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If art truly does imitate life, then Logic‘s major-label debut, Under Pressure, should sound like a chaotic mess. Instead, the Gaithersburg, Maryland, MC took all of the horrors he experienced growing up and turned it into a thoughtful 12-track album, which was released on Tuesday (October 21).
“He saw a lot of different things that he shouldn’t have seen; his mom being abused by different men, my addiction, her addiction,” Logic’s father, Bobby Hall, told MTV News during a trip to the rapper’s hometown.
If you’ve been listening to Logic’s mixtapes (Young, Broke, and Infamous and his Young Sinatra series), then you’ve heard at least part of the story. As a kid, Logic grew up poor, witnessed violence, faced physical and mental abuse and had to cope with his parents’ drug addictions.
Logic, who was born Sir Robert Bryson Hall (his friends call him Bobby), remembers one time when his mother choked him in a near-death experience. “She almost killed me. I was a little kid,” he recalled. “I was just hyper, I was running around having a good time, whatever, and she just had this breakdown, almost like she was murdering me. I’ll never forget it.”
His father, once addicted to crack but now clean for two years, also left his son with scars of a different kind. “One of my earliest memories that I remember of my dad … he took me to D.C. and he picked up some chick, they went into this complex and left me in the car for like six hours. I was like 5 years old,” he recalled. “So, I’m sure they were fooling around and doing drugs and smoking and stuff like that, which was crazy.”
Logic found refuge in hip-hop, harboring dreams of being a rapper since he was a little boy. “The only time I can obtain my goals and my dreams is when I was asleep,” he said about his childhood escapes from reality. “I would go to sleep and I was on MTV, so I just wanted to rap, because It was the only thing I was good at. I couldn’t get piano lessons, violin lessons — all I had was my voice.”
When he was 13 years old, Logic met Mary Jo LaFrance, the woman who would eventually take him in and give him the home that his parents could not. He recorded a number of his early songs under Mary Jo’s roof.
With Under Pressure, Logic pieces together his tragedy and turns it into triumph. On “Intro,” he sings passionately about his love for OutKast, making “these music-lovers remember again” and looking for sunshine “in a world of grey.”
“Turn on the T.V., let it wash my brain/ Pretend that family is my family to avoid the pain,” he raps.
Then there’s the title track “Under Pressure,” where he shares recent voicemails from his brothers, sisters and dad. You’d think a major-label record on Def Jam and rap fame would ease things, but Logic hasn’t been able to fully escape the family drama.
“My music is 100 percent a form of therapy. It’s the only thing that allows me to say anything and everything that I want to say,” he explained. “Especially on the album. It wasn’t until the album that I truly mastered the art of therapy I guess, if that makes any sense.”