The first thing you might notice when you walk around Logic’s barren new house in Los Angeles—aside from the moving boxes—are all the Rubik’s cubes. There’s a solved cube on the kitchen table, a cracked cube on the couch in the living room, and a neon cube by the front door. A poor math student in school, Logic learned the formulas to solving the Rubik’s cube a year ago and spent 16 hours defeating it. He can now solve one with his eyes closed, while rapping, or while he’s in the middle of a conversation without looking down.  

“I just wanted to conquer something else,” explains the 25-year-old Maryland rapper, smoking cigarettes by the pool in his backyard overlooking the Santa Monica mountains. “When you wake up every day and you’re pretty damn good at your profession, it’s fun to challenge yourself in other ways. That's why I picked it up.”​

Whether or not you think he's a good rapper, it's impossible to deny that he's at least a successful one. His journey began in Gaithersburg, Md., where he started releasing mixtapes in 2010, slowly cultivating a fanbase online and signing to independent label Visionary Music Group. After getting courted by Nas, he ended up being wooed by No I.D. to quietly sign to Def Jam in 2012 but didn’t make it public until 2013. Last October he dropped his debut album, Under Pressure. Despite never having a song chart on the Billboard Hot 100, he managed an album debut in the top five, with 72,000 copies sold its first week—proving his online grind could translate to real-life sales. The album fueled his national and world tour, afforded him his fancy new house in L.A., and even caught the attention of Rick Rubin who recently invited Logic to do barefoot cartwheels and sip unsweetened tea in his backyard.  

“Determination, persistence, realism, wanting success more than your next breath—that’s the key to success. I mean it’s so simple!” he says, puffing another cig. He repeats his mantra for emphasis and explains it’s based on a YouTube video he once watched around the time he started his career. “I was determined and persistent to solve the Rubik’s cube; I did it. I was determined and persistent to do mixtapes and albums and tours, to do I what I love every day, and I did it.”