By Adrian Flynn
Bobby Hall, aka Logic, released his long-awaited debut novel, Supermarket, on Tuesday. Logic has already enjoyed an illustrious career in hip hop spanning nearly a decade, but with this new literary venture, he has expanded his horizons beyond just music.
I pre-ordered the novel so that I would receive it on its release date. The buzz online was already popping up on my feed, so I put my phone down to isolate myself from knee-jerk reactions, and read the book from beginning to end on my fire escape that afternoon. The novel, split into two parts, is woven between different storylines and jumps back and forth in time. As Logic has explained on his Daily Show interview, his mental state shines through each of the two parts as he began in a turbulent state and then finished it out after being able to face some of his mental health struggles.
Supermarket is about the struggles of a young adult, Flynn, who has to battle an unforeseen foe when his life takes a sudden turn away from his attempt at writing a novel himself, all while holding down a job at a supermarket. The novel, while sometimes difficult to follow along its twists and turns, still threads an invigorating and out-of-the-box narrative. Logic also scattered many references to his own artistry and philosophies throughout, such as homages to his musical influences and mentions of his “do what you love” mantra. This has obviously struck a chord with his fans, who made the book Amazon’s #1 best seller within a day of its release.
Additionally, he surprise-released a soundtrack album to accompany the novel, featuring collaboration with Mac DeMarco on a few songs. Through the album, Logic clearly departs from his normal musical habits, leaving hip hop in the background and instead crafting a centerpiece of indie rock and love ballads to illustrate the setting and characters of Supermarket as he sees them. With the novel and soundtrack together, Logic has taken a bold step into an artistic gray zone (especially for rappers) that some have strongly criticized.
As his fans know, Logic has had an interesting relationship with his critics. He garnered attention in 2015 for his “I don’t f*** with nobody” interview in which he explained that he prefers to go in any musical direction he wants and then after get to “see the faces and shake the hands of these people who truly appreciate my music, not the haters… who wish they worked at Rolling Stone on Twitter because everybody’s a critic nowadays.” This mentality explains why Logic is daring enough to go in new directions: because he is not consumed by general reactions and critical responses, and feels confident in his fanbase and making art for people who will enjoy it. As he said in the same interview: “I’m just gonna chill and I’m just gonna do what I’ve always done because that’s who I make music for… there’s always gonna be somebody who’s gonna hate… so no matter what I do people will love me or hate me.” An artist who is not bogged down by what is expected of them is allowed to truly creatively flourish and explore, and Logic has fortunately been able to do just that with Supermarket.