Album Review- B.O.B. - Strange Clouds

Strange Clouds has been out for a long ass time and I didn't even think there was going to be an album. I thought it was just a random song but apparently B.O.B. flew under my radar this time and his newest album just dropped, titled after the hit with Lil' Wayne. Here is my album review of B.O.B. Strange Clouds.

The album opens with a short monologue by Morgan Freeman before B.O.B. goes in over a electronic inspired track with another strong opening salvo about life in general. Part of it is inspirational part bragging but overall the entire song is a great start. "Ray Bands" is a club track with little in the way of overall content but Bobbie Ray does good talking about a chick trying to get him and her style. Meanwhile "So Hard to Breathe" is the required sophomore album song about the trappings of success and juxtaposes being happy to be at a position of fame and stardom with the fact it can be crushing.

"So Good" is the newest single and has been playing everywhere including ESPN's First Take where BOB talks about how he can treat a young lady. Bobbie goes more traditional with his spitting on "Play For Keeps" where he talks about where he is from and what he has got. He sounds a bit like luda on parts of the song. My favorite track is "Out of My Mind" which features Nicki Minaj on a track where they spit on illness with the theme of being nuts for Bob while Nicki talks about her fame.  I'm not that big of a fan of "Strange Clouds" but it isn't a bad song and B.o.b. thoroughly outshines Lil Wayne on this one. "Both of Us" is a duet with Taylor Swift where they talk about struggle from two different perspectives. This is going to be a pop hit.

I can't say the same thing for "Arena" which is a formulaic song created around the Chris Brown and TI features. I mean the verse Bob drops is cool but the hook is a generic one I've heard 6 times this year from Breezy. "Never Let You Go" has a hook handled by Ryan Tedder about holding on against the odds. "Circles" is about B.O.B. talking about a chick he can't get but who stays on his mind, this song has what some would call a gimmicky pre-chorus but it works really good with this track that could be a staple for afternoon family barbecues. Playboy Tre is once again featured on an album on "Just a Sign". Trey Songz is less than memorable on "Castles" another inspirational type song. The album ends with "Where are You (B.O.B. vs Bobby Ray)" where he goes over what critics and friends speak about when it comes to changes in the time since he blew up. Its about dealing with expectations from everyone else.

I was surprised that B.o.b. had an album come out but I'm glad it dead. Hip-hop needed something new and this is another fresh take on the emerging hip-pop, hipster type of genre. B.o.b. mixes the pop sound more organically and varied than say Nicki Minaj who is the only other artist in his type of class within what some would consider a new class of rap music. While fans of trap music won't be checking for this, if you care for diversity in your music collection this album should be in your ipod right after the adventures of Bobby Ray. This is one of the better sophomore albums you're going to hear.

Rating: 4/5


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