do you remember how you felt?
LOGIC: Definitely confused and probably scared. I mean, you can imagine — like when you watch anything, when you watch Boyz N The Hood and it's the baby crying, and you're like, the baby has no idea what's really going on. You just kind of sense that something's not right, and that this person who is raising you or a part of your life is not around you for this second, you know what I mean? So that's kind of all I remember from it.
MUHAMMAD: Did you ever speak with your mom about that incident?
LOGIC: No, actually I never did, which is crazy. Damn.
MUHAMMAD: I'm asking because your environment was — you grew up in — what was the neighborhood?
LOGIC: Well, I grew up in West Deer Park. That's where I really spent a majority of my years. Well, from five to 15. And I think those are some of the biggest years.
And the funny thing is, where I'm from, it's a very beautiful place. And there's s--- everywhere. There's good places everywhere. There's bad places everywhere. But a bad place for me was my home, my actual house. Which is really funny cause I think the way you look, you know, the fact that I'm a black and white man, but look white, and raised by black family members, and — you know, it's like really weird. Cause there's a culture in me. There's ancestry in me on both sides, you know, the slave and the master. It's f------ weird. It's crazy.
I don't know. It was very — growing up in my household, it was a lot of things that I went through and experienced that I think a lot of other people did as well, at least some level, and that's why I think people can kind of relate. But it's not like b-------. Like, "Oh, I went through this." It was like, "Nah. This made me stronger. Better. Faster. Harder." I'm sorry.
KELLEY: Yeah. Cause Ali was asking me — so I'm kind of from D.C. My dad was in the Navy, but I went to high school in D.C. So he was like, "Do you know where Logic is from?" And I was like, "Yeah, I've seen that neighborhood, and it looks beautiful. But there isn't anything there."
LOGIC: Mind you, also, they re-did it. But back when I lived there — cause for me it was Section 8 housing. It's so weird, man, cause there's a lot of really amazing places there. I mean, at one point, it was one of the richest counties in the United States.
KELLEY: Is it Montgomery County?
LOGIC: Yeah. Montgomery County. But that's what takes it back to the household. Like, it's the household, man. We were on Section 8. We were on welfare. We had food stamps. We had this. We had that. My dad was in and out doing the things that he was doing.
And the funny thing is — especially with this album, one thing that I told myself is — cause on the first album, it was very — it was like an almost autobiography of all the s--- that I went through. And it was such negative stuff. And I love that album, man, and it was true introduction. But that's why I'm so excited for this album, The Incredible True Story, because it's kind of the victory lap. It's kind of like, "Here's where my life is now. I'm going to give you a little bit of retrospect and take you back a little bit. But things are good, and that's where I'm headed."
But, to speak on the past for the plenty of people out there who've never heard of me right now listening --
MUHAMMAD: Well, that's why I wanted to just go back a little bit just so that there's an understanding as to where you are right now.
LOGIC: Complete 100%.
MUHAMMAD: And I think it's important because I think that there are people who are raised in a certain impoverished and stressed environment, be it economically or even emotionally, and they assimilate to that environment, and they don't break the cycle. And so you seem have been inspired to break that cycle, and it comes across in the music. So I wanted to know what was it that inspired you. What was that moment that --
LOGIC: People ask that. I don't think there was a specific moment. I think it was something that was always in me that I just knew, and I think a big part of it was god. I think it's like god and common sense. Cause when you see all your sisters getting knocked up and beat and coming home raped by men. And your mother getting f----- up by men, and right in front of you and screaming and crying and horrible things. And your brother selling drugs and carrying guns and all this s---.
You see what happens, and it's like, OK, this person's doing this, this person's doing this, this person's doing this. I'm like, "Yo. I can't do this." And yeah, sure, I've shot guns. I've held guns. I've sold drugs. I've done the dumbest s--- for a very short, very short, period of time in my life where I was like, "Oh no. This ain't happening."
I've never killed anybody. Thank god. I'm not the dude that's like, "Yeah. I got bodies." That's the most ignorant s--- ever. I am so blessed that I've never taken a life. I've done f----- up s---, but I can look in the mirror. I've faced my demons, and I'm very blessed to be here.
But that cycle, I think it's just god and common sense. And at the end of the day, I was like, "You know what? Instead of ignorantly trying to get out my frustration through acts of vandalism or violence because I'm so unsure of who I am as a growing young man —" What most people do, they just tend to act out or this or that or get in arguments. I was like, "Man, I'm just going to put it into my music."
And then even that was difficult. Cause I could say whatever I want to say. I could say — I could curse or I could this — and my mother, she was very over-religious. But at the same time, she wouldn't — Kanye, what'd he say? I'm not sure if it was "New Slaves," but it was off Yeezus. Yeah. I think it was "New Slaves." He was like, "Yeah, we preachin', but we practice." And I was like, "Wow. That's real s---." Don't preach it unless you're about it. Don't try to take the splinter out of somebody's eye you got a log in yours. So I would like — my mother was the type of person who would be like, "This is god's house, you goddamn m----------." Like, really. That was who she was.
I think that's another reason why I'm so open-minded, and I really love and respect all colors, creeds, faiths, religions, even though I might have my own personal connection, or whatever that is, with myself. I think it came from that household. I think it was all the negative s--- that I saw, witnessed, went through, that turned me into the positive person that you see today.
And I'm sorry. I know I'm talking a lot. I'm just so excited. A lot of people, they're always like, "How are you so positive? How are you so positive?" And to be quite honest, it's in my darkest of times that I am my most positive, because --
MUHAMMAD: How so?
LOGIC: It's all about like speaking it — think about it, man. There was a time where all I wanted to do was be accepted by hip-hop. And everywhere I turned it's all, "This white m-----------. Oh, this, this, or that." People who don't even like — they're not even listening or caring to understand my story, and it's f----- up.
And so it's like, when I felt like I wasn't getting my just deserve or this or respect, now I'm in the room with two incredible people who care not only about this culture but about music as a whole, and with this legend, yourself, you know. And I don't know how you look at yourself, but you're a m------------ legend, man. You inspired my whole first album and a lot of these records. So to be able to sit here with you is amazing, and I feel now I am getting my just deserve.
But in my darkest of hours, when nobody's there to pat me on the back, to say keep going, to say, "You can do it. You're incredible. You're talented. You're this. You're that," I was the one that — I'd go on Twitter, and I'd go into my music and say, "You can be the best person you can be. You can do anything you want to do." And it's like, I'm telling the fans what I'm trying to tell myself because nobody was telling me at the time.
MUHAMMAD: That's amazing. It's interesting cause you say that it's common sense, and you would think that it would be common sense for people to look at their environment, to look at their life to see and evaluate what's working and put that in a — "That's working for me. Let's keep doing that." And then the, "Oh, that's not working for me. Let's not keep doing that." That seems like common sense, but you know we tend sometimes to succumb to whatever, and we repeat these steps. But you're making a choice.
LOGIC: There's a language. And I'm sorry to interrupt. It's very simple. When I first came to L.A. in 2012 — so I moved from Maryland, and I didn't know anybody out here. My homie Lenny supported me. Like when I didn't have a place to go, you know, he put food in my stomach and clothes on my back. And I remember I was supposed to get a job — and this is back when I lived in the basement. And if you go to Under Pressure, my first album, you look at that cover; it's me in the basement. And that's the exact basement that I was in.
And I was like supposed to get a job and all this s---, but the music I was making was so good and he was kind of lenient, in a good way. And I was like, "Man, just give me a year. If you could do that, if you could work and take care of me for a year." And damn near just before that year was up, almost to the date, I signed to Def Jam and I told him, I said, "Quit your job of twelve years as a land surveyor and come out to L.A., and we're gonna do it." And we did it.
And I say all this to say that when I got to L.A., I was on Twitter, and I was at — you know Pequito Mas?
LOGIC: Yeah, I was at Pequito Mas, right, f------ up some quesadillas.
MUHAMMAD: For people that don't know, Pequito Mas is a — it's like the Chipotle of its day, before there was Chipotle.
LOGIC: I like it. I don't know. It's pretty good.
MUHAMMAD: It's a little small kind of taco, burrito --
LOGIC: Yeah. It's super ill.
KELLEY: It means "a little bit more?"
LOGIC: Oh yeah. Pequito mas.
KELLEY: That's cute.
LOGIC: Pequito mas. Hola. Cómo estás. Me llamo Roberto.
Anyway, so I'm sitting down one day, right, and I just got finished kind of on a rant. Cause I was where I just said I was. "You can do anything you want in life. You can achieve anything. You can be the person that you want to be. Peace, love, and positivity." That's my f------ jam right there. That's my whole thing. "Peace, love, and positivity. Follow your dreams."
And then I look at the replies like, "Ah, I hope people are going to enjoy this." And I see like, "Shut up, you f------ f-----." You know? Or, "You're a b----." Or this or all these different things. And I'm like, "Ah, damn." It just hits my soul. I never understood — how could you hate me? How could you hate me? Like, I came from nothing. I promote nothing but positivity. How could you hate that?
I don't understand, and I was talking to Lenny about it, my best friend Big Lenbo — he's actually on this album. And I was like, "How could somebody hate me? How could somebody be that evil to take something that's positive and say these negative things?" I just couldn't understand it. And it f------ — like a lightbulb, it went off, and it changed my life: I don't understand why haters hate because I'm not a f------ hater. And this is real s---.
And then this goes to success. I can't tell you how many people have come and gone from my circle, good people, that it just didn't work out, because they didn't speak the language. So determination, persistence, realism, and wanting success more than your next breath. It's that simple. And you can achieve anything you want.
I actually have an autograph from 2010 — me practicing my autograph with a million Logic autographs on it — and I signed the date. And that was before I had a fan in the world, before I had anything. And it was because I said, "I'm gonna." And 2010, I said, without any of that s---, that same year, "I'm going to be a Freshman XXL 2013." And I did it. I said, "I'm gonna not just get a f------ record deal, but I'm gonna get the record deal I want in fine print that says I can make whatever the hell I want and release it whenever I want and do it." And I did it. I said, "I'm gonna be an actor one day, and I'm gonna direct and write movies. And I'm gonna do these things." And I'm gonna do it.
And other people go, "Well, I would, but." "I would, but I don't have the money." "I would, but my mom is sick and I have to take care of her." Or, "I would this," or "I would that." And it's like, "Yo, those are unfortunate situations, but you already f----- up as soon as you said 'but.'" And there's people who even could listen now and go, "Oh, no. No. That's not true. There's a lot to it." And it's like, "Well. No." It's all about you. The law of attraction. The power of your words.
MUHAMMAD: You answered my next question really with that.
LOGIC: My bad.
MUHAMMAD: Nah. I love what you're saying. It comes through in your music, but I don't know if — to spell it out the way you just did — and I think you really have to — well, if you don't have that component to understand and take things in, then you will never in this — just pretty much the example you gave. But I think if you just take a moment to really let your words settle in, it's pretty clear that you feel this way. But the question I was going to ask is do you remember the moment when you rejected the belief of impossibility?
LOGIC: Oh, wow. It's weird. It's almost like — people ask me, cause I just got married last week --
LOGIC: Thank you, brother. And they ask, "When did you know she was the one?" I think that's kind of b------. I don't think there's any moment. I think it's a collection of moments, you know? It's like when she — when we hung out and it wasn't about money or this or that, social climbing and Instagram. I was like, "Oh wow, she's just a regular, awesome, very beautiful woman." And when I went on tour, and she could handle two tours, a promo run, and the release of an album, and she could handle — it's all these things that, like, "Oh wow, this is the one for me."
So, yeah. I don't know when it — I don't know exactly when it was.
KELLEY: I have a way to ask it, maybe.
LOGIC: Yeah. Please.
KELLEY: How did you educate yourself?
LOGIC: Oh. Through Yoda. Yoda has a saying; he says — I love it. He says, "The difference between the Padawan and the master is the master has failed more times than the Padawan has even tried." So I think I knew through trial and error, not only of me but my predecessors and the people that I love. Like I f------ love Kanye West, but he's — even like with Taylor Swift, that'll be always be a part of history. And we can all look back now and laugh, and they're friends now and that's really amazing.
But I look at things like that, or even far before him of other people and maybe bad business decisions or whatever the case may be of other people. And I look at the negative things that happened to them or, "Oh, that's where they kind of went downhill." And not even their music per se but just who they are and their business and things like that.
So I think for me when I realized anything was possible, it was more so, "OK. Anything really is possible as long as I don't f--- it up." As long as I don't do some crazy s---. I have to be able to look in the mirror and go, "OK. I'm a pretty normal guy. So just don't get into any crazy s---." No skeletons in the closet. And that's why I like to put everything out there.
But I think probably the day — the day I released my album I had an awesome cry. You know? It was such an amazing cry. I think that was a big thing. I was like, "Man. Look where I came from. Look where I am. My album is out for the world. This is crazy." Yeah. So that was probably one of the biggest times where I realized, "Wow. You could really do anything."
KELLEY: I was gonna ask you about the Kendrick comparisons and --
KELLEY: Is there anything in that you thought maybe where there was a moment of truth in it? Where you were like, "Oh, well, I guess in some ways differentiate from whatever?"
LOGIC: No. I don't think so at all. I think that's just like — c'mon, man. When I listen to Tribe, Slum Village, this, all these incredible — you hear — I'm not going to change who I am for nobody else. If you listen to my album, you listen to the outro, you listen to Under Pressure, you listen to so many — cause I haven't listened to Under Pressure in a while — but if you listen, first of all the outro, me singing on an album. I'm singing on the intro. That doesn't sound like Kendrick. It doesn't sound like Cole. I mean, you can say it sound like Drake, but it's a different kind of singing. You know what I mean? Whatever.
I don't give a s---. I don't give a s---. I don't care. None of that matters to me. It's like, "Yeah. OK. When" — cause I have so much respect for Kendrick. I have yet to shake his hand. We know all the same f------ people. It's insane. But think about it. I work with Tae Beast. I worked with Terrace Martin. I work with all these people who worked on Kendrick's s---. So obviously there's going to be some type of — what's the word?
LOGIC: Yeah. Exactly. Commonality in it. And then — but it's like, "Are the lyrics the same?" F--- no. This is my story, my flows, my raps. This is me. But it's the same thing with --
KELLEY: You guys are just fast.
LOGIC: Yeah. But it's also a recency effect. Before him, it was Cole. "Oh you sound like Cole." And before him, when I got melodic, it's like, "Oh you sound like Drake." Or this or that. And it's like, "That's fine. Say whatever you want." I used to battle that. It used to be a thing for me like, "Oh, man. I'm getting compared to —" but nah. No no no. The fact that I can tour the world, sell out shows, and people are coming to see me is all that matters. My message is there. That's all that matters.
And don't get me wrong. On The Incredible True Story, the sonics are more me than ever. But it's like, OK, we can talk about who I sound like, but why don't we talk about the fact that I was extremely inspired by Midnight Marauders from Tribe, and literally the program, I did that. And I did it as an homage, and I hope you enjoyed it.
MUHAMMAD: I mean, shouts out to Thalia.
KELLEY: I know, right.
LOGIC: Yeah. Thalia. Real talk.
MUHAMMAD: No. Deeply felt. And what's --
LOGIC: But why is it OK because it was 20 years ago? You see what I'm saying?
MUHAMMAD: I was going to say — well --
KELLEY: Well, yeah. I mean, my question would be then — so it seems to me that somebody wrote about this, and then it was sort of picked up. And I wonder about the difference between the critical reception for your work and the fan reception for your work. It seems to me there's a very big divide between people who write about music and people who f--- with music.
LOGIC: Yeah. For sure. 100%. I think — but I think at the end of the day it doesn't matter. Even this conversation, we're giving it more life than it really is.
KELLEY: I know.
LOGIC: No. But it's a good topic. It's an incredible topic. But let's talk about how much Ye inspires me. Let's talk about how Ye did 808s and there's straight covers on that, you know what I mean? Where you could take something completely from somebody else and add a snare and a kick drum, but because Ye is "a legend," it's different, or it's this or it's that. It's like, no. He was inspired to take from someone else, and he made it his own.
KELLEY: Well, do you think the reason there's this vitriol is because people think because you look white that you're going to get more commercial success?
LOGIC: I have no f------ doubt in my mind that that's true. Without a doubt. Look at the consumer. You know what I'm saying? Look at the consumer. The general consumer — have you been to f------ Wu Tang shows and hip-hop shows? It's crazy. It's a whole bunch of white kids, but so what? Those are — and that's not the whole thing cause — and this is a whole 'nother debate we can go into about — and I don't even really like to talk about race, but I will. But I don't really like to talk about race that much cause I just see people, man. And being black and white, being two things --
But, yes. But going back into that, I have no f------ doubt in my mind that — I think at the end of the day, the music, I would like to say, is damn good, and I work my ass off, and that's why I'm where I am. Because there's a lot of white rappers who don't give a s--- about this culture and just want to exploit it. And that's something I would never do. And that's something I'm not doing. But, yes.
It's like, a young black child looking at Michael Jordan like, "Wow. He looks like me. I can be that. I can do that." Maybe that was Kobe. Maybe that was Lebron. Maybe that was whoever. And they did it. So imagine a genre of music where it's typically supposed to be like only the brothers can do this, and this and this. And there might be a white person out there — even though I am black and white, and I love who I am — but there's some white kid who could go, "Oh, I wish I could rap, but because I'm white I can't do it." That's the most f----- up s---. It's like, no. If you love the culture — like, look at Mac Miller. Yo. Mac Miller loves hip-hop, bro. And he knows his s---. So to say that he can't do it because he's from the suburbs is b-------.
So I think, yes, the fact that I do look a certain way — it's weird. It's like reverse racism. Because in hip-hop, I got treated as the minority, looked down upon, and I had to fight every single day, when I am a part of, not only this culture, but this ethnicity. But yeah, I mean, when it comes to marketability — look at arguably the biggest artist ever in rap is Eminem, right? That's a argument. Is he white? Does it have to do with that? Does it have to do with his skill?
All this s--- I put out of my mind. There are the things that I battled with especially on my first album. This is why I'm so happy with the second album. Cause it's like, "Say what you want about me. Say this. Say that. Who gives a f---. I don't care. I'm making music. God is good. I'm married. I have a puppy. I'm so happy." That's how I think, and it frees me.
MUHAMMAD: Well, just to speak on influences and how it inspires, I heard your music, and I heard several influences. Tribe, and so many others.
LOGIC: Mos Def.
MUHAMMAD: And I think that that's great. And when you have an artist who — and I can say this after doing this for 26 years, whatever. That when there's an artist who takes a portion of whatever it is, of your art, like take a seed, a very small thing, and grow something completely different and beautiful, that's amazing. And when you can pick fruit off of that tree that that other person put in the ground and created their own hybrid and added to it, and you can take a bite of the fruit and close your eyes and as it goes down your throat and into your system, you can feel the chemicals moving through and you feel great and wonderful. And it doesn't poison you. Then that --
LOGIC: I have literally --
MUHAMMAD: It doesn't get any better than that.
LOGIC: I have a song about that called "The Tree Of Life" that I wrote. And it's not out, and it's featuring Slug and Killer Mike, and I'm so sorry to interrupt but it's perfect. I had to tell you this. And it's not out yet. I think I'm going to release it probably like the week the album comes out. And it's about how I was inspired.
My first festival that I ever did was Soundset. Actually, I believe it was this year. You know, it's the Atmosphere — they put it all together. And for the previous year, I was on Facebook, and I saw a post that Slug had written about a lot of the "fans" — excuse me — were upset that 2 Chainz was on the bill. And he was saying how, you know, we're all from the same family. We're all from the same family.
And that inspired me to write this thing called "The Tree Of Life" where, OK, 2 Chainz is a branch in hip-hop, in the tree of hip-hop. And then Nas is a branch, and Logic is a branch, and Drake and Kendrick and all these different people. For someone on the — I don't know — J. Cole branch — so the leaves, or the fans, of that branch — to hate the branch and the leaves on 2 Chainz and try to say that that's not real just to me is b-------.
Cause at the end of the day, if 2 Chainz is rapping about Atlanta and where he's from and the things that he sees, how is that not real? How is that not a part of this culture when we're all from the same roots?
MUHAMMAD: It's definitely real. Just to add to the analogy a bit more, you can bite from the fruit and it's beautiful, and you can be nourished off of that, that person that was inspired. They planted; they grew something else. Fruit doesn't kill you. You can also — same thing, flipside of it — take a piece of another fruit, a bite of it, and it poisons you. It kills you.
So not to necessarily — at least my take on it is I don't dispel any of the viewpoints of why some people may not be able to get with the other artist. But I definitely look at it and go, well, if you, for an example, were inspired by so many different other artists, as I was by Miles Davis and so many other different people, right --
MUHAMMAD: — and you are able to make something that's palatable and it actually helps, that's wonderful. But if it doesn't help, then my common sense says I can't mess with it.
KELLEY: To me, this is really what hip-hop looks like. In my experience, behind the scenes, at shows --
MUHAMMAD: Except there's no ladies on there though.
LOGIC: I know. She's pointing to my album cover right now, which I'm very proud of.
KELLEY: You're right. There's no ladies on there.
LOGIC: I thought about putting --
KELLEY: I'm a bad feminist.
LOGIC: Nah, it's all good. I thought about putting Thalia on there, and creating an image for her. But I will say there is a lady.
MUHAMMAD: Where is she?
LOGIC: My lady. My wife --
MUHAMMAD: Where is she?
LOGIC: — is in the top right corner with my dog. Do you see that?
MUHAMMAD: Ah, there — I take it back.
KELLEY: Yeah, I can't see it.
LOGIC: Yeah. So she is there.
MUHAMMAD: She's there.
LOGIC: She's there.
KELLEY: Oh, I see her!
MUHAMMAD: The album cover is beautiful.
LOGIC: Thank you. Sam Spratt did it. He also did my first album cover.
MUHAMMAD: Thank you for allowing us to get our — actually, to like put my fingers on it. It's tangible. It's real. It isn't like a jpeg or something.
LOGIC: I know. This is my first copy.
MUHAMMAD: I felt the excitement as you were passing it to me. I'm like — just listening to the record The Incredible Story — and I use the word mission because that's usually when people would venture off into space or exploration.
LOGIC: Yeah. 100%.
MUHAMMAD: It's a mission. But I felt your excitement when you passed that to me, and that's a good energy, man.
LOGIC: I'm glad.
MUHAMMAD: It's a lot of things that one could be excited about, but I think the reason why I felt it is because you say a lot in this album, in just the structure of going off to this place, this planet called Paradise — is that right? And that's daring, and that's something in our makeup: we are pioneers and we venture out in also the matter of our own — survival of our existence.
LOGIC: It's incredible that you say this so — just for everybody out there listening, the best — the short synopsis is The Incredible True Story And Transformation Of The Man Who Saved The World is a script that I wrote in one sitting and it takes place in 2115. And in the year 2065, the last human footprint was left on Earth before ascending to a space station called Babel, where there's only 5 million human beings left.
Now, this album takes place — so for the last 50 years, from 2065 to 2125, we've sent 30 ships out. We've sent probes out to look for a habitable planet, and then we finally found one that we believe is habitable, called Paradise. So it is a mission between Thomas and Kai. Thomas is the space pilot. Kai is a man of infantry. They're on their way from the Babel space station to Paradise to see if in fact human life can survive and this will be our new home. And on their way, they are discussing all topics, from sex, love, hip-hop, the future, where we're going, what we're doing.
And so for me, at the end of the day, there's kind of two main — the main thing about this, about Paradise and this and all that, is I wanted to create a planet, my own planet, for me, for people who enjoy this. You know what I mean? For people who just love music and understand that this is the artist I am and this is what I'm about and this is what I represent, here's my message: peace, love, positivity. Follow your dreams. These are my raps. This is my style. This is how I do it.
And that's why I love this more than anything because, even going back to inspirations, I wear them on my sleeve. Of course, I've been inspired by Kendrick, Cole, Drake. I've been inspired by Coltrane, Miles Davis. I've been inspired by Hans Zimmer. I've been inspired by so many people. And I've been inspired kind of most of all even by Kanye who uses his inspirations and says, "F--- you. I don't care what you say. Does it sound good? Did I write this? OK. Shut the f--- up." That's how I feel.
So to be able to just kind of put all this b------- out of my head about everything, life and this and all that, and create this place where anyone is welcome that is of sound mind and a good heart. You can do this. And so I thought like I'm going to create an album that was inspired by anime and sci-fi and all the s--- that is "not cool" or this or that, but to me, I've — all the hip-hop heads I know love art and other types of inspiration. So I wanted to create this place.
And then it goes also to show about, you know, we destroyed Earth in a sense. That shows where we're going. That shows a lot about ourselves, human nature. And it's like, what is your paradise? Is your paradise heaven? Money? Success? Family? As I travel literally on this mission in my career from even on the second album to the third to the fourth to this to that, I plan to grow even more and more abstract with my lyrics because I want you, the listener — like, I have my main thing of what I mean, but I want you — what does it mean to you? That's what art is.
When I look at figures or statues or whatever and I see something, or a painting, like, cool. I don't know why the hell Leonardo Da Vinci painted this or made this. Or the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo. But how does it make me feel? That's what I want my art to do for the listener.
MUHAMMAD: Well, I don't want to lead the listener, cause I have my pleasure to really digest it. Thank you, by the way. And not just for allowing us to hear it before the release, but no, just thank you for your art and what you do.
LOGIC: That means a lot coming from you.
LOGIC: It means a lot. I really appreciate it.
MUHAMMAD: Well --
LOGIC: S---'s crazy.
MUHAMMAD: Well, just to even like you explaining the thought behind the record, and I've talked to a couple, maybe a handful, of artists who don't really think when they go into the booth, which could be cool. And I guess you get from life what you put into it.
LOGIC: I agree.
MUHAMMAD: But when it comes to music, something I'm passionate about, and knowing the reach and the power and how it transforms, it saves lives. Music does.
LOGIC: Oh, yeah.
MUHAMMAD: It allows someone to escape from a good environment, maybe a not-so-good environment. It's so many things that music is, and so I'm passionate about it. And to know that one is mindful of what the canvas, which is audio, what we put down, is important to me, because it's going to lead somewhere, whether you physically hear it or see it or not. And I'd like for my music to leave behind good.
So just, I thank you for that because it makes me feel good knowing that the younger generations are carrying that and having that much thought into what you're doing. It means a lot, especially because I think the message is two — what I got from it is two things. Going to paradise, paradise could be staring right in front of you.
LOGIC: Yeah. It was for me.
MUHAMMAD: Yeah. And so — I'm trying to find a way to say this without sounding like an old person.
LOGIC: Nah, nah. Say it.
MUHAMMAD: Well, because you may not — life may not — you gotta live it to learn from it, you know.
MUHAMMAD: And that could be a whole lot of things. Some could be regrettable or some could be like, "I wouldn't be here, had I not done this or gotten this or saw this or whatever." And so there's that aspect of it, but then it's what you learn and what can you pass on. So for you, I take the whole — I want to ask: Do you want to save the world?
LOGIC: I think the world is beyond saving at this point.
LOGIC: I just want to — I don't know. On the song "Fade Away" on this album, it's about accepting death. And I was very scared of planes for a while to the point where I was legitimately thinking about buying a tour bus, and I had never had a fear of flying. It just hit me one day, and it lasted about a year. And then one day I woke up, and I realized, "I'm so blessed to get on this plane that's going to take me to go to Paris or to Australia or Tokyo or Hawaii or anything like that. I'm so blessed to be able to do this." And I think I wasn't really scared of necessarily the plane but not being in control. So I wrote this song.
And it's like, no matter who you are — this is a personal belief. You say whatever the f--- you want. This is a personal belief. I believe that no matter who you are — religious figure, this, that, whatever — you will be forgotten in time. As long as we go — if a asteroid hits or it's another frozen era and this, that, da da da — you will be forgotten, so do what you can for this world and this civilization. But at the end of the day, before you leave, do something for yourself.
Accept that you're going to die one day. Don't just brush it off — not think about it — and do what you can to make this world a better place, your world. And your world could be your family or your best friend or yourself. But really do something for you before you go.
I don't even know why I'm saying this, man, but paradise, you said it could staring you in the face. I don't read blogs anymore, and I been saying this recently. Like, I used to, and it used to f--- me up because people could say really horrible things or, "You should do this, " or, "You should rap like this," or, "Don't rap like this," or, "Do this," or, "What are you doing?" Or da da da da da. All this other things. And it's like, man, that s--- is so unimportant.
If I can sit here with a legend like you and someone who cares about culture and music and society like yourself, and we can have a conversation about my second album that's about to be in stores everywhere and all this, I'm doing something right. I'm doing something right. And, you know, so-and-so on a blog or the internet or this or that who's sitting probably on their f------ mom's couch who's like 14 on Xbox, he doesn't belong here. He doesn't belong in my paradise.
And my paradise, honestly, it's success, and it's happiness, and it's being surrounded by beautiful, incredible people like yourselves. And it means the world — you don't understand. I just want to tell you guys. I want to tell everybody listening. This is a dream come true. I'm so happy to be here. I don't take this s--- for granted. I don't take you guys for granted. And thank you, because this is all that matters. Real m------------ recognize real. And I appreciate you guys having me. I just needed to say that.
MUHAMMAD: You're welcome.
KELLEY: That's really sweet. Thank you.
MUHAMMAD: Thank you.
MUHAMMAD: Yeah. Thank you.
KELLEY: I think a lot of it goes back to some of what we were talking — to the tree of life and the family of hip-hop and why people get so upset about subject matter or style or ways of moving that really piss them off. It's because I think people do actually take hip-hop very seriously, and there are people trying to take themselves seriously. And then when they see other people just like throwing it away --
LOGIC: Oh, yeah.
KELLEY: — it hurts them. They express it terribly and stupidly. But I think there is something in that people feel so strongly about rap music and the culture and they want to protect it. And sometimes that conversation just breaks down cause it's even a little bit subconscious. Because most of the time people don't hate you, they hate themselves.
LOGIC: That's real. But see I've never had a problem with anybody. People might have problems with me, but I've literally — everybody that I've shaken their hand and looked in the face and had a conversation with f---- with me. And they f--- with me because I'm a good person, and the only type of person who wouldn't f--- with me is an evil person. And that's just real.
And when it comes — I do not know everything. But I know so much about this culture, about this — like, Big Daddy Kane's in my phone. Like, we be talking. This is real.
MUHAMMAD: Can you just describe for those who have never had the pleasure of being in the presence of him --
LOGIC: Well, you know it's funny, cause I haven't --
KELLEY: Dark Gable is the best Twitter name of all time. All time.
LOGIC: I haven't met him yet.
MUHAMMAD: You haven't met — oh!
LOGIC: I've been talking to him for like two years. We're supposed to do a song together. All this s---.
MUHAMMAD: OK. But you've talked to him.
MUHAMMAD: You talked to him. He's the same person whether you seen him in person or not.
LOGIC: Yeah. He's a boss, yo. First of all, his presence, everything about him — yo, this is the s--- that I'm talking about. OK. Big Daddy Kane did a list. He did some interview. And he wrote this list about his favorite MCs of all time that inspire him, and I was on that list. He also put himself on that list, which I thought was funny. But I couldn't believe it. I'm like, "Yo! Are you f------ serious?"
Like, yo, I had dinner with the RZA, bro. That's the reason I even discovered y'all and discovered all — the RZA. Like, the whole reason I'm even rapping right now, I had dinner with this man, and he respected me. And he shook my hand, and he looked me in the face, you know what I mean? It was like, "I f--- with you." He wanted to have dinner with me. It wasn't like — I'm like, "Wow."
KELLEY: Where did you guys go?
LOGIC: We went — I forgot. Some hotel in like Beverly Hills. It was some fun bougie s---. It was tight.
LOGIC: But anyway, it was incredible. That's what I love about — all this other s--- doesn't matter. It's only the power you give it.
LOGIC: Like --
MUHAMMAD: You're a human being so you're going to naturally be affected by certain things.
LOGIC: Oh, 100%.
MUHAMMAD: If it's something that's irritating your skin, you're going to scratch it.
LOGIC: But if you're OK with it — you have to be OK with yourself. And just like you said, most people don't hate you; they hate themselves. Or there's a problem that they have with themselves. I wake up every day, and I have legends texting me, calling me, telling me, "Keep doing what you're doing; you're doing a great job." So if I got legends telling me this and then I got — you can have anybody with a f------ Twitter account who thinks they write for Rolling Stone nowadays like telling you — that's real s--- — telling you why you're not doing something good.
And here's another thing. I've experienced it. I've had people tell me, like haters who're like, "Man" — like half-haters — like, "Man, that s---'s whatever. You should write like this." And it's like, yo, if I write like this and try to please that person, then they're going to be like, "See? You switching it up. Now you're not being yourself."
LOGIC: So there's no winning. There's no winning. You just have to be happy with who you are. All this s--- doesn't matter. I love how I sound, who I sound like. Especially on this album, man, because you go through — yo, I can't tell you how many times I rapped exactly like Q-Tip or RZA or Kanye or this or this. I literally have thousands of songs in the last 11 years as a young MC where I've emulated everybody and their baby mama's sister's cousin's style so that I could understand it. So that I could get it and know.
And now that's why — the way that I flow now, it is very, extremely unique. Nobody got flow like me. And that's not saying I'm better at this or that. No. Literally, nobody raps the way that I rap. Every four bars I'm changing my style. I'm doing this; I'm doing that. And it's a culmination. It's a respect. It's an ancestry of hip-hop and music as a whole in me.
KELLEY: That's my favorite thing about what you do: is that you switch it up so much within a song.
LOGIC: Well, thanks, girl. Appreciate that.
KELLEY: Also, Maryland.
LOGIC: Yeah. Swag.
MUHAMMAD: You said Maryland.
LOGIC: "Maryland. Murr-land."
MUHAMMAD: You know what I do want to ask you? OK. So you told us how you really feel about bloggers and those people who don't really --
LOGIC: I don't mind blogs. I just don't read the comments. Yeah.
MUHAMMAD: No, no.
LOGIC: It doesn't matter.
MUHAMMAD: But can you talk about your crew real quick, just your people, your team?
LOGIC: Oh, yeah.
KELLEY: Go through the album.
LOGIC: Yeah. So everybody — yeah. I'm going to go on here, so for those of you who, during the week, that might either have this album --
KELLEY: We'll put the picture on our website.
LOGIC: — in your hand or the picture, so on the far left with the crazy hair is Dylan. That's actually Rafael Saadiq's nephew.
MUHAMMAD: Smashing Hearts. Shout out.
LOGIC: Smashing Hearts. To him, the baby-face-looking m-----------, the big dude, that's Big Lenbo. To him --
KELLEY: Can we talk about how much he sounds like Fat Joe?
LOGIC: Well, people say Fat Joe. Other people say Action. Other people say Pun.
MUHAMMAD: I hear Pun and Joell Ortiz, actually.
KELLEY: I just hear all Fat Joe.
LOGIC: He always says it's the fat throat. That's what he says. It's the fat throat.
LOGIC: I kind of agree with him there. Yeah. There's DJ Rhetoric. There's Kevin Randolph who's an incredible producer and voice actor on this album. Above Kevin Randolph is the dude who looks like a ghost, is Bobby Campbell, my engineer. And then there's a very handsome guy in the middle of this cover. And then to the right of that is Steve Blum, the voice actor. Above Steve Blum is 6ix, my in-house producer. And then between 6ix's arm and my head is Sam Spratt.
KELLEY: Oh, s---.
LOGIC: The person who actually drew the artwork.
KELLEY: Oh, yeah. Oh, weird. That's kind of creepy.
LOGIC: I had him hide — yup. And then to the right of Steve is Chris Thornton from The Frontrunnaz with his wife Dria. She's all over the album. To the right of him is my tour manager Momberg. And then up above Chris is Steve Wireman who's just an incredible rock star, amazing musician. All these people and so many more that aren't on here are what compile me, are what make me.
I know I am damn good. I am so f------ good at what I do, because I wake up every day and do nothing but this. Every day. I know how good I am, and I know how much I still have left to accomplish. But I want everybody out there to know I am nothing without the people that have sacrificed time from their lives to help me get here, and s--- doesn't mean anything without them.
Because people see Logic but they don't see the people like Chris, my manager, who worked from the ground up to get Visionary Music Group have some legs, to then sign with Def Jam. Or the people who've shot my music videos or this or this. We'll be here talking about them all day if I was. But I just want you to know, like, I am a fraction of the Logic brand. These are the people that actually made the thing that is the most important, which is the message get out there.
Because, at the end of the day, that's what the fans say. I know my music is damn good, and I know people enjoy it, and I know people love it. But you know the funny part? That s--- doesn't mean anything compared to the message and what it means to the people who absorb it and consume it. And so thank you to everybody. Thank you to everybody in the other room.
Thank you to Harrison, you m-----------. Thank you to Big John, you black m-----------. I love you! You are black and beautiful. I always tell him that all the time. Who else is in the room? Is Baja in there? Shout out to my driver right now, Baja. I mean, I don't have a driver. That makes me sound extra. No. I didn't mean it like that.
KELLEY: The man who drove the Sprinter.
LOGIC: The man who drove the Sprinter today.
MUHAMMAD: The man — but that's just speaks to who you are, cause he's just here. You probably going to spend maybe six hours of your life with him.
MUHAMMAD: And he's gonna go on and you may never see him again so the fact --
LOGIC: You know it's funny --
LOGIC: I thought I would never see him again. He remembered me, and I remembered him too. One of my first times in L.A. he drove me. And then he told me today, he was like, "Man —" he said that he went back that day, and was saying, "Oh, I met the coolest guy." Blah, blah, blah. He was saying he never does that. And it meant a lot to me.
LOGIC: I care about how people perceive me, man.
MUHAMMAD: Well, it just speaks to your character because you brought him up. You didn't have to mention it. He's not your permanent — he's your not your crew.
KELLEY: He also didn't sit in the car.
LOGIC: Yeah. I didn't want to have him sit in the car. I was like, "F--- all that, right? You should come hang out."
MUHAMMAD: That's dope.
LOGIC: But anyway, I'm just a f------ guy. I'm just a dude. That's another thing. Just cause I rap — and I know it's almost time, but like, just cause I rap, that don't mean s---. I treat you with respect like I would treat the president or the person who takes my trash out, you know what I'm saying? Like who collects it. The garbage man. Like, man, none of this s--- matters.
And that's why I do other things and people'll be like, "Oh, you in a relationship? Why you in a relationship? You know you gon' cheat." Or, "You know this or that." And it's like, "No, I never cheated on a woman in my life. Are you f------ kidding me?" You know how long I was — I wouldn't even use the term celibate — but how long I wouldn't have sex with women while I was single and rapping and on the road? Cause first of all, you don't know what the f--- you're going to catch. You don't know if she gon' try to flip the script, and also, me, I need a personal relationship to be involved with a woman intimately. I need to know her.
And I ain't definitely going to f--- no chick who's calling me Logic. Get the f--- out of here. I am Bobby. My name is Sir Robert Bryson Hall II. I'm a regular m-----------.
MUHAMMAD: You're not regular when you got "Sir."
KELLEY: I know right?
MUHAMMAD: And "the second." You got a prefix and suffix in your name. I'm like, "I thought I had a long name." So I read your name, I was like, "Yo. This official."
LOGIC: Swag. 1738.
MUHAMMAD: Oh my gosh. I'm so happy you came here.
LOGIC: I'm happy. Can I come back? Are y'all just f------ with me?
MUHAMMAD: Cause I have other questions to songs specifically, but I want people to really just build with it.
LOGIC: Please make this part one.
MUHAMMAD: You know what? The creator has a plan and you roll with it. So many times I wanted to knock on your door and be like, "Man, we should do a joint together." But I respected the space of whatever the will of the creator is and was like, "If this supposed to be, it's supposed to be." I knew you would be in this couch for NPR, Microphone Check.
MUHAMMAD: I knew Microphone Check was definitely part of our destiny, but I don't know what the future holds beyond that. But I certainly like — this is — you're welcome to come back. You can kick it with us anytime.
LOGIC: Thank you. I'm about whatever. If you want to make records, if you want to hang out, if you want to watch movies, you want to have lunch, you want to this, you want to be friends, I'm about whatever. I'm a very open person. Like, as long as you're a cool person, I f--- with you. That's it. If you're not a good person, cool. But listen. I'm excited that I'm going on — so I'm going on this fan tour to go visit fans --
MUHAMMAD: Which is dope! You came up with this idea? How'd you come up with the idea?
LOGIC: Yeah. I mean, we just thought about what's a great way to give back. So literally I got this tour bus, we wrapped it up, and I'm going to cities all across America to knock on kid's doors at their houses, set up, and play them my album before it comes out.
KELLEY: Do they have any idea that you're gonna do it?
LOGIC: Well, we had to --
KELLEY: Is it going to be like Ed McMahon knock on your door?
LOGIC: I wish. But it was like, legally to make sure it was set up, it was all --
KELLEY: I thought so.
LOGIC: Cause it ain't just kids. You know, it's grown folk that work and this and that. So I wanted to make sure that it was cool. So they found out a couple days before that we're going to be coming. So that is good. But they're still going to be surprised. It's still going to be amazing, and I'm excited.
And then I gotta do some signings, and the album comes out. After that, when I come back here, I gotta spend some time with my f------ wife, yo. I gotta spend some time with my wife.
KELLEY: Go on a honeymoon.
LOGIC: Cause I just got married. But I want to sit down. I want to — you got my number, right?
LOGIC: Cause you know I texted you back and you just left me hanging. What the f---?
KELLEY: He's terrible at texting.
MUHAMMAD: No! It was in the middle of a conversation. It wasn't like I didn't just — ignored you.
LOGIC: No. He didn't ignore me.
MUHAMMAD: No. It wasn't that. I was just like, "Alright. Let me hit you back." And I was excited to talk to you, and it was in the middle — my life is chaotic.
LOGIC: I'm f------ with you. Of course. I know.
MUHAMMAD: It's chaotic, and it was in the middle of a conversation. It was like, "I'll be right back. I want to give you time." Cause I actually wanted to sit with you. I didn't want to text. I wanted to build.
MUHAMMAD: And it's been chaotic.
LOGIC: Yeah. I know. I'm just kidding.
MUHAMMAD: Even still to this moment.
LOGIC: It's all good.
MUHAMMAD: Like you want to get to your baby after this, and I'm waiting for this moment to just — this'll be my calm moment for the next maybe eight hours. Of the rest of the week. And then --
LOGIC: Wow. Enjoy it.
MUHAMMAD: Yeah, I am, because it's not going to be calm again until November 24th. God willing. I come home. Yeah. It's crazy.
LOGIC: Well, I will be good. So I just want you to know even though there's a bunch of stuff going on, I'm saying this on the record and on some real homie s---, I want to finish this. Please make this part one. I want to come back and I want to talk about — now, cause we kind of — we talked about the struggle. We talked about where I came from, which was from something, and all this.
So I want to come back now and talk about, like, the victory lap. I want to talk about these songs. I want to talk about all this exciting awesome s---. So listeners out there who have never heard of me before thank you for tuning in; I appreciate this, you know what I'm saying? 1738.
MUHAMMAD: You know what we should actually?
MUHAMMAD: Release date. November 13th.
KELLEY: Oh s---. You going to compete?
LOGIC: Oh, when we should do it?
MUHAMMAD: No, no, no, no. Tribe Called Quest 25th anniversary --
LOGIC: Oh, yeah.
KELLEY: The reissue.
MUHAMMAD: — Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm --
LOGIC: That's right.
MUHAMMAD: — will release the same day.
LOGIC: I know.
KELLEY: You and Jada and Jeezy and --
MUHAMMAD: So we can — really?
LOGIC: Jeezy. Ty Dolla $ign.
MUHAMMAD: There's a lot happening on that --
KELLEY: Oh yeah, the Ty.
LOGIC: One Direction, Justin Bieber.
MUHAMMAD: So we can come back and share notes on it.
MUHAMMAD: That's dope. Thank you so much.
LOGIC: Thank you.
KELLEY: Thank you.
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