B.o.B Overcomes Sophomore Jinx on New Album, ‘Strange Clouds’: Album Review

Completing a sophomore album is often an exasperating process for hip-hop artists who release masterful debut records. The pressure to recreate the magic can be overwhelming, or the artist can meet the challenge head on by taking their music to another level.

B.o.B does the latter on his second opus, Strange Clouds.

The album opens with a spoken word piece by actor Morgan Freeman on “Bombs Away.” B.o.B goes on a lyrical tear and delves into religious and illuminati conspiracies. “And it seems like, in the grand scheme of it all, the world’s run by a few people and we never seen them at all. How do they exist if we don’t know who they are? They can be you, they could me, they could be queens and gods, Some say that we’re slaves, an alien race created us all,” he raps

On “Ray Bands,” he tells the familiar story of a young girl who gets caught up by the glitz, glamour and the players who live for the limelight.

On the acoustic driven “So Hard To Breath,” B.o.B raps about the rigors of working in the entertainment business. “Someone called my cell, and left a voicemail. They said ‘congratulations on the million record sales.’ As I’m flipping over furniture, knocking s—t off the shelf, I told myself I’d never get too deep to take a breath but I’m sinking.”

He also receives an assist from several prominent artists. Taylor Swift joins B.o.B on “Both of Us;” Chris Brown provides an insatiable chorus, T.I. lends a verse on “Arena”; and Trey Songz shows up on “Castles.”

“Play For Keeps” is a true hip-hop display of rhyming skills as B.o.B. raps for three minutes straight without being interrupted by a hook or chorus.

“When you’re roaming through the jungle, talk is nothing, talk is cheap, time is money, money is power, power corrupts eventually. So what are the options? What are the choices left for me? What other rule there’s left to break, I guess my faith is a quest for me.”

He harmonizes and reflects on the meaning of his life on “Just A Sign” and the album closes with “Where Are You.”

Overall, Strange Clouds proves that B.o.B dodged the sophomore jinx and he is well on his way to an illustrious career in music. –amir shaw

Here is the official video for B.O.B.’s latest single ‘Strange Clouds’ featuring Lil Wayne.

Target is partnering with B.o.B for the exclusive deluxe version of his sophomore album, Strange Clouds. Target’s deluxe version of Strange Clouds includes five bonus songs and is available beginning May 1 at Target stores and Target.com for $13.99. The five bonus songs include “MJ” (featuring Nelly), “Back It Up for Bobby,” “Guest List” (featuring Roscoe Dash), “What Are We Doing?” and “Ms. Professional.”

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.

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