Go to the archives


By Helen Kornbluth
Published: Jul 10, 2017
Category: Rap

Her name is unfamiliar to you. But Guest Butler Helen Kornbluth isn’t. Over the years, she has played the part of The Child and The Small Person on this site; she’s becoming the Young Adult. I’ve been watching videos with her for a year, and learning a lot. (Along the way, I’ve made her watch a few of mine — like when she asked, on the day of David Bowie’s death, “This guy is all over Instagram; who is he?”). Recently she wanted to go to the annual Governors Ball festival. Tickets cost $350. I proposed a deal: I’d pay for her ticket if she’d write about her favorite performer. Am I delighted to publish this? Beyond. Nepotism? None. Why? Because I’m down with her choice. I like, even admire, Logic. And although she hates to hear it, she can write. Want to know what the sharp kids are imbibing? This.
There were so many performers I wanted to see at the Governors Ball Festival. Lorde. Flume. Schoolboy Q. Childish Gambino. Wiz Khalifa. Marshmello. But the reason I went to the three-day festival was to see one performer, Logic.

In an interlude called “A Word from Our Sponsor,” he writes, “Logic is the only rap concert you can go to and not get shot in the face.” True. But he’s so much more. In a rap culture filled with bitches and money, his vision is peace, love and positivity. His lyrics are sharp and comedic. His music actually sounds good. And he’s thrilling to watch.

I can testify to this because my friend and I scored VIP passes and shoved our way to the front. I recorded some of his set. Making those videos was the only time I wasn’t jumping up and down, screaming, and, by the end, losing my voice.

Logic puts on an amazing show. On stage, he sometimes solves a Rubik’s Cube. I watched him do that…in like 5 seconds.

At Gov Ball, he had a sign language interpreter as he freestyled. Watch how fast she goes toward the end.

If you don’t know Logic, the most surprising thing about him is that he’s not black. His father is; his mother is white. They named him Sir Robert Bryson Hall II. He grew up on the poor side of Baltimore, and watched his parents become addicts and alcoholics.

He was put into specialized classes. “I took the mental test,” he says, “and they were like, ‘Oh my god, you don’t have any problems. You’re not crazy.’ I’m like, ‘I know I don’t have any problems, what the fuck you mean?’ And they were like, ‘Oh, our bad.’” He left school in the 10th grade and began writing lyrics. When he started performing, he called himself “Psychological,” because “it was about the mind and I knew that’s what I wanted my music to consist of: something that really challenges the mind.” Later, he shortened that to Logic. Offstage, he now calls himself Bobby Tarantino.

He’s had a meteoric career. His first two albums went Gold without any radio play. He got noted astronomer (and atheist) Neil deGrasse Tyson to play the voice of God. He’s starting his own music label. [To buy the CD of “The Incredible True Story” from Amazon and get the MP3 download free, click here. For the MP3 download, click here.]

People who don’t like rap say it all sounds the same. Even if that’s generally true, lyrics are the difference. Logic’s are the best. Like these…

At least I don’t drink to avoid the hurt. We call that champagne.

No matter how big your bank account is, your grave is still 6 feet under like everyone else’s.

Take it back, take it way back
Take it way, way back to the first black man
Long ago before the white man
Could paint the black man with a gun in his hand
Take it back, take it way back
Take it way, way back to the first white man
At the very moment when they looked around and said
“Fuck it, I’ma steal this land”

He’s famous for his interludes.

And here’s a rare video.

In that song, he raps:

Fuck everybody hatin’ on me right now, I’m black and proud
I’m just as white as that Mona Lisa
I’m just as black as my cousin Keisha
I’m biracial so bye Felicia
Praise Black Jesus now call the preacher

Not accepted by the black or the white
I don’t give a fuck, praise God, I could see the light
Everybody talkin’ ’bout race this, race that
I wish I could erase that, face facts.

For kids who can face those facts, his music is a reason to shove your way close to the stage.