Album Review: B.o.B. – The Adventures of Bobby Ray

April 29, 2010
By

B.o.B. - The Adventures of Bobby RayTitle: B.o.B. (presents) – The Adventures of Bobby Ray
Artist: B.o.B.
Label: Warner
Released: 27 April 2010
In one word: Underwhelming

I saw this one coming months back… B.o.B.’s debut has been hyped and talked up so much in the run up to its release that it comes as no surprise that the final product is underwhelming.

The Adventures of Bobby Ray is overrun with guest collaborations and only four of the twelve tracks see Bobby Ray Simmons on his own. B.o.B. sticks his fingers in many musical pies, the best of these being the indie-poptastic “Magic”, which features Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, and “The Kids” featuring Janelle Monáe is lyrically the strongest and has a really cool, authentic vibe and a good groove.  The backbone of “The Kids” is borrowed from a sample of the Vampire Weekend song and for this to be the strongest moment of the album really sums up it up – this entire record is propped up by the work of other artists.

The first track “Don’t Let Me Fall” should really have been stuck at the end, and its pleas for the listeners to “relate to this” are completely lost on me. B.o.B. is doing nothing fresh here – on the plus side, nothing gets close to being gangster rap, but there are plenty of other tired cliches from the rap genre, especially the whole ‘rags to riches’ tale. I’m completely the wrong audience for all the talk of fame, the bling-bling and the self-proclaiming greatness while putting down others – one Kanye West is enough, thank you. Oh, at the other end of the scale, when Simmons goes all sentimental and lovey-dovey with “Lovelier Than You” it is simply cringe inducing.

I just don’t believe any of it, and much of the lyrics seem lightweight and even out of date (there’s a David Blaine reference in there… didn’t the world stop paying attention to him 10 years ago?). OK, don’t get me wrong, there are some good songs, but, I reiterate, these moments are with the support of other artists. The two versions of “Airplanes” are both good, but the latter,  the final track with both Paramore’s Hayley Williams and Eminem, was the real eye-opener for me – Eminem sounds more authentic and pissed-off than Simmons ever is. Eminem still sounds raw, like a chained rottweiler as he spits out lines with such rabid intensity, whereas in comparison Simmons seems as tame as a coiffed and manicured poodle.

This album seems destined to go to number one in the charts in its opening week here in North America, and of course, in those terms B.o.B. can rest very happy on his laurels and has perhaps already placed a down-payment on some big obnoxious car. But while Bobby Ray is enjoying his Benjamins and maybe the odd Bentley, I’d encourage anyone alarmed by my shoulder-shrugging dismissal of The Adventures of Bobby Ray to go seek out something with a bit more rhyme and reason; from Canada’s underground hip-hop scene I’d suggest Chokeules, who’s solo debut Hypergraphia is easily more creative and ‘real’ than any of this. Or for something more mainstream (and pure bonkers) seek out London’s Dizzee Rascal, while to my mind Marshall Mathers still holds the throne for the heavier stuff, with a combination of lyrical nous and pure intent that remains unmatched.

Bobby Ray Simmons has been hyped as the new face of rap but with this debut, and all its collaborations, he might well have sold-out before he even had the chance to make his own identity as an artist.

© Brian Banks, Music Vice

Brian Banks

Editor and Founder, Music Vice Magazine. Writer. Photographer. Poet. From Scotland. Not Ireland. Proudly based in Toronto, Canada. Rock N' Roll Don't Pay The Rent... 

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16 Responses to Album Review: B.o.B. – The Adventures of Bobby Ray

  1. Sirkle on April 29, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    You are a fucking idiotic asshole who has the musical tastes of Helen Keller

  2. Antwan on April 29, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    To Brian Banks. Just out of curiosity, where exactly are you from?

  3. rob on April 29, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    completely wrong in almost aspects of this review

  4. leah on April 30, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    completely wrong. the album shows off how musically diverse bobby ray is.

  5. Shawty B on May 1, 2010 at 7:42 am

    dude you tell me wahs a good album now….nothing errthing all comercial and wack all the same stuff you know music nowere days aint the same before you would have a variety of beats diffrent songs making number 1’z but now u ave 2 make a cheesy club tune 2 make da number 1 spot but im now also enagde in da tunes coz dey make u bounce get me, But with this album he used his talent very well showed alot of people how he could make a new album with various diffrent songs on it slow songs, uplifting songs, and songs for the club ‘bet i’ he has 2 do these tunes to make a impact and people who never knew him i showed his cd and they now are a fan so in conclusion dude i fink ya review is rong but err1 has the right to ave a opinion I rate it 4/5 (the album)

  6. NoSurprises on May 1, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    How can he have sold out when 90% of his music sounds like nothing else out there?

  7. Robert on May 4, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    This is a ridiculous review.Just because you dont rap with intensity and anger your not relevant?Dudes not hungry,its not his style.If you cant be diverse in your appreciation in music then i suggest you dont review it.I bet your one of those guys who only like underground music and artists who act underground.News flash,none of the people considered the greatest artists of all time stayed underground or never branched out and tried different things.Grow up and expand your musical taste,its alot better to see the real world than download it.B.o.B is different than any other cd,if you dont like that sound,thats your fault.Not everyone is crazy and super lyrical…thats not even the only point to hip-hop.Its expression.Btw….ghost in the machine is a good track lyrically on anyone’s cd.You just may not enjoy the subject matter.

  8. Sam on May 5, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    I get the self-proclaiming greatness thing, which frankly nearly all rappers do, hip hop isn’t exactly known for humility. But since when does Kanye “put others down”? In fact, up until that 808s crap, his rhymes were largely uplighting and inspirational.

    And who says “bling bling” anymore? Oh right douchey, sarcastic white people. Nevermind.

  9. Sarah on May 5, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    The album is o.k. but its far off the classic album that a lot of people claimed it to be after like 1 day. Yeh this album is diverse but the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” comes to mind.

    @Sam – I think most people recognize Kanye as having one of the biggest egos in the biz, hogging the limelite at the Oscars was just the tip of the ‘berg…

  10. tai on May 6, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    This review sucks. The album is dope! Cop it

  11. Nikki on May 9, 2010 at 9:21 am

    The music is so good everyone wants to buy it !

  12. Summer O. on May 16, 2010 at 3:50 am

    Brian Banks:
    Your whole response is simply YOUR opinion. I couldn’t even read past the 2nd paragraph because I disagreed so much.

    Mine opinion is:
    BOBBY RAY IS THE SHIT 🙂 Oh… and YOU SUCK!

    HATERZ EVERYWHERE WE GO!!

  13. Robbie on May 18, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    “this entire record is propped up by the work of other artists”

    I dunno I like the album but Brian Banks has got a point with that. its a good album but not a work of genius like some people have been calling it.

  14. Caleb on August 30, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    A hard but fair review. It’s all about the collaborations. Airplanes wouldn’t have 40 million views on Youtube if Hayley Williams wasn’t involved…

  15. ibra on November 14, 2010 at 10:34 am

    u tokng rubbish hey u jst jelus of de guys success hs one of de mst talntd raprs dat uve prdcd in a lng tym or isit cos he dstnt tok abt gals cos hs da nw lupe fiasco

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