5 Years at Def Jam: A Look at Logic’s Success

How do you define your favorite artist’s success? Is it as simple as being able to access their music on all platforms or their tour stopping in your city? Or is hearing their track on the radio the ultimate goal?

In 2015 I joined the RattPack (the fan following of Logic and his crew), and understood the Maryland native’s reach when I, through-the-internet witnessed him selling out arenas across the U.S. and Europe – even though most people had never heard of him. I remember hearing my first Logic track, “Under Pressure” off his first studio album with Def Jam. I had no idea he was biracial or was known for the mixtapes he had released which landed him a spot on the 2013 XXL Freshman list. To me he was an Eminem protege, and I loved every minute of it.

That first Logic song I came across is still regularly played but I’ve come to appreciate his storytelling through “concept albums”. With so much to dissect in his projects like Everybody and The Incredible True Story, instead of re-reading everything, I pick the chapters (or tracks) that I need for my current mood. Tim Ferriss discussed this exact idea recently and while he was talking about his book Tribe of Mentors, I couldn’t help but think about the way I listen to albums and how I adventure back to what sounds comforting no matter how old the track. Logic’s discography is “home” to me. He was one of the first underground artists I stumbled across and he continues to be a top 10 artist for me of all time. #TeamRattPack4Life

Concept albums aren’t a new creative process in hip hop. We’ve seen Kanye West introduce Broke Phi Broke on Late Registration, a fictional fraternity that breaks apart the album with minute long skits. But Logic took this idea a step further to instead feature his hobbies or beliefs outside the popular genre. On Everybody, Logic and Neil Degrasse Tyson (who voices god) travel through death, spirituality and past lives. The album specifically is one that a new listener couldn’t just hit shuffle on and enjoy – and so with this, the division of Logic fans happened.

Although Logic was bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars to Def Jam, he didn’t reach the Billboard Top 100 until 2016 with the song “Flexicution. When “1-800-273-8255″ hit the airwaves in April/May 2017, Logic found himself with a whole nation backing him as if he was a brand new artist breaking through the industry. The single broke records, heightened calls at the Suicide Prevention Hotline and made the veterened artist finally a household name like Jay-Z had been for years.

While Def Jam couldn’t have been more thrilled, Ratt Pack fans have been frustrated with the bandwagon fans who not only listen to a single song and call the artist their favorite, but also because these exact fans don’t want to appreciate the creative process Logic is known for. We were quite thankful when he dropped Bobby Tarantino II and called these people out directly on “Contra“:

“Everyone showin’ up, where was you in the beginnin’? (in the beginnin’) / I know that they showin’ up (know that they showin’ up) / Only come around and fuck with me when the boy winnin’ (when the boy winnin’)”

All of the struggle aside, Logic is celebrating five years with his label, Def Jam. He’s released five studio albums, been nominated for two Grammys, has a documentary dedicated to him on the Rapture Netflix series, and has upset people for talking about his race. I’m curious where Logic’s “mainstream success” will continue too, especially if he does start experimenting with soul and piano ballads like he spent most of 2017 preaching. I know I’ll support him regardless because “squad, bitch”.

Photo | Logic, Twitter

Writer & Visual Storyteller | I think mumble rap is like disco, a bad phase.

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