B.o.B. keeps it real on his third studio album, "Underground Luxury".
Bobby Ray is often cited as one of todayâs underrated rappers. In the past, his hip hop game has come under fire for infusing pop and rock into his music. Heâs also been dubbed a âsell-outâ many a time, for creating radio winners. On Underground Luxury, he fights the critics bringing more of a hip hop feel. B.o.B manages to deliver a good set of tracks here, as the album acts as a chapter to the novel of his growing discography.
The singles that were released earlier this year from Underground Luxury, âHeadbandâ and âReadyâ could easily have people misunderstood about the ideas behind this album. There are certainly an appropriate number of dope club bangers. It would be a crime not to mention âThrowback,â which surfaced on the internet sometime last month. With a feature fromÂ Chris Breezy, this track has a sick beat with an ill sample. The track is produced by Mr Bobby Ray himself, and itâs one track you have to âgo crazy toâ.
The real essence of what B.o.B is trying channel here is his personal struggle, something heâs never really addressed before on his past work:
âA lot of people didn't get to see the full spectrum of what I do. So it's kinda like a re-introduction of my roots. My album coming out this summer, Underground Luxury, is really telling the story from...I grew up with very humble beginningsâ (Power 105).
This vibe is gathered on tracks such as âOne Dayâ. The Hustle Gang rapper opens up about how little he had growing up, âAnd when they laid my momma of no it just didn't amount/I still remember how she looked when she walked into the house/But still she tried her best to show what was Christmas about/And if we wanted hot water we had to microwave itâ. When you learn this from such tracks, other joints such as the opener, âAll I Wantâ about striving for money, and all things shiny make much more sense.
From this album you really get the impression that B.o.B has now come into his own with his music and identity in hip hop. The reflective track âJohn Doeâ which talks about addiction, has real depth alongside the beautiful vocals of Priscilla Renea on the hook. On âPaper Routeâ, we also get a chance to hear Ray spit about politics and conspiracy. Here,Â B.o.B is the realest we have ever heard him.
This wonât be the best album youâve heard this year, but itâs a dynamic, and mostly solid effort. It may require a few listens, but overall, it's definitely some easy listening. It takes you from lows to highs with a carefully balanced mix, and there are definitely some standout tracks you shouldnât sleep on.