B.o.B.’s new mixtape, No Genre seems to reflect the turning point the emcee explained to us when we last spoke. At that time, he had just reached No.1 on the Billboard Charts with The Adventures of Bobby Ray. He had been catapulted into the fast lane faster than pretty much any emcee since 50 Cent.
In the interview with SFCritic he explained he missed the days of being an underground rapper when people around him weren’t all yes men. Tracks on No Genre like “Beast Mode” and “Batman Flow” seem like B.o.B.’s answer to doubters (including himself) that he’s more than pop with fiery flows and battle lines.
The album released earlier this week (Dec 7th) is a mix of heavy pop and “gritty” southern rap. It’s more confusing than genre-less. As though B.o.B. is trying hard to flex his skills for “real hip hop” fans, while holding onto to his teeny bop following.
On “So So,” and “How U Do That” his fast rhyme pattern sounds like Yelawolf or Big Boi; but then, on “Cold As Ice” (a complete knock off of M.O.P.’s track) the beat and hook sound like something Katy Perry might use, while B.o.B.’s rap mimics “Bonnie and Clyde” by Jay-Z and Beyonce.
Don’t get me wrong, there are few nice tracks. “Shoot Up The Station” samples Santigold and asks us to shoot up our TVs (how Gil Scott Heron of you!). The beat on “Dr. Arden” by Jack Splash is slamming. “Attraction” is stripped clean with a minimalist synth progression, and is a smooth ride up and down “like a roller coaster.” But guest appearances by T.I. and Bun B are forgettable. Only the young up and comer Donnis on “Batman Flow” makes an impressionable flow with lines like, “Now I’m an everyday topic, under a microscope so I’m feeling microscopic, my shit was fading to black…but I made it to the next step like recovering alcoholics.”
B.o.B. has tons of talent which is evident with his mega universal hits like “Nothin’ On You,” and “Airplanes.” His self-produced tracks like “Ghost In The Machine” or “Satellite” from The Adventures of Bobby Ray or “Attraction” from No Genre reflect a side of B.o.B. that his popular fans are only now taking to with the success of “Don’t Let Me Fall.” Until both B.o.B. and his fans are on the same page, he’ll be singing “Don’t Let Me Fall” a lot more…
You can download the mixtape here.
B.o.B.-“Shoot Up The Station” DL
B.o.B.-“Dr. Arden” DL
B.o.B.-“So So” DL