The Adventures of Bobby Ray

April 27th, 2010 by | Tags: , , , ,

B.o.B./Bobby Ray is pretty great. I’ve been following his career since… 2008? He’s dropped a few mixtapes I really dug, had some 5-star guest appearances, and I basically told myself I’d buy his album after hearing his “Who The Fuck Is B.o.B.?” mixtape for the first time. His new album, B.o.B. Presents The Adventures of Bobby Ray is out, and I just copped it. Eight bucks on Amazon? Not even a question.

Bobby Ray is a child of the Dungeon Family, just like most of the better artists out of Georgia. Goodie MOb and OutKast are in his DNA, but not in a copycatting sort of way. There’s just a clear influence there, but he is clearly his own artist. He has the ability to put a deeply weird song next to some old school funk next to some skinny jeans rap next to something pimp tight and not have it clash.

(That’s another post-Dungeon thing. Andre 3000 has a rep for being the conscious poet, the weird half of OutKast, but he’s still the dude who spit “I got up in them hoes and I told ’em “Bye bye!”/ About two weeks later, she called me with some bullshit/ Talkin’ ’bout her period late… Guess what I did:/ *Click*.” It’s not cognitive dissonance so much as recognizing and embracing the fact that people go deeper than one word labels. It’s the same thing that puts Talib Kweli on a handful of songs with Pimp C. Put differently: “Is every nigga with dreads for the cause? Is every nigga with golds for the fall?”)

What I like about Bobby Ray is how he walks that fine line. He’s open about how he used to try to rap in a more radio-friendly style on “Generation Lost,” a track from The Adventures of B.o.B. He has talked about playing B.o.B. like its a role, and how he eventually had to learn to be comfortable being Bobby Ray and be okay with playing guitars or pianos on a track. He had to learn how to be him, and being him sometimes involves a song like “Grip Ur Body” or “Nigger” or “Haterz Everywhere.” There’s a spectrum of experience there.

It’s a lot there that I can personally relate to, is what I’m saying.

Him, Killer Mike, Pill, Jay Electronica, Yelawolf- they’re keeping southern rap interesting. I love Jeezy, but he doesn’t have the same range these cats do. Maybe it’s because they aren’t fully mainstreamed, I don’t know, but Yelawolf’s Trunk Muzik is crazy good, Pill spits fire on every verse, Jay ElecHanukkah is dope, if a bit MIA currently, and Bobby Ray and Killer Mike are the two finest heirs to OutKast’s legacy I can imagine.

Youtubes below. Listen to them, and if you dig it, pick up the record. “Nothin On You” is on the album, the rest are older tracks of varying ages. It’s black future music, baby.

(The “I’ll Be In the Sky” video vaguely suggests continuity between Bobby Ray and OutKast. Consider the video for “Elevators (Me & You)” from forever ago. You can even draw a line from the content of “I’ll Be In the Sky” to “Elevators.” Pay attention.)

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One comment to “The Adventures of Bobby Ray”

  1. Thanks for introducing me to his mix tapes. Have you heard his song featuring the singer from Paramore called Airplanes. Good stuff.