Monday, April 19, 2010

'B.o.B Presents the Adventures of Bobby Ray' Makes Me Cry

I was so excited. ‘B.o.B. vs. Bobby Ray’ was amazing. 22 tracks with the first half more rapping and the second half more singing, but all catchy and really well done, adhering to B.o.B’s core elements that brought him to peoples attention in the first place. It probably should’ve been his first album. There are at least 5 or 6 tracks that could’ve gotten serious airplay on Hip-Hop/Urban radio. Up until his ‘May 25th’ mixtape from earlier this year, I really believed the young gun from Decatur, Georgia could do no wrong. But then when ‘May 25th’ finally did drop, I realized that he had changed. I breezed past most of the songs, none of them having the same strong lyrics tied to uptempo beats that had catchy hooks. He was already set for stardom, but these songs seemed to be more pop music. The song that just sold over 1,000,000 copies digitally, ‘Nothin on You’ featuring Bruno Mars is really pretty awful. He raps ok, but instead of being something that you would consider bumping loud and proud as you nod your head, I really just considered passing it off to some friends 13 year old sisters as the next pop sensation. It just sounds so weak. He sings and plays his guitar more at his shows than rapping anymore. I think his evolution can best be summarized by when I recently saw B.o.B open up for Lupe Fiasco, his sidekick Playboy Tre, who is a great rapper on his own, with mixtapes of his solo material that bring the heat, was standing off on the side of the stage for most of the show looking sad except for the 2 songs that he cam out to drop verses for ‘Bet I Bust’ and ‘Voltage’, which both have what you really want from hip-hop: fucking soul! He just looked so sad, the liquor store mascot, chilling in his fitted while Bobby Ray bounced around with an acoustic guitar and sang more tracks that sound more like Fallout Boy than anything Outkast would put out. 
            He used to be praised as potentially the next Andre 3000, a skinny youngster from Atlanta who rapped and sang with proficiency about streets and girls, but also just random thoughts that went on in his head. B.o.B first came to my attention about 4 years ago when my friend Brandon played ‘Cloud 9’ in the car one day, causing me, the driver, to slow the car and bob as the bass line flowed out of the speakers and B.o.B rapped in his sing song, nasally voice before singing the hook himself. The song was sad, it was emotional, it was ridiculously sick for a guy who was 18 at the time. The sky was the limit from there, which is fitting to say because after ‘I’ll Be In The Sky’ started gaining momentum, I was geeked that he could reach the pinnacle of rap music and really get to Andre 3000’s level. But I’ll be damned if somewhere along the line, in the last year and half, if something hasn’t changed in the boy to make him just not as good an artist. It’s sad to see his devolution from promising rapper, to great artist to really mediocre pop music, all in the course of three years. He could redeem himself, to me, with some more music that sounds like it used to, music that makes me turn my head and pay attention and smile along with him, but from what has leaked from his new album so far, including a song with the lead singer of Paramore, I have absolutely no intention of paying money for the album like I have with other up and coming artists first releases whose singles actually sounded like the music that made me pay attention in the first place. I have attached two videos below, one fore ‘Haterz Everywhere’ which is from his ‘Cloud 9’ Mixtape, and the other for his new single ‘Nothin on You’. Also, the download link for a mixtape of untagged and mastered tracks from his mixtapes called ‘Should Have Been the First Album’, which only makes me more upset about the actual first album.

B.o.B featuring Rich Boy 'Haterz Everywhere'

B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars 'Nothin On You'

Download: B.o.B - Should Have Been the First Album

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