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

Artist: B.o.B.
Album: The Adventures of Bobby Ray
Genre: Hip Hop
Label: Grand Hustle/Atlantic

Having risen through the underground ranks through his mixtapes, endless promotion, and pure talent, Atlanta native B.o.B, also known as Bobby Ray, is finally hitting the mainstream. Originally planned for a May 25th release [his last mixtape even carried this date as its title], the success of “Nothing on You” as a lead single pushed the powers that be to push his debut album, B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray up to April 27th. Boasting almost as many styles as there are tracks, this is one record that you’ll be talking about for QUITE some time.

If you’ve followed underground hip hop at all in the past 2-3 years, B.o.B is already an established artist for you. His mixtapes have blurred genre boundaries between folk, soul, pop, funk, rock, and hip hop and pushed listeners out of their comfort zones so it came as no surprise to most that he landed a record deal [especially with Atlanta based Grand Hustle]. For those unfamiliar however, the style of B.o.B. is one few can define. For starters, Bobby Ray and B.o.B. are the same person, but B.o.B. tends to be related more to hip hop whereas Bobby Ray gets associated with soul/folk. There are few musical lines Bobby Ray has yet to cross and its because of this that he has risen to this point in his career. Through the rise of social networking and micro-blogging, the target market of pop/hip hop consumers [14-26] have reportedly grown short on attention and the variety offered by B.o.B. allows for him to keep people coming back for more and you better believe that element is never executed better than on The Adventures of Bobby Ray

Starting with the soul-pop meets hip hop infused “Don’t Let Me Fall,” B.o.B. quickly showcases a variety of his talents to kick things off. At first we a simple, yet hypnotic piano melody before Bobby Ray’s signature croon takes flight with the hook moments before the full beat enters and B.o.B.’s brings straight A-game lines. This transitions beautifully into “Nothing on You” before the album flips everything with the big band and doo-wop influenced “Past My Shades” which features Lupe Fiasco. Both artists handle their respected verses fine, but its the hook that will keep you coming back to this one. Its simple, but memorable and screams “Summer Party Mix 2010.”

Following the much praised and discussed “Airplane,” we have the hardest and, in my opinion, best track on the record. “Bet I,” which has guest spots from T.I. and Playboy Tre, features a top 40, anthem-inducing beat and once again, a hook few will be able to deny. It may seem like a recurring theme; mix two [or more] genres, add a catchy and simple hook, possibly have a guest spot, and boom – you got a B.o.B. gem, but its not that easy. What makes these tracks work isn’t the combination of those elements, but the way in which Bobby Ray intertwines them. Every track within every beat, along with every guest appearance and line on the record has been looked over multiple times by B.o.B. with a fine toothed comb and arranged to create a flawless yet expansive sonic experience.

As is the case with any artist whose willing to take chances, there are always missteps and B.o.B. is no different. While “The Kids” successfully mixes reggae and hip hop, the following track, the rock meets hip hop on the corner of pop and sugar track “Magic,” deals a mighty blow to the album. Its an honorable effort with solid contribution from Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo, but the near Metro Station like chorus is simply grating and will lead one to quickly developed automated skip skills for this song. Fortunately though, B.o.B. takes a similar step fusion wise, but with the use of a song sample, and finds gold with the follow “Fame.” This newfound footing leads to good, yet relatively safe strides on “Lovelier than You” and “5th Dimension” before getting to “Airplane pt. 2,” which closes the record. “Pt. 2” offers the same hook and pretty much same beat as the original, but with three new verses, one of which comes from Eminem. Now, I will be the first to say that B.o.B. lyrically dominates this record, even topping the likes of Lupe and T.I. in terms of contributions to their respected tracks, but Eminem takes the gold here. Coming on strong with a delivery style fans of The Marshall Mathers LP will eat instantly, the Detroit rapper turned actor turned rapper helps to close out what surely is a classic in the making.

Outside of the one aforementioned misstep B.o.B. presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray is easily one of the best records of 2010. Bobby Ray approaches music the same way today’s listeners do, with no boundaries, and its working with that mindset that makes this record so good. At no point do two songs [outside of “Airplanes” obviously] sound alike, yet everything flows and the lyrics never cease to be insightful and witty. Its clear from the first note to the last that this record wasn’t simply created as much as it built as close to perfection as possible from the ground up. Nothing is rushed and never do the lyrics turn entirely to hype or club bangers. This is real music created by a true musician surviving in a world of people who take the easy way out. Don’t just enjoy this, appreciate it because albums crafted this well are few and VERY far between

This is the kind of record you tell all your friends about and, if they don’t act upon your recommendation, buy a copy for just to spread the word. Its that good.

Score: 9.7/10

Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • Noticed the great Music Eminem has given out after Relapse??

    Like after he was actually sober and with a clear mind

    Drop The World
    And Now Airplanes

    Can’t wait for Recovery

  • If you are willing to buy a car, you will have to get the loan. Furthermore, my mother all the time takes a secured loan, which supposes to be really reliable.