For up-and-coming emcees, being featured on the cover of XXL's famed "Freshman Class" issue is a double-edged sword: on one hand, it's a hip hop rite of passage, affirming your status as one of those next level artists to whom the world will pay attention. But the pressure and expectations from the hype could cut through even the toughest of the almost famous.
After recently getting his turn in that coveted cover spotlight and signing with another hip hop game changer, Def Jam, Maryland MC Logic made sure his presence was felt, dropping his latest mixtape, Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever.
On this, his fourth mixtape, the 23-year-old lyricist shows remarkable growth and adaptability. Add to that his unmistakable chemistry with the mixtape's primary producers, Swiff D, 6ix, Kevin Randolph and C-Sick, and you have one of the best offerings of the year so far.
Lyrically, Logic comes out the gate running with "Welcome to Forever," which featured the East Coast wunderkind detailing some of his finer moments on the path to stardom, including his first time meeting one of his heroes, Nas — surprisingly, the Queensbridge legend quoted L's lyrics back to him.
On the next track, "925," Young Sinatra talks about the mentality of pursuing your dream and having to say "f--k a 9-5" over Swiff D's Just Blaze circa early 2000's-sounding beat, before dropping one of his better verses on the C-Sick produced banger "5AM."
Getting further into the tape, on the A$AP Rocky-esque "Break It Down," Logic shows off his versatility spitting his impressive machine gun flow over the bass heavy track (he even has his chopped and screwed alter ego providing the ad-libs a la A$AP.) Then, on "Nasty," produced by the one and only Don Cannon, he shows what happens when his swag reaches capacity with lines like, "I'm hazardous/you woulda sworn I was from Nazareth. I'm resurrecting hip hop like it was Lazarus."
Other gems on Welcome to Forever include "On the Low," which also boasts a standout verse from Kid Ink; "The Come Up;" and one that is sure to satisfy all of the underground hip hop heads: "Walk On By," which offers a new take on the old Dionne Warwick hit.
Though there were a couple of songs that could be written off as filler, Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever was one of those rare mixtapes that could have been released as an album. The production was dope (expect to hear a lot more from C-Sick in the near future) and even the skits were worth a listen.
If this mixtape is any indication of what's to come for Logic, the obvious conclusion is XXL got this one right.
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(Photo: Visionar Music Group, Def Jam)
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