On Friday, February 24th, Logic dropped his first independent and ninth overall album, titled College Park. This concept album is named after his hometown in Maryland, and takes the listener through a day in his life with his friends as they drive to his first-ever live performance in 2011.
The adventurous and introspective tracks offer a new dimension to his discography, and gives fans a great taste of what his music could look like without mainstream pressure or issues with his record label. I’d say this personal approach made College Park one of his stronger albums.
The album starts off with an admittedly rough introduction on “Cruisin’ Through the Universe,” as its off-putting vocals and unsettling sounds make it a tough listen, but the feature, RZA’s stellar verse carries the track. At the end of the song, Logic and one of his friends Big Lenbo get in the car to start their journey to the show.
The second track “Wake Up” doesn’t stand out much either, with a repetitive but solid hook with a good beat that sounds low-effort, but it certainly introduces the back-and-forth nature of the album as he hops from the past to the present in his rap style.
The next song, “Lightsabers,” reverts back to Logic’s 2011 side, bringing in a feature from one of his friends, C Dot Castro, that really stood out to me from the album. Songs like “Feel Good” and “925” from his 2013 mixtape Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever give a similar grimy yet celebratory sound.
Lyrics like, “I did it for the money and I did it for the fame… And did it for the kid with the dream, rappin’ in the mirror in his room as a teen, hopin’ that he’d be seen by the world,” showcase his journey from a poor kid in government housing with drug-addicted parents to his eventual success. His experience being surrounded by gangs and violence, and even being homeless at one point, serve as a pinnacle of inspiration for Logic throughout this album.
Up next is “Clone Wars III,” which was one of my favorite songs on the album. The chill vibe felt similar to his “Man i is” track from No Pressure. “Clone Wars III,” has a solid beat with great horns and unabashed lyrics, making it easy to love. Here, Logic raps about how he used to want to be other famous rappers like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, but now can appreciate his own success, as he discusses his interests with the line “Anime-lovin’, video game-playin.’ These hobbies are deemed ‘nerdy’ and are oftentimes criticized in rap culture, so Logic’s choice to include them exhibits his growth and heightened sense of self.
Logic’s next song, “Redpill VII,” touches on topics of mental health. It starts with another great line, “My flow non-binary, that means it never miss.” The double entendre in this lyric is that his rapping is never a “miss”, as in always being good, and calling it non-binary because non-binary people typically do not use gendered pronouns.
In this track, Logic also touches on his derealization experiences and anxiety, experience and advice that sound similar to his “Anziety” track off of his album Everybody. The line, “Suffer from anxiety, through these lyrics, I cope,” helps show how he has used his music to help with those issues. The slow, boom-bap drums sound a lot like his previous album Vinyl Days as well. The song ends with a spoken piece by English singer Lucy Rose, commenting on how most kids from College Park are “born to die young” and chase millions while suffering from poverty, giving more detail on how difficult Logic’s childhood was.
“Playwright” comes in after, incorporating lighthearted lyrics about family and living a more relaxed lifestyle today. The track “Ayo” included a nice hook with singing from Logic, as well as other strong features from Bun B and Lil Keke, and sampled ‘Man i is’ too. Accompanied with other horns and good background vocals, it was a lighter listen. “Village Slum” gets more into Logic’s upbringing with more dialogue about his childhood, saying, “Growing up I was an AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) kid,” but the nice flute and calming vocals, as well as slow strumming make the sadder song a similarly relaxing track.
On “Gaithersburg Freestyle,” Logic and his two closest friends from College Park who are also both musical artists in their own right, Big Lenbo and C Dot Castro, spit bars at a high speed with an uptempo beat in the background about how they used to survive together in the streets. It is another one of my favorites from the album, and one I assume will have the most commercial success. It’s inclusion is reminiscent of other collaborations with Big Lenbo and C Dot Castro, such as the song “Kickstyle” from Vinyl Days, as well as “Young Jesus” with Big Lenbo and “Disgusting” with C Dot Castro, making the song a return to frequent collaborators too.
“Self-Medication” offers up a great competitor for best album feature, where Family Guy creator and voice actor Seth MacFarlane offers his best Frank Sinatra impression, adding an incredible sound that adds to the album’s range and furthers its ties to Logic’s greater story.
MacFarlane is a friend of Logic’s who collaborated on Logic’s very early 2014 track “Stewie Griffin.” Frank Sinatra’s sound was a major inspiration for Logic, referenced in many of his early mixtape titles.
On Logic and Joey Bad***’s “Shimmy,” an ode to ODB’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” Joey’s great future fits really well with the otherwise more trap-style solid track. This track is definitely more about Logic’s thoughts on the media and rap culture in the present, and the line, “Why I gotta rap like this for you to pay attention,” provides commentary about his issues with rap culture today.
One other notable track from the album to me was “Come on Down,” a song that dealt with the drugs and violence of Logic’s past life and was very reminiscent of his earlier mixtape work, as well as the song titled with the coordinates of college park. Even though its rapping didn’t seem to fit the beat that well, the erratic flow doesn’t hurt the otherwise great track that keeps the focus on his past life.
The other skits on the album also include the arrival of Logic’s producer, 6ix, culminating in his eventual arrival at the venue for his performance.
In Logic’s outro, “Lightyear,” the eight-minute track details Logic finding himself and intending to spread a positive message with his rap, sampling Kendrick Lamar’s “Rigamortous.” The track includes a conversation between him and Big Lenbo, where Big Lenbo assures him that his fans will love him even if he doesn’t rap, and the song ends beautifully with Logic on the guitar singing about how retirement has helped him and how he looks forward to his next chapter as an artist.
This album hit everything a fan like me could have wanted, and Logic truly intended it to be for the fans. It brings us into his life twelve years ago, taking subtle shots at the rap culture of the time, and bringing in tons of fun and vibrant tracks that make us eager for more.
The most common gripe with the album is the often lengthy skits that can be hard to listen to when songs are added to playlists. While I agree they will become annoying, the album still has a creative flow; the skits are clearly intended to be standalone and not to be put into a playlist.
All in all, this has to be a top three album of Logic’s for me, and I look forward to all of the experiments and new music that will come without the limitations of his label. College Park earns a 9.5/10 for me, its only deduction being the semi-low effort displayed on some of the songs.