Sunday, August 10, 2008 | Posted in ,

Coming straight out of the Philadelphia/Penn State University rap scene, Louis Logic made his first significant splash on wax on the Jedi Mind Tricks' Wu-Tang-worthy "Trinity" (off the group's 2000 album Violent By Design), and it is just one of the many highlights on Music to Drink By. A semi-authorized CD-ROM nominally released on Superegular, it's really more of a sanctioned bootleg put out over the Internet by Logic himself in order to round up a grab-bag of independent 12" singles, B-sides, and the odd unreleased track (or, per the subtitle, "a collection of loosies & a few new exclusives") recorded between 1998 and 2000; most of which were available already on white-label vinyl. It is a minor godsend, however, to have all the music accessible on a single disc. The material is of an almost unanimously strong quality. When Logic isn't busy playing cock-of-the-block ("Loud Mouth," one of the underground buzz-singles of the first half of 2000), he is rocking a particularly articulate and playful strain of punchline-glutted throwback battle rhyme ("General Principle," with its irresistibly sticky, bottom-heavy, old-school J. Brown groove and whiplash verbal tradeoff with J-Treds); the grimy, viscous "Planet Rock," (on which he tosses the lyrical ball back and forth with one of his partners in the Demigodz, L Fudge). As amazing as Logic's wordplay is throughout, though, the production deserves special mention, with particular nods to Demigodz catalyst Celph Titled (for instance, the nifty, streetwise noir of "Secret Agent") and J.J. Brown, certainly one of the hip-hop underground's best-kept secrets (check the sleek, smoothed-out "Factotum," with its buttery flamenco guitar -- Logic once said in an interview that it would be the only recording to survive whenever the time came to put out his official debut). Despite a couple hollow spots, Music to Drink By is much more than a bet hedged against future albums; it is, in fact, one of the most entertaining indie rap full-lengths -- entirely legitimate or not -- of the year.

1. Loudmouth
2. General Principle Feat. J-Treds
3. Who the Fuck Are You?
4. Trinity Feat. Jedi Mind Tricks And L-Fudge
5. Logistics 101
6. Factotum
7. Punchline
8. Secret Agent
9. Service the Target Feat. Grand Agent
10. Planet Rock Feat. L-Fudge
11. Punchline Remix
12. CM Famalam Radio