Following in the footsteps of Mac Miller and Earl Sweatshirt, Maryland rapper Logic finds a looser, weirder, and ultimately more interesting version of himself on his second major-label release. Like them, he sounds eager to leave behind expectations prompted by a debut album — in his case, the overeager, overproduced “Under Pressure” — and dig deep into his core influences. “Fade Away” finds him flexing a breathless, incisive flow to promise that “reinvention is my intention, what’s showing more than this third dimension.” With the creative confidence to go with his considerable skills and heart, Logic crafts some polished and appealing material, from unapologetically aping ’90s boom-bap on “Young Jesus” to “Paradise,” a more engaging piece of self-reflection than most anything on “Under Pressure.” Of course, that same confidence can allow for some strange choices: Framing the album as a sci-fi concept piece adds nothing but several annoying skits, while the Drake-jacking “I Am the Greatest” and “City of Stars” are simply odd. But overall, a step up for the sophomore.
ESSENTIAL “Fade Away”Martín Caballero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @_el_caballero.