Illogic drops ‘The Transition‘ which if you are familiar with the Ohio emcee, you know this is going to be a musical journey complete with some of the best bar work and wordplay in the underground. Illogic also has one of the most interesting and engaging voices in hip hop, one that can portray a range of emotion when he spits, or he can just flat out melt your face off with his lyrical fire. We get both on The Transition and it’s a beautiful thing. But don’t get it twisted, this isn’t JUST about bars, even if Illogic is revered for being one of the illest with the pen – this a musical journey with a range of experimentation of sounds throughout, blending the worlds of boom bap hip hop, and that big band, boundary pushing instrumental elements that set it apart from other releases that really sit in that ‘niche pocket’ or golden era sound.
The album starts things off with ‘Hot Lead‘ and it’s a head nodder with really crisp drum work and a funky baseline, as Illogic just reminds everyone that he’s back and hungrier than ever! Next we get ‘Passion Fruit‘ and this track is just bananas! The drums are dusty and underlay the track perfectly, while the melody just dances along and Illogic does what he does best – spits poetry you can feel. ‘Soundproof Aura‘ has a 70’s blaxploitation twang to it, but it’s a hectic instrumental that ebbs and flows with crazy instruments while the measured and poignant flow from Ill is on point.
Things get rather soulful on ‘She Didn’t Write‘ and Illogic has the perfectly backdrop with this production to really dive deep into his storytelling bag which his does so with incredible authenticity and purpose. I love the frenetic energy that is inherent in ‘Nowhere Fast‘ as the beat creates a sense of urgency that contrasts Ill’s balanced and steady flow. The keys are powerful and draw the listener in, just to ensure you catch everything he’s spitting which traverses life-lessons and straight up wordplay, while the song and Illogic’s flow build steadily from start to finish.
Production-wise it’s a little slower and more stripped back for ‘Play To Win‘ and it has a tasteful, oriental influence permeating throughout. Illogic has a story to tell on this one, using a host of different board and card game titles throughout this track and the cuts are epic. The title track ‘The Transition‘ brings back the more traditional boom bap, and Illogic spits with a very deliberate flow on this one, making the listener hang on each word which is delivered methodically into your headphones when he wants it to. Finally, ‘A Small Piece‘ rounds out the offering, and the piano dances along in the background while Illogic commands the mic and the drums fill the space in between, creating a really dope vibe and the hook is inspiring.
This is a fantastic hip hop album, really mature and authentic content. Illogic has always had two incredible skills – the ability to craft lyrics that resonate and inspire and a flow / cadence that is so engaging and accessible, it’s a beautiful synergy. It won’t get the kudos that other albums will, as is the curse of the underground, but we’re shedding light on it right now, because this deserves mad praise and plays! Cop it now and enjoy this audio medicine.