Logic Covers Complex Magazine

Logic and Neil deGrasse Tyson Talk Concept Albums, Collaboration, and Black People in the Louvre

 

Logic wants to reach, yes, everybody. More than just an album title, Everybody, the Maryland MC’s third LP, is a mission statement and a message, one that 27-year-old wants to share without talking down to the listener. That desire for a calm, curious, and approachable tone led him to seek out the assistance of astrophysicist, educator, and TV host Neil deGrasse Tyson. Arguably the most widely recognized living scientist in American culture, Tyson plays a major role in the narrative of Everybody, guiding the concept album’s protagonist, Atom, through a unique experience of the afterlife that involves experiencing the life of every human being ever. Logic is nothing if not ambitious.

 

Raised in Gaithersburg, Maryland, in a household defined by conflict, abuse, and drugs, Logic (born Sir Robert Bryson Hall II) had the kind of childhood super-intense Lifetime movies are made of. In an interview with Complex conducted in 2014, just as Logic was just beginning to blow up, he explained, “My mother got stabbed...tried to choke me to death as a child. I can’t even begin to explain the tormenting feeling of living in my household—constant screaming, death-curdling screams, arguments between my mom and other men, her getting her fucking ass whooped. At times, there was blood all over the kitchen and fucking floor.”

Logic’s mother is white and his father is black, and this further complicated his coming of age. “My mother was racist,” he said. “My own mother would call me a nigger as a child. I’m not talking about ‘What’s up, my nigga,’ I’m talking in a fully prejudiced way.”

His experience as a biracial American informs his new album deeply, and even fueled controversy around the album’s initial title: AfricanAryaN. Despite his violent upbringing, Logic's music is defined by its positive outlook and hope for a brighter future. In fact, imagining the future is a hallmark of Logic’s albums at this point. (His second studio album, The Incredible True Story, features a sci-fi plot set in the year 2065.) Which is why he knew he needed Tyson for his latest project.

For his first appearance on the Complex Cover, Logic is joined by Tyson to discuss the genesis of their collaboration, the concept album (and the album as a concept), humanity’s past, and black people in the Louvre.

Logic: So, when would you say you first encountered my music or just my name?

Neil deGrasse Tyson: It was an email. An email out of the blue, out of the dark depths of space. So in my inbox, there it was. It just said “Logic” — and I promise, anyone who emails me that I will reply eventually.

L: In some fashion.

NDT: Eventually. So, I finally got back to it and check with my nephew. Who is this and why? And he’s like, “Oh. That’s Logic,” and I said, “Ok,” but I can’t wrap my head around it now. So I put it back here, and it just kind of stayed on the back burner, and then—

L: I went through my agency at the time to get your information, and I was like, “Is there any way?” 'Cause on my last album, The Incredible True Story, it’s like a very grand intro, and it just sounds like space. So I was like, how incredible would it be if you could speak, just your awesome voice, kind of over this, as an amazing intro to this journey, this sci-fi epic?

NDT: The weird thing is I don't even hear my voice.

L: Well, we hear your voice, and we thank you for your voice.

NDT:Who hears their own voice? Nobody. You just talk.

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