This interview was conducted a few weeks ago and editing completed just a few hours before the release of 1636. Listen to Logan’s debut project while reading!
Logan is focused and approaching the most significant moment in his young career. He’s about to drop his first length full project, 1636, and he’s fully committed, driven and confident in the final days leading up to the release. Logan has been on the scene for a relatively short time and his progress has been fast. In the past few months he’s focused on performing, becoming a staple at venues across Chicago and colleges in the Midwest, playing with Iggy Azalea at ISU and sharing the bill with Riff Raff in Madison and at ISU. He has legions of fans, which stems from his ability to connect with his peers. He began rapping as a hobby with friends in 2012. At that time he was attending De La Salle Institute in Chicago and rap got him into some trouble early on complicating his enrollment at the Catholic school. Although troublesome, rap was simply a hobby for Logan, until June 23, 2013. when one of Logan’s best friends, Feo, was shot and killed. Logan described Feo as “a brother”, and after his passing his hobby became much more serious. Logan said, “He was younger than me, he was one of the realest people I’ve ever met and we all looked up to him. That summer just before he died, he put me in the game, he put money in my pocket and helped me really start. So we created a movement Feo Mob after him, we’re taking him with us.”
1636 was made entirely by Logan and producer Flight except for one feature from Saba. Logan has a tight knit team that includes Flight, J. Krown who exclusively produces Logan’s visuals, manager Von Heir Jay and Elton who engineers out of Classick Studios. “Flight, J. Krown, Von and Elton are as loyal to me as I am to them. We work together exclusively. I’m not against working with other people eventually. Right now, we are 100% and all on the same page. I met Flight at the end of 2013, we’ve grown together as artists and become like brothers, good friends. It was natural. J. Krown and I went to high school together.” Logan shows that same loyalty to his fans, even taking one who made a “promposal” to him on twitter to the big dance. “I never went to prom before, it was super dope. She was real supportive, she was at every show and every video release. Then she asked me on twitter and I was like, yeah, I’ll go with you.” I attended his 1636 listening session at Classick Studios a few weeks ago and am impressed with his project. We got together a few days later for this interview.
What is 1636?
1636 is an address, I have it tatted on me, 1/2 of my family has it tatted on them, my great aunt raised my mom, she’s like my grandmother. My whole family was in this building, whether they lived there or not. Every day we were all at this building in the 90s. Then she died and sometimes it seems like you forget what family is. 1636 is part of me, represents family, loyalty. Just because we’re blood, doesn’t make us family. Since I was a kid 1636 was drilled in my head. It is the starting point of my life and career. I was talking to Noah about this, I had a lot of momentum in the beginning of 2014, but I had to sit back and look at myself and we made a decision as a unit to work on a project that stood for us and who we are as artists at this point in time.
We really thought 1636 was about to come out last spring.
We restarted 1636 a few times. So in the middle of working on it I dropped that Famous EP, it did pretty well, in around 2 months each song got about 50K plays, but then I felt like, I don’t like it, let’s take it down. We took a step back and I really thought about who I am as an artist, how do I want to come across? I stopped dropping shit for awhile. The only thing I really dropped for awhile was @KendallJenner because it’s a super hot song and it was really fun.
Kendall Jenner is a good song.
I like it. I pulled that song out of my ass. We titled it her twitter name @KendallJenner to hopefully get her to listen to it. I think she heard it, but I don’t know. It was just funny. There were some girls trying to talk to me and I’m like girl, I don’t know what you’re offering, if you don’t make me happy… If it ain’t Kendall, I had no reason to get involved right then. (laughs) Fuck it, I chose Kendall Jenner. I don’t watch her show, but I saw a picture and I was like whhaaattt? Flight was making a beat, and I’m like G, just loop that. Then we’re pouring up Hennessy and I just started with “Somebody, I need Kendall…” I had fun, I’d been on a hiatus so to say from dropping music and I was feeling like I needed to drop something. But really thinking about it, when you over saturate yourself and the market with your music, eventually people are going to get tired. So I felt like I had to take a break and really sit back and work on this project and have people be like where is he? What is he doing? So then when it hits it is more impactful. I feel like that song has wheels anyway, I would like her to hear it and tell me that she heard it.
At the listening party you said that you don’t want to call it a mixtape, why is that?
To me a mixtape is an artist just putting out a bunch of songs. I wish artists approached it as a project where you love every song on it. I wasn’t ready to put this out until I loved every song on it. I’m trying to create timeless music, it doesn’t matter if I put it out today or next year. It’s going to hold up. I also think that music is for seasons too, the feel of your album, does it sound like summer? I can sit on music, I’ve been working on this for 11 months. I have one on 1636 called “Pays Off” that is for my mom. Everything on here happened to me, it’s all real.
Has your creative process changed since you started rapping?
I feel like I’m able to access more, what do I have that others don’t have? 1636 is me telling my story up to this point. I’m growing and nowhere near my peak. It’s different with every song, a concept comes to us when we’re working together, not a specific routine. It all comes naturally, I don’t force anything. Sometimes Flight and I sit down and we’ll work on the beat together, I don’t work with other producers, there’s a lot of beat makers but me and Flight make music together, a real collaboration, we compliment each other. Sometimes with a song there’s just one line that I want to say and the whole thing ends up based off that. We keep looking for more. The way I go about inspiration for my music is weird. For “Breathe,” I think I popped a xan and had bought hella art supplies. I was making a vision board and wrote words that came to me in permanent black marker and I spelled breathe wrong, I wrote breath (laughs) and just kept looking at it. Then I was going through a lot of shit and that word stuck out to me and I kept looking at it. It was written about a girl to start with, then it became something else.
Was Flight an experienced producer when you met?
He was dope, but not really hip hop. More EDM, dub step beats and I’m like “I’m a rapper…” Flight said – you gotta start singing. (laughs)
How about building a fanbase, can that be done just online?
People ask me all the time. How do you get all those plays and views? My video is about to hit 100K plays, Kendall Jenner is around 80K now. I still don’t have a Complex post or a XXL post, but I have a following that is listening to my music, I don’t know how I got that following. It’s natural and organic, you can’t force that. If a fan snapchats me, I snapchat them back. I have fans from all over the country, some from Toronto. I know as soon as national media pays attention, it’ll grow. I already have fans outside of the city based on word of mouth. I think there is a demand for my project, and what we are about to do will be epic.
How did “Dope” with Taylor Bennett and Carl come about?
That was just one of those things where all three of us were at the studio. Taylor said he had a beat and asked if I wanted to jump on it. Then Qari said he’d do a verse, we all wrote the verse right there. That’s the only feature I’ve done in the past year and a half. I also did one with Xavier Holiday. I’ve got stuff in the works with other artists and I’ll get to that after 1636 comes out.
You have great stage presence, did that come naturally?
It came when I stopped smoking weed. I stopped in 2013. I’d be fine, then I smoke a blunt and go onstage and feel like I don’t want to be here. I did a show sober and felt much better and in command. I won’t settle for you waving me off, you’re going to listen to me. When I went to Madison for the Riff Raff show, that was a room of people that have never heard of me and after that set I got 70 new followers and people were tweeting come back to Madison. I made that room fans based off of energy. I look at it as if “okay, I’m opening but one day I’ll be headlining,” I treat it as if it’s my show. I can turn a whole room of strangers into fans if they like hip hop. I pay attention to shows, I pick and choose things, I’m human and I have strengths and weaknesses and if I can learn something from a performance of someone else’s, I try to learn it and then improve and incorporate elements of what I see others do well.
How do you feel about blogs?
I don’t give a fuck about blogs. I used to stress about it. I used to send Andrew shit all the time, then he finally posted my music, I was like God – Fake Shore Drive! I’m not taking a shot at blogs, just more like when they take notice they’re going to notice! Until then though we’ll let the growing number of fans be our support base. I’m going to do this to the point that when I get that big post, I fuck around and might not retweet it. (laughs)
I have to ask about 24/7 and your response to J. Cole’s verse in “Fire Squad.”
Von – Being a black man and understanding where Cole was coming from and managing a white rapper, this topic was one that came up multiple times and brought up healthy conversation and debate on the topic. And I believe the response and approach Logan took was the best and only way that line could have been responded to. You have a lot of gimmick and character white rappers. Managing Logan is different, I know his struggles, I’m living through them with him and he can relate. A suburban or privileged kid may not relate or understand the influence that the culture has had on him, but it is real.
Logan – In my eyes, there hasn’t been an artist like me, I don’t want to put my name way up there with Eminem, but there are gimmick white rappers. I have a story, I come from nothing. When you hear my lyrics, it’s all true, real life stories. That’s why I’m so far past creating some conceptual character… It’s cool, but when you can rap about you, that’s when people feel the music more. It’s warmer and the type of music that I make is true. I care about the culture. I do deal with being a white rapper, it bothers me because I really care and I mean it. I’ll ride this until the wheels fall off. I don’t see any other artist like me in Chicago.
A rapper that I’ve been listening to lately is a woman named Rapsody based in North Carolina, I bring her up because of a statement she made, something like don’t put me with just female rappers, put me with good rappers. I don’t want to be on an all girl rapper tour.
I say to Von all the time, put me next to the best rappers. Put me next to them onstage, I know I can rap with them. I do a lot of accapellas, I rap! In making 1636 I listened to a lot of pop music and old Eminem, that’s what shaped my mind set, made me get personal and melodic. I want to be looked at in that light, I want to be huge, I’m just starting.
Noah asked – I know you pay attention to other artists in the city, how do you feel about it, like friends or competition?
I feel like people fake fuck with me, some throw shade, I have nothing against anybody. I keep it cordial. I do my own thing, don’t feed into any of that other shit. Me coming from where I come from, I see a lot of fakeness on the scene, people that’ll shake your hand and talk shit about you when you leave. So I rock with my friends and that’s it. I fuck with Save Money and Nu Tribe. It’s professional, they’re my friends, but my team are my brothers.
Do you think about having a message when you write?
Sometimes I write and think about how it’ll be received, in the song “White Walls,” I was in a dark place, and that second verse, I’m talking about drugs and a gun. I’m not talking about going to do a drive by, I’m talking about feeling suicidal and a drug helping me cope with what I was going through. I’m not talking about it to brag about having lots of drugs, or how cool I am because of this. It might be the same subject matter but a totally different perspective. You have to be conscious of pop culture, sometimes I have a line that I just think sounds cool too, you’re gonna want to sing it. But know the limits to that and have substance too.
Are you nervous about the release? What are you gonna do the day this comes out?
I’ll be at the trap with my homies. Maybe have some Hennessy, get tatted, (laughs) I don’t know, I’m going to do something!
Von, what are you gonna do?
Von- I’m gonna take a deep breath!
Logan- I just can’t wait! Good music and good vibes, once it hits the universe, all you can do is stay positive and let it do what it does. Put it out there and let it live. Whether I get a million views or 1000.
Man, I don’t have expectations as far as the music except for progression. As long as my mom is happy and the homies and team are happy, that is all that matters to me.
How about your mom?
She supports everything. Any way she can possibly support me she does. I love that but I hate it sometimes because she can over do it. (laughs) When I first started, she would take my tickets to shows and go sell them at her job. She would do anything. She was disappointed when I dropped out of school, but once she saw me take it seriously and not get into any sort of trouble, she supports me 100%. A lot of my family went to the Iggy show, it was huge, 3500 people.
Has your dad heard your music?
I don’t know if he’s heard it. I know that in his cell he has the Iggy Azelia poster, I know he got the Tribune article. I send him stuff all the time. I don’t know if he’s allowed to have music in there.
Thoughts on hip hop right now?
I feel like 2015 is going to be a big year for hip hop. Some big artists are dropping projects this year, 2014 was a trendy year, I feel like 2015 is gonna be more dope music. I’m looking forward to hearing new Kendrick, Drake, Big Sean, Meek Mill, Kanye and Wayne. Last year was a bunch of Coco(s) and Try Me(s), Shmurda and shit like that. Cole did it smart, he knew 2014 wasn’t shit, nobody dropped anything at the end. He had the hottest shit – drop it, sell, go platinum. Nobody thought he’d sell like 400K right away like that. No singles or promotion. He set a standard for 2015. Regarding Chicago, everybody dropped a project in 2014, I’m trying to separate myself, I waited for my turn.
Shout out my manager Von, my friend Chris the photographer, my videographer J. Krown, my producer Flight, my engineer Elton who works out of Classick Studios. Shout out my cousin Dos Phendi, he’s coming too! And my cousin – poet Ashley Black, she’s involved with lots of open mics in the city, she’s super dope.