B.o.B.’s “The Adventures of Bobby Ray” hasn’t even dropped yet, but I’m already sick of B.o.B.
That doesn’t mean I don’t like his output. I do. But the hype and the sheer quantity of material all at once is trumping the quality of artist he is, or at least still trying to be.
His collaboration with another up-and-comer Janelle Monae on a cover of Vampire Weekend’s “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance” has been making the rounds since Monday.
Around the same time, he “leaked” his collaboration with Eminem and Paramore’s Hayley Williams on “Airplanes Pt. 2, ” the sequel to “Airplanes” (which hasn’t even promoted proper-like).
“Nothin’ On You” featuring Bruno Mars is taking the No. 1 spot from Rihanna tomorrow on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, after a steady climb to No. 1 over the last month and some change.
And he’s sat on “Bet I” — his collab with T.I. — hard, releasing remixes/mixtape versions starting in March, some more street than club, and vice versa.
He’s gone on TV, hit Coachella, has been rolling out a live show as best he can with this meteoric, unexpected rise (thank iTunes for that one).
What’s wrong with this? So much, too soon. “Nothin’ On You” is like Ludacris’ “My Chick Bad” meeting a less vapid version of Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls.” It’s cute, girls love it, it’s a perfect crossover. It hasn’t reach nearly fever-pitch, in this writer’s opinion.
And “Airplanes” (the first) is a perfectly servicable follow-up to it. By rolling out the red carpet for Em, pre-release, without video, without explanation, for “Pt. 2” seems to be jumping the gun, cheaping the first, boiling down that nine month album release cycle to a Tweet and a somewhat lengthy, annoying promotional effort to have fans sign up for a street team in order to hear the damn thing. (And don’t bother with the YouTubes on this one, Warner’s got ‘er on lockdown.)
Hell, I love Vampire Weekend just like any other sucker; they were, after all, the best-selling album artist for one week earlier this year. Combining that with Monae gives B.o.B. cred in the indie set (just as Kid Cudi got it with MGMT and Ratatat) but it’s not a jam that seems to jive with his gold-platinum-diamond spitting personae of “Bet I.” T.I. just got out of jail, let the man trot around for a bit.
“I couldn”t tell you what it takes to write a hit song any more than Rihanna could tell you how to write a hit song, no more than the person on the bottom of the charts could tell you. A hit song doesn”t necessarily mean a good song, which doesn”t mean to take away anything from a hit. But people write great songs all the time, but what makes it a hit? Who knows. Organized chaos,” he told Idolator at Coachella about making hit songs.
B.o.B.’s got plenty of good songs. But his hits may be taking away from other hits.
“The Adventures of Bobby Ray” is out April 27.
Check out the smattering of current B.o.B. plugs below. What do you think? Can he draw out the hits over the next two years, Gaga style, with this much promotion so soon?
[Watch and listen to songs after the jump…]