Bobby Ray is one of the few current artists that has been consistent all the way through his career. Granted, I think with most hip-hop artists, their best work is typically in their first few mixtapes before the fame, and before they are put to work under the watch of a major record label. However, B.o.B has been able to stay consistent not only in his quality, but in his style as well. He still has that amazing back and forth between poppy singer/musician, and raw hip-hop artist. Which makes being a fan quite a fun experience, because album to album, and even song to song, you never quite know what to expect. And with his third studio album just around the corner, we’re all anxiously waiting to hear what side of B.o.B we’ll be hearing.
His newest single, ‘All I Want’, is a middle ground between his two sides. Unlike the previously released, more club-friendly ‘Headband’ and ‘Ready’, ‘All I Want’ takes a slowed down pace, and hits on topics that may seem familiar in the rap world — money, women, and a life of luxury. Yet, he seems to do it out of appreciation for what he has, and delivers his bars with the same determination that got him here in the first place.
This is a great change of pace from some of the previously released tracks, and it’s tone is exactly what I’ve come to love about the ATL rapper. Underground Luxury is due out December 17th, but you can pre-order now by heading over to iTunes.
B.o.B – All I Want
Well this is very unexpected. However, in hindsight, it actually makes quite a bit of sense. B.o.B has always been an artist that crosses over to other genres outside of hip-hop. But never has he gotten involved in an electronic production until now. Many of you probably haven’t heard of The Potbelleez. But they happen to be one of Australia’s hottest acts right now, as they currently have a top 10 radio track running through the airwaves. And now they seem to be penetrating the American market as well.
Released on Ministry of Sound, ‘Magic Number’ is a drum and bass influenced track, with wobbly basslines, and Bobby Ray leading the way on the hook. But not only does he show off his vocal chops on top of an electronic track, he also has his way with a very impressive verse. This track hits on the right spots and should appeal to EDM fans, hip-hop fans, and even pop fans. This collaboration is the first of it’s kind for both Bobby Ray and The Potbelleez, but with the success this song is sure to see, I can’t imagine it will be the last. You can pre-order the track now on iTunes, however you’ll only have to wait 2 more days for it’s official release.
B.o.B is back, and for the first time in quite a while, it’s not a featured verse, or an unexpected freestyle. This is a studio track, with B.o.B crushing his bars and attacking some of those haters out there. There’s been a whole lot of back and forth banter between rappers as of late, so whether this is directed at anyone in particular (Kendrick Lamar again?) or just a general statement, we aren’t quite sure. But B.o.B seems to be at the top of his game, and he’s ready to take down whoever gets in his way.
The wheels are in motion for the release of his new album Underground Luxury, but we’ve yet to receive an official date as of yet. I think we can safely say this will probably end up on the tracklist, but for now, we can only speculate. So enjoy this brand new official single from B.o.B, and keep your ears open for more information on his upcoming album.
B.o.B – Missing
It seems like Kendrick Lamar is getting more attention from this single controversial verse then he ever has for one of his own tracks. I personally don’t think it’s the biggest of deals, but he’s definitely receiving some impressive responses from some of the best rappers in the game. B.o.B was actually one of the first to respond almost a week ago with this track ‘How 2 Rap’. I also happen to think this is without a doubt the best response we’ve heard. It’s short and sweet, but gets straight to the point and puts Bobby Ray’s hip-hop talents, as well as musical talents on display. I’ve believed for a long time now that B.o.B is one of, if not the most musically talented rapper in the industry. And to put together a freestyle like this, along with an impressive guitar solo in less than a day, just goes to show you how talented he actually is. Kendrick seems to be a bit over his head with these call outs, and artists like Bobby Ray are quick to put him back in his place.
B.o.B – How 2 Rap
It’s been a while since we’ve gotten some new music from Atlanta-native Bobby Ray, aka B.o.B. And I couldn’t be more excited about his triumphant return. He teased some new music just a few days ago, and now he’s arrived on the scene with the full track — and it’s a good one. It’s got a simple beat that you can literally whistle along to, but that’s not where this song shines. B.o.B just has that natural flow and the witty lyricism to go along with it.
As one of the few artists who have been able to successfully blend pop and hip-hop, I’m always excited to hear a track that fully embraces his hip-hop roots. The only complaint I have on this one is the presence of 2 Chainz. But I can say that about any track 2 Chainz is on, because I truly just don’t understand why that man is famous. But we’re getting off topic. B.o.B crushes this track and that’s all that really matters.
No word on where this track will end up, but with an album set to release later this summer, it’s likely this could be the first look. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
B.o.B – Headband (Feat. 2 Chainz)
B.o.B is one of the many artists who built his career around mixtapes: B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray, Cloud 9, Hi! My Name Is B.o.B, and more recently, E.P.I.C: Every Play Is Crucial. And those are only to name a few. So when news comes out that B.o.B is gearing up to drop another mixtape, as a huge fan, naturally I get excited. In fact, a mixtape announcement excites me more than an album. I’ve seen a general trend with Bobby Ray. His mixtapes have a very different vibe then his albums. His tapes focus more around straight up hip-hop. They have more of those heavier, harder tracks, as well as those hazy, stoner-friendly tunes. His albums are centered around the poppier, more melodic sounding tracks. Basically, his mixtapes are for the fans, his albums are for the label. And considering he’s released 3 or 4 mixtapes for every 1 album, it seems like B.o.B cares a lot about his fans.
Yesterday, on the same day Bobby Ray was born, he released his newest mixtape, Fuck Em We Ball. A lot of people have started knocking B.o.B, saying he’s gotten soft and lost his touch since he was introduced into the mainstream. Any haters or doubters out there, I think this mixtape should silence you…at least for now. The biggest appeal to me with B.o.B is how well rounded he is. I love his “softer” stuff for a number of different reasons that are entirely different from the reasons I love his “harder” tracks. This tape has some of it all. Tracks like ‘Dynomite,’ Still In This Bitch,’ and the title track ‘Fuck Em We Ball,’ all show B.o.B spitting relentless bars over some heavy beats. There are tracks on this tape that slow down a bit such as ‘Alright,’ ‘Roll One Up,’ and ‘Be There.’ But even on these softer tracks, B.o.B doesn’t slow down a bit.
It’s clear by now that B.o.B has a very versatile style. A lot of artists with so much to offer often find themselves overextending themselves and trying to do too much. Not B.o.B. He enlisted an impressive entourage of artists to help him out and round off the album such as Mac Miller, Snoop Lion, Juicy J, T.I., Iggy Azalea and more. With a lineup like that, and a talented artist like Bobby Ray, I’m glad to see this mixtape didn’t fall short. It’s got something for everyone, and should be getting more love in the blogosphere then I’ve seen thus far. So give it a listen and pick up the free download from Datpiff.
With a bit of a hiatus, Bobby Ray comes back hard, and brings some fellow southern artists with him. ‘We Still In This Bitch’ is a pretty simple beat that the three artists just tear apart. Nice to see some heavy flow from B.o.B. This is set to be on his forthcoming mixtape, and f the past has told us anything, his mixtapes tend to have some of the heavier hip-hop tracks, while his albums are geared more towards the lighter, poppier stuff. Both of which are great, but this track seems to more like his older stuff. And I personally love when he sticks closer to his roots
His Fuck ‘Em We Ball mixtape is set to drop November 15th, and this is just enough to hold me over until then.
B.o.B – We Still In This Bitch (Feat. T.I. & Juicy J)
I really don’t know where B.o.B is getting the time to put out all this music. In the last week he’s put out an album, a freestyle, a single featuring Nelly, and now an Olympic Games these song alongside alternative rock gods, O.A.R. This track is very different than anything we’ve heard before. Bobby Ray has been known to put out some hip-hop that’s considered on the softer or poppier side. This song definitely subscribes to that belief, but this is more of rock ballad, with a few hip-hop verses littered in there. And I love it. Not what you’d expect from either of these artists, especially when the release of the track itself came as a complete surprise. But once again, B.o.B shows why he’s so popular. He never seems to disappoint.
Download ‘Champions’ Feat. (O.A.R.)
Big day for Bobby Ray on The Music Ish. A full album writeup and now a featured freestyle. I’m not complaining though. The more B.o.B the merrier. Check out this insane freestyle that was featured on Hot 97 with Funkmaster Flex.
Download the B.o.B Freestyle
Today marks the official release date of B.o.B’s sophomore album, Strange Clouds. If you read this blog with any sort of regularity, you probably know by now that I’m a big fan of Bobby Ray. I think he’s an unbelievable performer, he plays multiple instruments and is musically talented in a way that most hip-hop stars are not, and he can also rap with the best of them. On top of all that, he’s always looking out for his fans and releasing free mixtapes. My one complaint that I began to notice was that his mixtapes appeared to be more for his “true fans,” while his album(s) went the more mainstream direction. What does that actually mean? His mixtapes had a bit of everything: hip-hop and pop, heavier beats and lighter melodies. His first album was very one-sided. It stuck to the radio-friendly poppier songs. And as much as I loved The Adventures of Bobby Ray, I didn’t think he did a great job of really showing off the range of his talents.
My biggest concern was that this album would follow the same formula as his first. And when he released ‘Both Of Us’ featuring Taylor Swift, I was certain my suspicions would be correct. But after a couple listen throughs, I was proven wrong. And I couldn’t be happier about it. When you listen to tracks like ‘Bombs Away’ I can’t help but be reminded of older B.o.B from the days of B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray. Then you put on ‘Both Of Us’ and you get that poppy feeling and just know that it’s sure to hit the radio. So he really covers all the styles that he’s shown us in the past through his mixtapes and his first album. But then you hear a track like ‘Out Of My Mind’ featuring Nicki Minaj, and you don’t know what to think because it’s some brand new version of B.o.B that we haven’t heard before. His versatility throughout this entire album is what makes me immediately fall in love with it. Once I get passed that fact, I can then start appreciating everything else that makes this album great: the amazing production, the star studded cast, the catchy beats/melodies, and the story-like commentary in his lyrics.
Although this is only his second album, B.o.B is far from new to the scene, and his experience really paid off with this one. Strange Clouds has everything and more that fans have come to expect from Bobby Ray. So make sure you pick it up on iTunes, because this is an album that will be talked about the rest of this year.
With the release of Strange Clouds just around the corner, B.o.B is giving us something to be excited for. The latest single, ‘So Hard To Breathe,’ is said to be Bobby Ray’s favorite off the album. So far, I have to agree with him. This is what B.o.B does so well. He bends genres that mold into something brand new and completely his own. The light acoustic guitar at the beginning is a pretty serious juxtaposition to the angrier sounding verses about the struggles of stardom. But that’s what makes this track so great; it gives us signs of alternative rock with the guitar and the hook (which B.o.B sings himself), while still sticking to the hip-hop roots that you would expect from, well, a hip-hop artist.
This is the best we’ve heard from B.o.B and Strange Clouds, but I have a feeling we’re in for some great surprises come May 1st.
B.o.B – So Hard To Breathe
There are a lot of unexpected things about this song. First, I never would have expected country star Taylor Swift to team up with Atlanta hip-hop star/musician/singer/songwriting B.o.B. Second, after getting passed the fact that B.o.B is on a track with Taylor Swift, I never could have imagined genuinely liking it. I mean, I do love Bobby Ray more than you’re average music fan. But I also dislike Taylor Swift more than your average music fan. So the fact that I really do like this song, and all it’s various components, is something of a surprise to me.
Set to be on B.o.B’s upcoming Strange Clouds album, ‘Both Of Us’ starts off as what you would imagine your typical Taylor Swift country track would be. But it quickly drops into an unreal verse from B.o.B. The back and forth duet between the two artists makes for a track that can make country and hip-hop fans alike really enjoy it all the way through.
Strange Clouds is set to drop May 1st. So be on the lookout, but let this hold you over till then.
B.o.B – Both Of Us (Feat. Taylor Swift)
Since B.o.B “went mainstream” he’s received a lot of criticism. I’d like to go ahead and say that he hasn’t gone mainstream just because he has some tracks that are radio hits. Isn’t it every musicians dream to hear their song on the radio. If people criticize an artist for going mainstream because they start hearing it on the radio, then what’s the point of making music. All the radio does is get the music to the masses, and if it’s not an artists goal to have as many people as possible listen to their music, then they are destined for a failed career. Bobby Ray definitely has some softer, radio friendly tracks, but he still releases mixtapes, still throws down some hard and heavy hip-hop verses on a lot of his tracks, and he produces some of the best melodies and beats in hip-hop. He’s come a long way since The Future and Cloud 9 (his first few mixtapes). And some may see that as a bad thing, but I’m glad to see an artist progress and continue to push boundaries and change their style around. It keeps an artist interesting and relevant.
B.o.B’s newest track, ‘Where Are You (B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray),’ is a reflection of his progression as an artist, and a lot of the criticism he’s received from a lot of critics. It starts off and almost seems like an apology. But I think it’s really him saying that this is who he is, this is where his music is going, and he doesn’t care about the critics, as long as he believes in the music he’s making and his fans are behind him. It’s a smooth, jazzy track with some really meaningful lyrics. B.o.B has always put together very coherent, intelligent tracks, and this is no different. Great melody, great beat, great lyrics. Everything you’d expect from B.o.B.
Pick up the track on iTunes, and be on the lookout for Strange Clouds, dropping May 1st.
B.o.B – Where Are You (B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray)
‘Strange Clouds’ has attracted some pretty solid artists. The original featured a couple verses from Lil Wayne, and now the remix picked up T.I. and Young Jeezy. I don’t really know which version I like better, but both of them have that lovely, dubstep-influenced beat, and a catchy hook from Bobby Ray himself. Strange Clouds is also the title of B.o.B’s forthcoming album, which is set to release on March 13th. This track will be making lots of noise till the album comes out, so definitely don’t pass this one up.
Download ‘Strange Clouds (Remix)’
I realize this is a Tech N9ne track, but a lot of the hype seems to be around the B.o.B verse due to the recent beef between Tyler the Creator and B.o.B (instigated by Tyler the Creator). After Tyler’s first words of hostility, B.o.B dropped ‘No Future.’ Now it seems that he’s added another verse to the fire, and this one is for keeps. The song as a whole is a very quality track, but the B.o.B verse is absolutely ridiculous. I love the versatility of B.o.B’s style. He can strum peaceful melodies like “Lovelier Than You,’ then he can throw down hard verses like this one, and absolutely kill it in both situations. Take a listen to the track, and read the lyrics to the B.o.B verse below.
I stab you with the mic and rap this verse I’m rapping to you
Matter fact I’m rapping through you
Never say my mother fuckin name unless you absolutely have to
I am not no fuckin jacket with no matchin shoes and you are not no fashion guru
Can even see you niggas, yall wish I was rappin to you
Matter fact, act like I’m rappin to you
If that gives you passion to use [not sure what he says here] to jump out of conclusion
That I’m attackin you dudes is just like old fashion voodoo
Yall aint even the shit, no yall aint even the doodoo
I got more flavor on the tissue paper under my Tooboos
So I’m slappin you foolish with wooden paddles you stupid
Babysittin’ little bastards like little afternoon children
You can call em psychotic but it’s more like schizophrenic
And I can speak can anyone tell me just where my medicine is
Guess I gotta show these minors just what my avenue is
Man I swear I’m up outta my brain like graduate students
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings
I see your tears, come here, give me your face, let me clear it
But I wonder how it would look if I could peel it back with a skillet
Then I’mma feel it crack when I hit it, then I’mma spill it back when you heal it
Damnit Bobby Boy, what in the hell, what in the Heaven, what in the Earth,
Where is your mom? Why do you curse? Where are you from?
Where was your birth? Where were you first? Why weren’t you in church? Why is there dirt, all on your shirt?
Man I think you’re going berserk
Tech N9ne – Am I A Psycho (Ft. B.o.B. & Hopsin)
Download ‘Am I a Psycho’