Following the release of six projects in six years -- culminating with his breakthrough album The Incredible True Story, which has moved 545,000 album-equivalent units since November 2015, according to Nielsen Music -- Logic found himself on the road crippled with anxiety during a co-headlining tour with G-Eazy. The Gaithersburg, Md., native had become one of hip-hop’s most celebrated outliers, known for his jocular delivery and pencil-sharp rhymes, but he was overworked and away from his wife, singer Jessica Andrea, whom he married in October 2015. Up until then, his music hinged upon light boasts and elaborate concepts; The Incredible True Story takes place aboard a spaceship in search of an Earth-like planet called Paradise. But Logic came to a crossroads when it was time to record his third major-label album: continue spinning fantastical stories or confront his difficult past and personal issues?
Logic split the difference: Everybody (out May 5) marks the first time he has lyrically focused on life as a biracial artist, his political views (there’s a foam hand mounted on the wall of his rec room that reads “Fuck Trump”) and the pain he endured from his drug-abusing mother and father. But the album is also presented as a sci-fi fable about a man named Atom (voiced by radio personality Big Von) who dies and, upon meeting God (played by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson), learns he must be reincarnated as different people before he can enter the afterlife.
It’s a novel concept, but it’s when Logic digs deeper that the album -- previously titled AfricAryaN, a nod to his racial identity that was met with considerable social media blowback last fall -- plumbs a depth that previously had been missing. On “Take It Back,” he stops midsong to deliver a tirade about how his white mother, whom he hasn’t spoken to since his 21st birthday, used to sling racist epithets at her son. “As a child, it was very confusing,” he says, “because one minute my mom’s talking about praising Jesus, and the next she’s calling me a n—r.”
Everybody has other serious moments that stray from autobiography. Logic criticizes Kanye West for remaining too quiet in protesting against President Donald Trump on “America” (“I’m going to stand up and say what you will not for the culture,” he says of West, a personal hero). And he raps from the perspective of someone calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on “1-800-273-8255,” which features Alessia Cara and Khalid. “He has dealt with a lot of struggle in his life,” says Cara of Logic. “He has grown from all of it. His whole thing is peace, love, positivity; he has been projecting that outside of and in his music, and I’m glad he’s doing that.”
But at its heart, Everybody is a celebration of diversity, within and around Logic. Lead single “Black Spiderman,” which peaked at No. 87 on the Billboard Hot 100, is one of his most empowering hits to date -- he points to the lyric “Do what you love, and don’t wonder what it could be” as emblematic of his intention. “This is the fight for equality for every man, woman, child, race, religion, color, creed, sexual orientation,” he says of the politics in his music. “If you don’t like that, you’re an evil person.”
At home, Logic seems more relaxed. He recently got the phrases “Happy wife, happy life” and “Balance yourself” tattooed on his hands, and sees a therapist when he isn’t touring. While he is fully cognizant of the impact that substances have had on his parents, causing him to avoid booze most of his life, he now enjoys the occasional alcoholic beverage. Logic is focused on his future with Jessica (he hopes to have three children) while helping listeners cope with their own problems.
“I wanted to tell the stories of other people who may not have the voice I do,” he says. “I felt the necessity to discuss these things, because I am proud to be me, I am proud of where I come from, and at the same time, it’s also bigger than me.”