Logic on Working with No I.D., Signing to Def Jam and Sleeping on Couches

Photo courtesy of Logic Facebook

Midway through a phone interview with Hive, Maryland-based rapper Logic starts spitting the introductory verse from “Man of the Year,” a new song that will be included on his upcoming mixtape Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever: “I wonder what it feels like/ To do that shit in real life/ And now I know I got it/ That’s the reason No I.D. has signed me on the dotted/ But it’s still Visionary to the death of me…” The lyrics smartly sum-up Logic’s recent rise through the industry which has seen him snagging a 2013 XXL Freshman spot, joining the Def Jam crew and working under the tutelage of No. I.D., the veteran producer and now A&R figure who helped mold the careers of Common and Kanye West.

Ahead of Welcome to Forever’s May 7th release date, we checked in with Logic and got the scoop on the direction of his mixtape and debut album, the Def Jam icons he’s eyeing collaborations with and the story behind why a raggedy ol’ couch became integral to his rap success.

How’s your day going?

Fuckin’ awesome! I’m blessed enough to be on an incredible label and be a freshman and be healthy.

Why did you decide to sign with Def Jam over other labels?

Because every major label came to us — we never knocked on anybody’s doors, we never went to A&Rs, we never did any of that shit — and we truly believe if someone comes to you then you’re in a position of power. You have the choice to say yes or no. Def Jam came to Visionary’s door and they got it and the reason they got it was No I.D. Single-handedly the reason I signed to Def Jam was because of this man and because he understood my vision. He told me, “The reason I want to sign you is because you can create raw hip-hop music like it was straight out of the golden era in 1996 but you can also create commercial radio records without sounding forced and without jeopardizing who you are as an artist.” When he said that I knew it was a wrap and that’s where I was gonna go.

Can you remember the first time you heard No I.D.’s production?

Yeah, of course, when I was younger I remember the stuff he did with Common, but the first time I was like “Wow!” was with [Jay-Z’s] “Death of Autotune.” I always knew he was a legend but when I heard “Death of Autotune” that just blew me away. That was a milestone for me.

Have you had many conversations with No I.D. about the sort of music you’ll be making on Def Jam?

Honestly, we’re gonna keep the same formula. I think Kendrick Lamar is an incredible example: A lot of artists get a record deal and feel they need to go and get a beat from this producer and a feature from this rapper, but with Kendrick he came up with his team and that’s why his album was so cohesive. It’s like with my own Welcome to Forever that’s coming out, it’s cohesive and it’s Logic to the fullest. I truly found myself as an artist because of my team so I’m going to go about creating an album the same way. The thing with having No I.D. as a part of it is it’s gonna open up my mind. There’s a lot of things I know as Logic, like how I rap, then he’s going to go, “Yeah, but have you ever rapped on this? Have you ever tried to flow this way?” It’s going to challenge me and that’s good. It’s pretty much like he did with Big Sean: If you listen to Finally Famous Volume 3 the mixtape and then you listen to the album, there’s a world of difference.

So is No I.D. involved in Welcome to Forever?

[Pauses.] Yeah, yeah, he is. He wasn’t fully involved in the project as a whole, but he has a production on there — it’s a record called “Man of the Year” and you have an exclusive on that.

What’s the vibe of “Man of the Year”?

Ah, man, it’s the sort of record that I’ve never done before! It sounds like victory. When you hear the record, one of the first lines is: “I wonder what it feels like/ To do that shit in real life/ And now I know I got it/ That’s the reason No I.D. has signed me on the dotted/ But it’s still Visionary to the death of me…” It’s very about how we overcame and the production is just incredible.

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