First of all, this is my first Hip-Hop related album review, so I haven’t got a clue. But thankfully, it’s the artist’s first one too. So, twelve songs, can it be that hard?
Bobby Ray Simons or B.o.B has just debuted, and is an upcoming hip-hop star. He’s a multi talent since he writes, produces, raps and sings. Born in Atlanta just about twenty-one years ago, he’s learned to raise his voice and pursue a career in the music industry on his own.
Apparently, it took him two years to write, co-produce and record his debut album, so it better be a good one.
Let’s start with the first song. “Don’t Let Me Fall”, doesn’t start with a typical Hip-Hop beat, but with a piano. Have I worked with the wrong words, already? It takes after the first chorus to find him rapping. You know what? If there are any romantic rap songs, this is one of them. And I’ve got a feeling it’s also a red line in the album. Please the ladies.
The second song “Nothin On You”, featuring Bruno Mars, is the song we all know and love. Like the first track, the song has an ultimate romantic and women friendly feel. Insuring the girl he’s with is the one and only, it’s usually sung by artists like Ne-Yo or for god’s sake, Justin Timberlake. But this time it’s done by this guy right here. Cute song, and probably on every single girl’s cellphone. Unless they’re deeply in love with Justin Bieber.
I’ve learned in the past that rock stars usually hate each other but rappers collaborate. I have no idea why, but the next song “Past My Shades” also justifies my theory. Yep, it features Lupe Fiasco. On another song, though, “Airplanes” rock and rap meet since Hayley Williams (of Paramore) sings in the chorus of the song. But we’ll get back to that.
Anyway, Past My Shades sounds quite renewing at first, but it’s really repetitive. The simplicity of the chorus, and really, the whole song, isn’t the good kind of simplicity.
The next track, and second single, if I’m correct is “Airplanes” featuring Hayley Williams, as said before. This song is probably as repetitive as the previous song, but it’s refreshing to have a female pop/rock singer who’s about the same age as B.o.B himself, to have on the track. It’s been done before. Think about Jay-Z and Linpkin Park, which turned out to be a classic. So we know it works.
“Bet I” is also a collaboration. How else could it be? This time it’s with T.I. and um… Playboy Tre. Okay so we go straight from the romance to the hip-hop beat hardstyle. This is a typical one. And a quite funny one too, because in my imagination I see these rap stars banging their head, while trying hard for their hats to stay on their head. After the song’s finished they give a secret handshake and talk about their big breasted girlfriend. Bling, Bling baby.
“Ghost In The Machine” is on another level. When I said he can sing, I meant it. He’s a rapper on the first place, but as far as I can tell no one is singing on this track other than him, and he’s not rapping either. The song has a mysterious vibe, an I like it.
“The Kids” featuring Janelle Monáe goes back to the good old rapping. But it’s a more relaxed song. I have no idea whose the featuring artist is, but I’ve got a feeling she’s gonna be a star, because she’s got a voice.
“Magic” also features another, rather unknown artist called Rivers Cuomo. What does this song sound like? Nsync’s comeback. I like it but I have to divert my expectations.
“Fame” has a fifties vibe, and reminds of Touch The Sky by Kanye West. Well, not really but it also includes a typical trumpet or whatever that thing is that made the fifties colorful. The song has a huge sample in it, only I can’t identify of what song yet.
Now take your lovers hand, and we’ll dance to “Lovelier Than You”, slowly. It’s Bob Marley mixed with Johnny Logan. A cute djembé beat.
“5th dimension” featuring Ricco Barrino is a continuation of semi-Bob Marley. Heat it up, and we’re ready to go to the bedroom. They sing; “Let’s go”. Yeah.
The last track is nothing more than a different version of “Airplanes”, but this time not only with Hayley but also, and most importantly, (a quite aggressive) Eminem. I don’t hear a big difference other than that, though. So I don’t get the second version. Everything has a reason, though.
It’s good debut, with a lot of good and experienced producers, and some important collaborations that could change a lot of the sales numbers. B.oB has proven than he’s more than just a rapper, and has a lot of different kind of genres upon his sleeve. But the album, to me is a bit too repetitive, all though some songs surprise. A little less Hip-Hop than expected, a little more corniness than I wanted, but he has a crowd. And I’m sure he’ll maintain his crowd.