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Album Review: ‘College Park’ takes listeners to Logic's roots

Logic, born Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, is a rapper from Gaithersburg, Maryland. He has a universal story, coming from a broken family, which connects him to his listeners. He grew up witnessing his brothers manufacture and distribute crack cocaine, his father buying and fueling a crack addiction with those drugs, an alcoholic mother and frequent abuse toward his sisters, which he writes about in his book “This Bright Future: A Memoir.” All of these real-life experiences fuel the pace of parts of the album, which Logic openly raps. 

Logic’s 2014 album, "Under Pressure" was the first of several conceptual full-length projects of problems of what he witnessed growing up in addition to his interests such as Tarantino movies and Star Wars. Proceeding, his highly acclaimed 2017 album, "Everybody," discussed prevalent race issues of the time and the cultural evolution of people.

"College Park" discusses similar matters to his previous music, but this time he references his life before he made it big. This album shares not only music but voice skits of Logic’s thoughts and conversations of his time living in his friend's basement in College Park, MD. The skits feature his friends Castro, 6ix and Big Lenbo (Big Lenny) who are portrayed as characters in the bigger story of Logic breaking into the rap game in the Washington, D.C. area. 

"College Park" is Logic's first independent album after leaving *Def Jam Records in *2022. Clocking in at an hour and seven minutes, the album encompasses 17 songs. It features an array of featured guests such as RZA, Lucy Rose and C Dot Castro. 

With that said, here are four tracks to listen to from “College Park:”

“Cruisin’ Through the Universe (feat. RZA)“ 

"Cruisin' Through the Universe” is the intro song to the album and gives listeners interesting guitar work. Logic raps mainly about cruising with his team and this dream about being a successful rapper, one that envisions Chanel purses and gold diamond books. This is supported by the lyrics "I'm headed to space with my team in a fleet of flyin' submarines / I had a solid gold diamond encrusted book, / the sole purpose was to hold important verses." 

This lead sets up the outro, which contains the album's first voiceover memo where Big Lenbo wakes up Logic from a nap. Logic tells Lembo about his dream, saying, "Yo Lenny, I just had the craziest dream, bro … Yo, I was on a song with f—n' RZA, man." This voice skit juxtaposes his memory of this dream from 2011 in Maryland to the present day, which is where RZA comes from. 

“Wake Up (feat. Lucy Rose)"

Marking the second song off the album is "Wake Up." Logic raps about how he found himself dropping out of school and never having a good role model. He also notes wanting to break the generational cycle of addiction, seeing that rapping might be his outlet. The outro of the track features long-time collaborator Lucy Rose as she narrates Logic and friends cruising around the streets on a beautiful autumn day in 2011.

"Playwright (feat. Andy Hull)” 

On the sixth track, "Playwright," Logic shows a whole new side of himself apart from his rap career. He is now a father and shows how having a child has affected his life. The lyrics "Chillin' with the homies tryna dodge the plight / Rapper by day, but I'm a dad by night / Family over everything's a beautiful sight / Cruisin in the bronco on a Tuesday night" refer to this newfound fatherhood he is beginning to experience. As a rapper, he's achieved a level of success and fame to aspire. However, he's unafraid of showing his fulfilling role of being a father, too.

"38.9897 N, 76.9378 W (feat. C Dot Castro & Big Lenbo)" 

"38.9897 N, 76.9378 W'' are the exact coordinates of College Park, MD, where this album takes place which also features all of Logic’s friends that have been with him on this journey. He and his friends take turns rapping about each other and reminisce on the days before fame: “Overnight, we ain't make it overnight." 

These lyrics refer to the fact that his career was a lot of work and wasn't an overnight success. Big Lenbo recalls, "Went from bein' around the block, b—h to travelin' the planet." C Dot Castro also looks back on those days: "I remember them days, no place to stay fast forward, the crib got a back house." The outro depicts Logic and his friends arriving at the bar to perform at one of his first shows in D.C. 

Ultimately, “College Park” takes listeners back to the year 2011 and tells the story of Logic and his time in College Park. The album mainly touches on the pathway of his dream of becoming a prominent rapper in the industry through a storytelling format that illustrates his beginnings, the origins of his rap career and now, how he balances it with fatherhood. These matters are painted visually in its lyricism and interesting voice skits that make it feel as if listeners were there with Logic and his friends in his beginning years. This is further produced in references from his previous work that engages older fans. This makes "College Park" work and puts Logic's "College Park" up there with some of the best storytelling albums of this generation. 

Rating: 4/5


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