A lot has happened for Logic since he’s appeared on the XXL Freshmen cover in 2013.
Shortly after getting recognition for his spot last year, the Maryland native inked a deal with Def Jam and went straight to work on his major label debut. This was supplemented by a vigorous tour schedule with the likes of Kid Cudi and Big Sean, as well as later on with his own Visionary Music Group artists. That same year also marked the release of his most successful mixtape, Young Sinatra: Welcome To Forever, which featured his lyrical prowess in tracks like “Roll Call” and “Walk On By.”
It seems like Logic is set up well now for the year ahead. He’s currently on the road for his While You Wait Tour, and steadily supplying his fans with new music to hold them over. Fresh off the release of his laid-back cut “Alright” featuring Big Sean, Logic kicked it at the XXL offices to speak on his first mixtape, quitting his odd jobs to pursue music, the future of Visionary Music Group and more. —Eric Diep
logic feature debut album
On his first mixtape, Young, Broke, And Infamous:
Logic: It’s crazy that you ask me that, "What were you trying to do?" I think no rapper in that position knows what they’re trying to do. They're just like, "Okay, I can rap, I’m just going to put the mixtape together and who knows what’s gonna happen?" I released it independently and did like 1,000 downloads in a day. I was like, "Oh shit, 1,000 downloads, this is crazy." I remember my video had like 100 views, I’m like "Oh!" 'cause I don’t know, what do I know, like, five people? [Laughs] So the fact that anybody’s checking this out, I’m like, "Aw, this is amazing." Being there just at the crib and just making music and linking with 6ix, you know, that’s where we first started.
I’m constantly working 'cause I never want to be complacent. I think a lot of people, artists in general, can get ahead of themselves and feel themselves too much, and live in the present moment. I’m constantly thinking about the future and I do my best to not do it at the expense of the present, because you want to enjoy where you’re at and take it all in. But not to the point where it goes to your head.
Who knows? This album could be considered a classic. It could flop. Well, it ain’t gonna flop, 'cause I got fans like shit. But my point is, commercially, who knows what’s gonna happen? But I’m always prepared and I’m always planning, so if it’s considered to be a classic I’m not gonna let it be out forever and not put out another project and then people think that can’t even compare to the first. So that’s why I’m already working on the second, and the concept for it, and the sound of it, 'cause the first album’s really dark and the second one’s like—I want it to be brighter and fun, you know?
logic first mixtape interview
On working odd jobs to pursue a career in music:
Logic: When I was working on some of [that first mixtape], I was working at Joe’s Crab Shack, which is like this restaurant and shit [Laughs]. And then I ended up quitting that and that was my last job and I was just like fuck it. I'ma find a way. I’m not gonna focus on this other shit when this is what I want to do. This is what I wanna do more than anything. And yeah, it cost me—there were some times when I was homeless or didn’t have any money, or food, or anywhere to sleep, or anywhere to stay and it was a big sacrifice that took its toll on me physically [and] mentally. But it was worth it.
I think you have to believe in yourself enough to even step forward and do it. A lot of rappers will just be all like, "Hey, what up. Yeah I rap, cuz, here’s my mixtape," or whatever the fuck. But I think that’s like, "If it works." If shit works out, like, fuck it. But for me, I was like, it has to work, I have to make it work. But it also is rolling the dice, because, unfortunately, I didn’t finish high school, and it’s something that I plan to do one day, not only for myself but for my children.
The reason that I didn’t do it or haven’t gotten my GED yet is because that’s not what I wanted to do during that time. I found that I was going to those classes and doing those things because that’s what other people wanted me to do, when I wanted to focus on music. So I was like, fuck everybody, but I did it in a realistic manner. And I say all this to say, when it comes to rolling the dice, if you’re of sound mind, if you wanna be a doctor, essentially on paper, you go to school, you take a test, you get your degree. There are books that show you how to do it. Like I said, if you’re of sound mind. Same thing with being a lawyer and other careers. But with rap there’s no guidelines, there’s no test.
logic odd jobs crab shack
On sharing more of his life's struggles on his upcoming album:
Logic: It’s funny because I tap into that a lot on the album. So there was my brother-in-law back then and then my brothers were also selling crack, and my brother-in-law taught me. Well, two separate ones taught me how to cook crack, one when I was 12 and another when I already knew what was going on. But he really broke it down in-depth about selling it and everything, and that’s when I was living in my sister’s house. You know, there were babies running around, there’s crack cooking on the stove, it’s insane. But looking at me—this is what I always say—I feel like, honestly, and not to sound arrogant at all, but what I feel like when it comes down to this album, what’s going to separate me from everybody else, it’s not the music. It’s not like we gotta go to radio and this and that to be successful.
I have a crazy fan base, the music is good, and everyone knows I can rap my ass off. That’s not what it is. It’s who is Logic, and why should we care? And a big thing is, they look at me and they see the fact that I look like this white dude and that I speak “correctly,” like that’s fucking whatever. And they see what I’m about, you know, just being positive and spreading a positive message, and they see, like, nobody wants to care about that. Nobody gives a shit about that, you know? We all have this running joke that if my album drops, I should probably just pick up a gun and dye my hair pink and then everyone will pay attention and buy my albums, because it’s like, rather than the music, we focus on other things, you know what I’m sayin’?
The album is all 100 percent the story. Like it’s crazy. I’ve been saying with the mixtape, I’ve been telling you—you know my father and mother were both drug addicts and alcoholics, you know my dad smoked crack, you know my dad wasn’t in my life. You know my mother was stabbed, you know I came up on welfare and food stamps in Section 8. But I’m actually taking you to what it was like. I got a record on the album where I’m laying in bed and talking about the things going through my mind at that age with this eviction notice on my door and my homie going to jail for attempted murder for slicing this dude’s stomach open...having his guts fall on the cement. That was my best friend, you know?
logic cooking selling crack brother
On his upcoming EP, While You Wait:
Logic: It’s gonna be for free and we’re looking into releasing it. It’s one of those things, like, honestly, people just want the album so bad that if things line up before the EP we might just fuck around and unleash the album and get you guys ready and release the singles and the videos. So who knows, but I think that’s the fun part about being in my position and having the fan base that I have. I know what they want and I know what I’m prepared to give them. I know that at any day of the week I could either give them a compilation of the free songs that we’ve already been dropping or I could just be like, here’s the first single from my album, and release that and everybody would be like, “Holy shit.” We can kind of do whatever we want, which is fun. But that still is the plan, to release that.
logic EP while you wait
On the future of Visionary Music Group:
Look out for QuEst, 'cause he’s gonna be a Freshman real soon. That dude is crazy. QuESt is the man, he’s from Miami. Visionary, you know we want it to be, more or less, like the modern day Roc-A-Fella of our own. Not to live in their shadows by any means, but what they did and how they ran shit. Even with Def Jam, Def Jam don’t tell me shit. I do what the fuck I want, when I want. Even in my contract it says full creative control; however, they are really good people. They’re really excited and they’re ready to go, but as far as Visionary goes we’re planning to do whatever the hell we want. We wanna sign not just rappers; like, we have another artist called Jon Bellion
. He’s a singer. He makes pop music, but he’s very hip-hop-inspired; you can hear a lot of Kanye in him and different aspects of music in general. We just wanna have fun, dude, have a good time and release awesome music. So that’s the future of Visionary, just good music in general.
logic interview visionary music group