Strange Clouds, Solid Sounds!

After B.O.B’s debut album, The Adventures of Bobby Ray, was released in 2010, many — including myself — were immediately drawn to the energetic young hip-hop artist. Now, any lingering doubt regarding B.O.B’s superstar status should be completely dispelled by his new album, Strange Clouds.

Released on May 1st, this album features a number of notables, such as T.I., Lil Wayne, Taylor Swift, and (sadly) Nicki Minaj. These (mostly) talented artists all work to bring their own interesting flare to the album. Taylor Swift adds in a distinct country feel with her acoustic guitar in the fourth track, “Both of Us,” while Chris Brown and Nelly bring their fusion “hip-pop” styles to “Arena” and “MJ” respectively. Though this host of well-established musicians may have overshadowed other rappers, B.O.B manages to keep center stage throughout the enterprise.

Equally impressive as B.O.B’s ability to attract high caliber artists is his versatility. Compared to many rap albums, which follow the same basic track structure (I have money, I have swag, I have fame, repeat), Strange Clouds is a breath of fresh air. Each track exposes the listener to different tones, messages, and musical styles. Granted, B.O.B does take the listener on a tour of his home turf, Swag City (population you!), but he also visits Heartbreak Haven, Acousticopolis, and even Reflectiville. Through it all, Bobby Ray is effortlessly able to adapt his vocal style to fit the varied songs and convey the message behind each track.

While B.O.B’s versatility is notable, his greatest attribute is, and always has been, his vibrant lyrics and energetic flow. B.O.B’s “lyracal faya” (say it out loud) is most apparent in “Out of My Mind,” where, in a mock fight with Nicki Minaj, he quickly rattles off rhymes like,

I don’t need a sub, I don’t need a speaker,

Cause I bring the noise like an onomatopoeia.

Leave ya in the dust, all he see is my Adidas

Na na na na boo boo, wouldn’t want to be ya!

After skirmishing with Minaj, B.O.B is able to bring the listener into his inner ruminations with lines in “Where Are You.” In this track he addresses and expresses regret for the ways in which his newly acquired fame and fortune led to his estrangement from many of his old homies:

It’s like, people only see it the way it appears

But they never see the ropes and the pulleys and gears

Blood sweat and tears, we cry but we always swear there’s tears

In the middle of this rap game on the battlefield.

Overall, I definitely recommend that all who consider themselves Hip-Hop literates should look into buying Strange Clouds. In an industry overrun by uninteresting, generic, insipid rappers, B.O.B continues to shine like a ray of hope… or an airplane in the night sky… that we could pretend is a shooting star.

Mac Zech, Staff Writer

Posted by on May 9, 2012. Filed under Arts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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