Mixtape Review: B.o.B's "F*ck 'Em We Ball"
B.o.B’s stated several times (most recently being on Twitter) that he’s an artist, and to pigeonhole him into a genre would be inaccurate. His latest outputs have proved just that; his last album, Strange Clouds had him bouncing between several different styles, and although the album received generally favorable reviews, it lacked that pure rap element that some people enjoy from him. Thankfully, B.o.B’s good at making up for that in his mixtape drops, and it’s no different here.F*ck Em We Ball is essentially B.o.B flexing lyrically alongside high-powered features from Snoop Dogg, T.I., Playboy Tre, Iggy Azalea, Mac Miller, and more, but aside from that there’s nothing here to warrant a replay aside from wanting more music from the Grand Hustle representative.
If you’re wanting more substance from B.o.B., it’s not exactly present here. What awaits you instead is more of a project focused on the typical subjects of rap: drugs, women, etc. Bobby Ray’s known for being about more, so the suddenly shallow approach is somewhat surprising, even if it is just a mixtape for his fans to ride to. Even though it’s short-sighted in that aspect, We Ball still delivers dope music with that B.o.B. flair.
“Dynomite” samples the popular Black Dynamite sound bite somewhat predictably, while the Mike Will produced “Still In This B*tch” features a solid verse from Juicy J and T.I. (unrelated, but the chemistry that T.I. and B.o.B have on tracks together should be noted). The title track, produced by Featherstones, also stands out due to Bob’s rhymes and the different dimensions to the instrumental. In addition to the features, most of the skits are also hilarious as usual, with Playboy Tre and Kevin Hart delivering quotables via voicemail.
F*ck Em We Ball is indeed a B.o.B project; the production at times borders between Hip-Hop and other genres, and although the content is stubbornly Hip-Hop, the overall sound of it’s hard to describe. In short, it’s similar to how unorthodox B.o.B is as an artist. With that being said, We Ball is more of a typical return to his mixtape roots with a few gems scattered for good measure, but it lacks the substance – and in turn, the replay value – to keep getting spins into the near future.
Rating: 6.5 / 10