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B.o.B. – ‘The Adventures of Bobby Ray’ (Grand Hustle/Atlantic)


 B.o.B. is an immensely gifted rapper/singer out of Atlanta. His debut, The Adventures of Bobby Ray, combines his strengths as a songwriter, lyricist, and instrumentalist.

B.o.B. Presents The Adventures of Bobby Ray

The Adventures of Bobby Ray is hip-hop for schizophrenics. B.o.B., who produced most of the tracks on the album, draws his inspiration from pop, soul, indie-rock and everything in between.B.o.B. recalls the soulful hip-hop of Goodie Mob as well the experimental approach of k-os. The live instrumentation on “Past My Shades” gives you the feeling that the artist has migrated from the speaker to your living room. His charismatic singing powers the catchy “Lovelier Than Thou.”

His twist on Vampire Weekend’s “The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance” is the rare cover that’s largely superior to its source material. Where Vampire Weekend’s vocals are languorous and dark, B.o.B.’s take has a bounce that sends the song gyrating around the drums. His imagery is brilliant: “We’re trapped inside the Matrix / Forced to play our hand / We’re filled with so much hatred / The kids don’t stand a chance”; His honesty refreshing: “As a kid I never understood what I observed…Always in detention / For the lack of my attention / You can call deficit / Really I just didn’t listen.”

Sound Traveler

B.o.B.’s debut is an adventure without a map. B.o.B. travels wherever the sound takes him. Eleven of the 15 cuts here feature guests, from Lupe Fiasco to Hayley Williams and Janelle Monaé. Fortunately, many of the cameos enhance rather than diminsh the album’s quality. “The Kids,” for example, benefits from Janelle Monaé’s strong vocals. “Airplanes II,” which finds Bobby Ray and Eminem envisioning life without music, excels mostly because Eminem doesn’t know how to waste a verse.

The album’s main flaw is that it doesn’t allow enough room for B.o.B. to shine. It’s never a good idea to stuff your debut album with reinterpretation of other people’s songs, a multitude of guests and two versions of the same song. B.o.B. should’ve used his debut as a platform to showcase his sound. Instead, it comes across like a mixtape at worst or a mid-career experiment at best. Just B.o.B. and a handful of friends would’ve sufficed.

Half adventurous, half cautious, B.o.B. never quite puts all his assets together to craft an exceptional album.

Standout Tracks

  • “The Kids”
  • “Lovelier Than Thou”
  • “Airplanes II”

May 16, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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