When we speak to Logic, it's been more than a week since he performed his hit "1-800-273-8255" at the Grammys, and he's still taking the evening in. "Kendrick Lamar gave me a little head nod of respect," he says. "Damn, he's one of my biggest inspirations."
The performance was the culmination of a breakthrough year for Logic (born Sir Robert Bryson Hall II), who just five years ago was a broke rapper living on friends' couches. But last September, his hit climbed to Number Three on the Hot 100, and it has been streamed more than a half billion times on Spotify. (The song also tripled calls to the suicide prevention hotline, which it's named after.) The next step? Opening an office. He's calling from a Los Angeles comic-book store, where he's shopping for decorations. "I want the place to look like Comic-Con," says Logic, an unapologetic nerd who regularly solves a Rubik's Cube onstage while rapping. He's also planning a film, set in a record store, which he will star in. "I don't want to be tied down to one thing," he says. "I'm excited to kick the world's ass."
How did you come to write a hit about suicide prevention?
I spent six figures of my own money to get a tour bus and do a fan tour for my second album. I surprised fans at their houses, and we'd eat food and play video games. People kept saying, "Your music saved my life." I was like, "What the fuck?" And then I thought, "What if I tried to save a life with a song?"
Eric Cartman sang a parody of it on South Park last season. How did you feel about it?
It was bittersweet. At the end of the day, South Park makes fun of everybody. But I wanna watch what I say: I have a sense of humor, but there are certain things that shouldn't be joked about. This is a song about suicide. They went a little far, but they're still talking about suicide, so it did shed more light on it, you know?
What's the biggest difference between Logic and Sir Robert Bryson Hall II?
The difference is Bobby has been neglected a bit. Now, after so much hard work, I get to do what I want. I'm gonna start taking trips and having fun. I've always wanted to act, so I'm making a movie. I just finished a novel and I'm excited to get it published. You can't put my talents in a box because my talents have put me in a mansion, and I'll be damned if anybody in the world can tell me what I can or cannot do because they're scared to do it themselves.
Years ago, you worked at Wingstop. What'd you do there?
I cleaned, took out the trash and fuckin' cut carrots and made french fries. It sucked. I used to like the boneless honey-barbecue wings, but I ate that shit so much I haven't been able to eat it for years.
In 2015, you were hospitalized after having an anxiety attack. Is your anxiety under control these days?
I've had much less anxiety recently because I'm coping with it. I never really dealt with depression, just severe anxiety. I've been in therapy for years. My therapist has even said, "You don't need to be here." I'm handling my issues head-on, not running from them.
In your songs, you talk about growing up in a house with an alcoholic mother.
I witnessed my brother selling crack, even to our own dad. My mom would use pills. I was like, "I'm not going to do this." I knew I wasn't going to beat women, even though I saw my sisters and my mom getting beaten. I knew I was going to do the opposite.
"You can't put my talents in a box because my talents have put me in a mansion."
Have you let go of your anger toward your parents?
I've let go because they were sick. They should have gotten help.
On "America," you blast Trump, adding, "Shit, I'll say what Kanye won't." How do you square your love for Kanye's music with his decision to support the president?
To be completely honest, he has taken back the statements, apparently, so I can't really talk about that. I love Kanye. [Kanye deleted his pro-Trump tweets but never retracted his endorsement.]
If you met Trump, what would you say?
Nothing. There's nothing to say. And, respectfully, I'm not here to tell people who they can or can't vote for.
You're a huge Star Wars fan. What did you think of the last movie?
I loved it. I enjoyed Episode VII more, but I may be biased since J.J. [Abrams] is a buddy. It was cool they took time to tell a story instead of jumping around to a bunch of action.
How do you feel about the decision to kill Luke Skywalker?
Who is to say he's dead? Did Yoda really die? Did Ben Kenobi die? We learned more about the Force in this movie, and it's not something in a bunch of books. It's something anyone, no matter where they come from, can have. In many ways, I feel like Rey. It's really cool to come from nothing and essentially be a nobody and make yourself somebody.