Logic, born Sir Robert bryson Hall II, is one of 2014's biggest surprises. Under Pressure (Def Jam, Oct. 21), the debut LP from the 24-year-old Maryland native, is a gem, with a mix of earnest raps and lush beats reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole.
Singles "Under the Pressure" and "Driving Miss Daisy" featuring Childish Gambino have yet to catch on, selling less than 42,000 combined, but industry forecasts still suggest the album will sell 65,000 to 70,000 units its first week. That means Logic will vie with T.I.'s Paperwork, also out Oct. 21, as the top R&B/hip-hop debut that week. Here, Logic breaks down six things you should know about him and his surprising come-up.
1. Don't judge him by the way he looks.
"I'm biracial, but it's not about being black, it's not about being white, it's about me being a person of mixed race and being proud of who I am. When you get into this game it's such an image thing: everybody is like 'he's corny because he's white' or whatever, so on my mixtapes I was like, 'Fuck you guys.' I'm proud to be who I am."
2. His childhood was rough…
"I come from low income housing Section 8, welfare [and] food stamps. It was definitely a crazy life and that's what you're going to be hearing on this album. I have seven brothers and sisters and I'm the only one who looks white because my mother has had children by all black men and then my father has children with other women as well. The crazy part is my mother, she was prejudiced. She was racist— but why would she have children by black men? Exactly. It's very weird. When I was a young boy, there was a lot of mental anguish that she would inflict on me. She stayed in the house all day, popped pills and drank. One minute she was a bible thumper and then the next she's cursing up a storm. She would talk to me when I was only like 6 years old and go into detail about the times that she was raped. I left home when I was 17-years old because she's got a lot of fucking problems. I don't talk to her now — I haven't talked to her since I was 21."
3 …but music is his therapy.
"A lot of shit didn't make sense [in my childhood], but I was just like alright, I'm just gonna write these raps, I'm not gonna pay too much attention to all this. The album was extremely therapeutic because I get to be honest, I get to talk about who I am, where I come from. On the song "Buried Alive," it's almost like the instrumental is a therapist. My dad felt a certain way about hearing the album at first but I really didn’t give a damn because it wasn’t about him, it wasn't even about me: It was just about telling a story that hopefully the listener can relate to. It's so somebody who may have been in my situation can understand it's not as bleak as it may seem."
4. He was raised on (and by) 90s hip-hop.
"I first really got into hip hop when I was about 14 and I saw the movie Kill Bill. The score was done by the RZA and I was like, who's that? Then I started doing my research and I found Wu-Tang Clan, Method Man, Redman, Dead Prez, Big L, Big Daddy Kane, all these really incredible artists. The first album I ever bought though was The Roots, Do You Want More. I love that album. The narrator on my album is a shout to Tribe Caled Quest's [Midnight Marauders]. I found a home in Wu, Tribe, Nas and Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt. I never had a father that was there, so in many ways these people’s stories was like a father explaining to his son the facts of life. That’s I think why it resonated so much deeper with me."
5. Live shows are his bread and butter.
"That's where I've gotten everything from —all my funds. [Album sales] ain't going in my pocket bro. You got it twisted — that goes to the label. I make my fucking money off merchandise and off hard tickets. The biggest part of why I am where I am today is not only because people can relate to me and my story but because I hit the road and actually saw them face to face and shook their hands."