The Annual Freshman Class Cypher put out by XXL Magazine is something like a rap world debutante ball — a chance for the genre’s most promising hopefuls to prove their mettle in rap’s oldest battle tradition.
When the little-known Logic made XXL’s class of 2013, the response was mostly indignation. Who the hell is this guy? And why did he make the cut over, say, Chief Keef?
Logic responded quickly and fiercely. Sandwiched between Dizzy Wright and Angel Haze, the Maryland-born rapper threw down a verse encapsulating his best and most baffling traits: the hyper-speed flow and the Sinatra comparisons, rhyming Magneto with mosquito.
His coup de grace was a hip-hop theory of relativity: “E=MC squared, nah, E=eater of emcees beware.”
It’s nerd rap at it’s finest, just toeing the line between woke and wack. Soon after the cypher, Logic signed with Def Jam and delivered two full-length albums in successive years. Both records display his penchant for Kendrick Lamar-worthy technique and Drake-esque bravado.
But J. Cole might be Logic’s closest spiritual guide, namely for his positive lyrics, rapid fan base and the persistent critique that he’s completely corny. Look no further than Logic’s latest release, 2015’s The Incredible True Story. A self-described “motion picture sci-fi epic,” the album’s hardscrabble tales are backed by vocal interludes tracing a deep-space dystopian plot as told by robots and cosmonauts.
So is there some merit to the corniness claim? Sure, but it’s hard not to be swept up by Logic’s raw skill and willingness to go all in. Certainly that outsized personality and talent will have no trouble filling the big stage of the McDonald. Dizzy Wright’s lyrical dexterity should pair nicely with Logic’s own verbal gymnastics.
Dizzy Wright joins Logic 8 pm Tuesday, Feb. 9, at McDonald Theatre; SOLD OUT. All ages.