By now you've most likely heard the song "Nothin' On You" by Atlanta-based MC B.o.B.
If you haven't, then get out from under the rock you've been calling home the past two months. The track has been all over the airwaves and on Youtube, actually prompting B.o.B's label to bump up the release date on his debut album, The Adventures of Bobby Ray, by a month.
B.o.B had lightning in a bottle, and who could blame Atlantic for wanting to capitalize on the success of "Nothin' On You?" The initial round of reviews for Bobby Ray have been nothing if not sterling, and that's completely the fault of B.o.B and his impressive roster -- Hayley Williams, Rivers Cuomo, T.I., Eminem, Bruno Mars -- of guest spots for his much-ballyhooed debut.
What the critics are saying:
Prefix: "Funky Atlanta MC B.o.B. comes from the line of slightly oddball hip-hoppers like Outkast's Andre 3000. While B.o.B., who also goes by Bobby Ray, hasn't built an empire just yet, he's remained relevant for several years with mixtapes, singles, and scattered TV appearances. That seems to be the way it goes these days, though, with mixtapes more often acting as debut material than proper LP. But B.o.B's true debut, The Adventures of Bobby Ray, is actually just that. In the works since 2007 and pushed back a number of times, this album features a guest list just as eclectic as his music. Eminem, Weezer, Lupe Fiasco, and Bruno Mars make an appearance, as does T.I., who is also the executive producer. B.o.B. and the Smeezingtons round out the producer lineup."
: "B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray is packed with something for Hip Hop, Pop and possibly Rock music lovers alike. Unlike standard Hip Hop/Rap records B.o.B aka Bobby Ray's lyrics are stylized and relatable cross culturally. Add to that his musical presentation and featured artists and this album is set to storm multiple genres and has potential to be one of the top albums of 2010."
"Multi-instrumentalist mixtape vet B.o.B is a one-man second coming of Atlanta's Organized Noize era. But where OutKast's best spun elastic funk through cinematic psychedelia, The Adventures of Bobby Ray is a hip-hop Scary Movie, tossing off references (Vampire Weekend sample, Rivers Cuomo cameo) while struggling to establish a distinctive identity. Ironically, the high point is straightforwardly buoyant R&B hit "Nothin' on You." Elsewhere, dazzling rhymes are saddled with generic riffage ("Don't Let Me Fall"), a Sublime-lite groove ("Lovelier Than You"), and emo melodrama ("Airplanes," featuring Paramore's Hayley Williams)."
The Washington Post:
"Instead, [B.o.B] treats "The Adventures of Bobby Ray" as a collaborative party, seemingly using his status as the Next Big Thing to call on all of his favorite artists: T.I., Rivers Cuomo, Paramore's Hayley Williams and Lupe Fiasco, to name a few. B.o.B. goes it alone on only four tracks, but the cameos augment rather than overwhelm his talents. B.o.B., who produced most of the album, thoughtfully creates tracks to suit the strengths of each guest, with the one constant being his ability to adapt to almost any style."