The best albums are ones that take the listener through a journey. While that may be a cliché, Logic’s sophomore album The Incredible True Story is presented as a literal journey through space with the destination being the planet “Paradise,” as Earth has been destroyed. In his most ambitious venture to date, the Maryland-based rapper brings a change from his first album Under Pressure; that album was about his personal experiences with the challenges of his career and upbringing, and coping with the stress, while The Incredible True Story is more inspired by sci-fi and anime. Logic takes on the role of a screenwriter and director, approaching the album like a film; he has said that the best way to explain the album is as “an audio-cinematic experience.” The creativity of the album stems from his childhood of playing video games, and the fusion of video games and music created a single entity in the form of The Incredible True Story.
“Contact” gives the listener the feel of orbiting through space: a long journey, tough obstacles, and the feeling of finally arriving. It’s more of a beat track with dialogue near the end between the two narrators, Thomas and Kai, than an actual song with lyrics. The song samples the drumbeat from Kanye West’s “Amazing.” However, it accomplishes its purpose of preparing the listener for the rest of the album by providing back-story. Thomas and Kai talk about listening to oldies, referencing Logic’s first album, and setting The Incredible True Story in the present as the album begins.
Next up is “Fade Away.” As one of the album’s three singles, it was well-received, and deservedly so. With a chill vibe, the song is about accepting mortality and living life to the fullest before you succumb to death. The skit at the end leads to the next song, “Upgrade,” as Thomas and Kai talk about the upgrade for “Thalia,” their ship’s computer. Thalia served as a virtual guide in Under Pressure as well.
The upgrade to Thalia is a metaphor for Logic’s upgrade, but in the music industry and in his personal life. With an amazing melody and rhythm, paired with inspiring lyrics, “Upgrade” serves as an example of how Logic has improved since his first mix tapes and first album.
The song transitions to one of the five scenes in the album, “White People”. This is the first scene where Thomas and Kai’s adventure is featured, as they encounter the ship Aquarius I and its extraterrestrial inhabitants. Eventually, the mission proceeds.
One of the three singles of the album, “Like Woah” has LWogic reflecting on his career and life and how far he has come. Many of Logic’s songs have the perfect blend of up-tempo beats and lyrics and a chill vibe, and “Like Woah” is no different. The song ends with Thomas and Kai doubting their safety and the continuation of their journey to Paradise, a metaphor for Logic’s hope of overcoming all of the negativity in his life and reaching complete happiness.
As the lead single of The Incredible True Story, “Young Jesus” is old-school rap epitomized. With hard-hitting beats and lyrics, the song takes the listener back to the ‘90s, as Big Lembo so eloquently says in the beginning. Although the song doesn’t have much to do with the space storyline, it carries on the message of “Like Woah.”
“Intermission” is exactly as it’s titled. With its smooth, slow-flowing melody and chorus, it’s a welcome change from the last two songs. The song concludes with an interview of a child, presumably set after Paradise is found.
Although the songs immediately following “Intermission” don’t have much to do with the album’s storyline, they’re catchy and listenable. First Logic boasts about how he is the greatest rapper of all time in “I Am the Greatest,” and that the only opinions that matter are the ones of his loyal fans. “The Cube” follows as the third scene of the album, but rather than returning to the space storyline, it focuses on a Rubik’s cube, a favourite symbol of Logic’s. And in terms of style, the beats and flow on “Lord Willin’” resemble Childish Gambino’s “3005”; with a solid bounce and hook, the song can appeal to everyone.
This section of the album doesn’t lack meaning, however. “City of Stars” is one of the deepest songs of albums, featuring Logic “breaking up” with hip-hop, as it has changed so much since its inception and no longer has a specific style. The song is also his first reference to race and how it was difficult for him as a biracial rapper. The complexity of “City of Stars” requires multiple listens to decipher each lyric and understand its full meaning. Similarly, “Stainless” is Logic venting about how rappers should be themselves and be proud of who they are. The beat is similar to “I Am The Greatest,” and like the aforementioned song, the lyrics are hard-hitting.
Finally we return to The Incredible True Story with “Babel,” the fourth scene, in which Thomas and Kai discuss having lived at the “Babel” space station for quite some time. They’re afraid Paradise will eventually end up being another Earth due to the overconsumption of unrenewable resources and pollution — an obvious allusion to the current environmental situation on Earth.
“Paradise” has elements that remind me of songs from Under Pressure. Lyrically, the song is one of the strongest of the album. It’s essentially composed of two parts, and the second half of the song is less upbeat and much darker; instead of talking about the hardships in his life that he has had to overcome, Logic focuses on the people that tried to stop him from overcoming those hardships. As a whole, “Paradise” is an inspiring song.
“Never Been” is easily the most soulful song of the album with its uplifting tempo and vibe. Logic’s heart shows through in the song, and the listener knows; you can really lose yourself in listening to this song. Logic continues with his evolution from his younger years and how he’s become smarter and resistant to the temptations of the darkness. The song ends with Logic telling his engineer Bobby to “run it,” leading into the next song.
Lyrically, “Run It” is full of even more braggadocio than “I Am The Greatest.” Logic expresses how proud he is of his accomplishments, and talks about how he started from the bottom in life and the music industry and now he’s here and runs it. The lyrics are fast-paced and the flow from the song is one of the best from the album.
The fifth and final scene before we finally reach Paradise is “Lucidity.” Like the title, this track is light, bright, and clear as Thomas and Kai discuss their hopes and dreams that could be possible on Paradise, unlike on Earth.
Finally, the titular song “The Incredible True Story” offers the long-awaited conclusion to the space storyline, as well as Logic’s personal storyline under the space metaphor. He talks about his ability to connect with his fans and how it has never been better, inspiring them to follow their dreams and ambitions. The instrumental in this song is by far the best on the album, making it easy to lose yourself in the beats. The lyrics are on par with the rest of the album, but the chorus of “They wonder who am I, so high” is my favourite. Logic samples a quote from Alan Watts about people settling rather than going for their dreams and desires, which ties in with everything. The final skit tells how Thomas and Kai’s journey ends. Listen to the album to find out what happens …
Compared to Under Pressure, The Incredible True Story is a fantastic follow-up album. Creatively, Logic took a risk, which can be appreciated — it’s better for an artist to aim high and miss rather than play it safe. A major leap forward was taken with the album in terms of musical storytelling. The production was superior to that of his first album, but lyrically, it wasn’t on par; it lacked the post-album high that Under Pressure had. Nonetheless, The Incredible True Story is an album worth multiple listens.