AHH Album Review: B.o.B. ‘Underground Luxury’

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Amongst a bevy of creative souls, AllHipHop.com enjoyed the exclusive New York, listening event for, B.o.B.’s, Underground Luxury. Upon descending the narrow staircase to the lower level of  ACME restaurant, the intimate ambiance of the cocktail bar was heightened with the  tasteful décor and the black and gold balloons which lined the ceiling. An endless array of spirits, courtesy of Hennessy and Vitamin Water, were freely shared with the attendees, as B.o.B.’s latest artistic expressions bolstered the celebratory mood.

Smoothly navigating the captivated listeners, Bobby Ray’s easy demeanor dispelled any preconceived notions associated with his platinum-earned success.  At the photo booth, unique memories were instantly created. A signature gold-fronted smile, the exclamation point, was sincerely displayed as, Bobby Bands, took countless pictures with his invited guests. Encouraging handshakes, respectful hugs, along with an impromptu breaking session—B.o.B’s fluid moves did not disappoint—encapsulated the peaceful event.

Renowned as a gifted MC, singer / musician, and producer, the native ATLien, has challenged himself. Underground Luxury presents a cohesive depiction of his luxurious and labored life experiences. The Juicy J, T.I. assisted “We Still In This B*tch,” Future-embedded “Ready,” and the 2 Chainz-enhanced “HeadBand” easily elevated the party’s atmosphere. Thumping speakers, nodding heads, and gyrating hips accompanied these crowd favorites. Features from Ester Dean  on “Wide Open,” from Mike Fresh  on “Cranberry Moon Walk,” and from Chris Brown on “Throwback” showcase B.o.B.’s coveted ability to create arousing art without being too crass.

Whereas, the compelling tracks like “All I Want,” an introspective account of excess, solidifies his universal appeal.  He speaks to the ingrained American-condition that cultivates an aspiration to accumulate material things, people, and power.

B.o.B. time-travels on “One Day.” Candid lyrics shade a stark existence. Recollections of want summon all too-common experiences,  “…and if you wanted hot water we had to microwave it / and every day the power cut off, but we tolerate it / the thoughts they ought to be so lost, because I forgot to save them / I’m screaming at me in the mirror, because I got to make it…” Speaking on the “Paper Route,” which has entrapped millions, the insightful narrator spits, “…of course it’s unfortunate that n*ggas out here robbing for Jordans / can we not afford them, but can get a glock for them / is our views on reality kinda distorted…”

Overall, it’s the near balance of the thought-provoking, the party-educing, and the unabashed confident lyricism that constitutes the solid effort of, B.o.B.’s, Underground Luxury.

 AHH’s Ratings:

Lyricism:                                8 /10

Production:                          8 / 10

Album Cohesiveness:    8 /10

Replay value:                      7 /10

Photo Credit: Danielle Sheridan

Overall:                                  8 /10

Personal Favorite Tracks: “HeadBand,” “Coastline,” and “Paper Route.”

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