“B.o.B vs Bobby Ray” – click to listen or download
Disclaimer: B.o.B is the alter-ego of Bobby Ray. While the alter-ego thing isn’t a new trick (remember T.I. vs T.I.P.?), B.o.B is not your average rapper by any means.
“B.o.B vs Bobby Ray” is a stellar mixtape. B.o.B infuses his music with a lot of soul and as a result you (the listener) begin to develop a real connection with him as a person. Most rappers spend too much time bragging for that to happen and its refreshing that B.o.B has the skills to explore a much wider range of subject matter.
Everything B.o.B says comes off as genuine, honest, and heartfelt. With each song he gives you a chunk of himself and in the end you respect him for being brave enough to do so. Even when he does brag about how fly he is, his word play is 10x more clever than 90% of other rappers.
Soul/Rock Hip Hop
Musically B.o.B is a cross between OutKast, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Marley. How fly is that? B.o.B raps, he sings, and he produces. More than anything though, B.o.B is a true lyricist.
On track #2 of “B.o.B vs Bobby Ray”, B.o.B freestyles a sentiment that I agree with 100%:
“The syndicated radio is only playing trash/Every single song is the same ol’ track/About Patron, Patron, Patron, and swag/Swag, swag, Patron, and swag/And the whole hood singing ‘Patron and swag’/Everybody wonder why the kids so bad/’Cause the only thing that they know is Patron and swag.”
It’s intelligent lines like these that set B.o.B apart from the competition. Really though, I don’t think he has any competition because his sound is so unique that it places B.o.B in a league of his own.
In fact, B.o.B is defining his own genre. I call it soul/rock hip hop.
B.o.B’s versatility is ridiculous. Like, absurd. Andre 3000 of OutKast is the closest comparison I can think of but B.o.B is such an original artist that there isn’t a box he’ll neatly fit into. Some tracks like “No Man’s Land”, “Goodnite”, and “Camera” are definitely reminiscent of Andre 3000 though (in a good way).
Aside from Asher Roth, B.o.B is the only young rap artist (under 25) I’ve heard in the last 5 years with the lyrical talent to carry the torch for real hip hop. Fans of real hip hop expect someone to fill the void left by 2Pac and Biggie. Whenever Nas, Jay-Z, Kanye West, T.I., Ludacris, and Eminem decide to quit rapping, that is.
There have been lots of talented young rappers come along but not many of them write the kind of lyrics that make you stop and think. B.o.B does.
B.o.B’s’ lyrical skills and his delightful musical experimentation make a strong case for this incredibly talented MC to be the future of hip hop. He may not have a buzz as strong as Drake or Kid Cudi but he’s definitely as talented as they are, if not moreso.
And the Winner Is?
On the first half of the mixtape B.o.B artfully rips through rap beats and proves he’s a monster on the mike. Despite the inclusion of feature verses from a number of other MCs, B.o.B easily stands out from the bunch. Make no mistake about it, this is the B.o.B and Bobby Ray show. Yet somehow Asher Roth still manages to slide in a DOPE ass verse on “Change Gonna Come.”
The second half of the mixtape is where things get interesting. Bobby Ray steps in and switches gears starting with “Satellite,” a spacey track with a cool, laid back vibe.
All in all the Bobby Ray half of the mixtape is much more musically creative than the B.o.B half though some of his best rap verses are on the B.o.B half. The Bobby Ray tracks are fused with soul, rock & roll, and a hint of electronica. The creativity and style of these songs are a breath of fresh air for hip hop. The rap game needs B.o.B (and Bobby Ray).
Ultimately it’s too difficult to pick a winner so I’ll say this instead: B.o.B is the man you go to for feature verses on gutter mixtape tracks and Bobby Ray is the artist you want to buy an album from. Together, they are unstoppable.
These are the tracks that I believe have mainstream crossover appeal. But since they’re just mixtape tracks the most exposure they are likely to see is the occasional feature on Internet-distributed compilation mixtapes and blog mentions (like this one!). Nonetheless, if you don’t feel like listening to the entire mixtape I highly recommend these songs if you like your hip hop with extra flavor.
Who’s the hotter artist–B.o.B or Bobby Ray? Is B.o.B the future of hip hop? Will his unique soul/rock hip hop blend catch on? Do you think mainstream American music has room for another ATL rapper?
Share your thoughts in the comments section 🙂
Dexter Bryant Jr. (DbryJ)
DbryJ Music Media