First off, I’d like to apologize if the ideas expressed in this article seem ignorant of hip-hop culture. I’m the opposite of a hip-hop connoisseur. I like wearing cardigans and reading books, and when rap comes on, I kind of just bob my head and pretend like I get the artist’s message, but really, the words flow too fast for my brain to comprehend them. Luckily though, I was given a chance to see the rapper Logic at The Warfield Theater in San Francisco on Feb. 12, and I was very enlightened.
The opening act, Dizzy Wright, paled in comparison to Logic. While his stage presence was definitely flamboyant and his energy excited the crowd for the night to come, his performance lacked substance. Throughout his set, he praised Northern California for its “best weed and baddest b****es.” Later he shouted, “Marijuana should be legalized everywhere; can I get a ‘Hell yeah?’” Of course, he, along with his fellow musicians on stage, was under the influence at the time, and his bassist made a very questionable fashion choice by sporting a bucket hat, which, unless you’re Rihanna, looks ridiculous. All this made Dizzy’s performance seem forced, struggling to fit within a stereotype. And while Dizzy’s music does go beyond the topics of drugs, alcohol, money and sex, he easily deemed them the keys to happiness.
However, when Logic came out, it felt like an entirely different genre. His album, “The Incredible True Story,” is set in a post-apocalyptic spaceship in which two men are searching for Planet Paradise, the only planet left to support human life. Throughout his performance, there was a theme of salvation – not necessarily religious salvation, but rather, emotional salvation – an emphasis on the pursuit of happiness. One line that I found extremely relevant was, “Saying that you can’t just solidifies you never will,” from his song “Never Been”.
Contrary to overly positive pop artists who claim that believing in yourself prompts success, Logic expresses the inverse: if you don’t believe in yourself, you won’t succeed – a message we all could keep in mind as we leave high school.
Another aspect that heightened Logic’s performance was his civility. He shared a story about a high school student who used to show up backstage at his shows and offer him “b****es and weed.” Logic pointed out “women” should not be synonymous to “b****es,” a philosophy I wish more artists would follow.
While the small venue space may have been a factor, Logic also had conversations with audience members across the theater, expressing his appreciation for wearing his merchandise and their support in general. It made the show feel personal, and for a moment, it didn’t seem like Logic was a celebrity, but rather, an ordinary human being conveying his story and message.
Overall, Logic’s humble, yet electric performance changed my perception of hip hop. The genre had always seemed like an unsolvable puzzle, but through my newfound desire to understand, I found its true significance.