Layna may have written about this but I had to throw down my opinion as well. On May 1st 2012,popular American rapper and producer Bobby Ray Simmons Jr, or B.o.B., dropped his second album Strange Clouds and I seriously could not be more impressed. This album has, quite possibly, everything I could ever want from a combination hip-hop/rap album. With Strange Clouds,B.o.B. harkens back to a time when you didn’t have to have a catchy hook to create a fantastic song; every rhythm is the perfect backing to astounding lyrich lyrics. Every song leaves you feeling as though you have just taken a journey into B.o.B.’s heart and soul,which, essentially, you have.
Perhaps the best part about Strange Clouds is the fact that I could see each and every one of these songs being Top 40 hits. This is particularly amazing because not every song on StrangeClouds is about partying. Not only that, but the songs that are about partying are very well crafted and have real lyrics rather than a repeated 5word hook.
Speaking of well crafted,when I originally looked at the track list of Strange Clouds, I immediately disagreed with a few of the decisions made about featured artists; Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift were two featured artists that I was disheartened to see on Strange Clouds. However, after having listened to this album many, many times, I’ver ealized that B.o.B. got every detail of his songs right, even the featured artists.
One would obviously be pretty surprised to see Taylor Swift featured on a track by a rap artist, yet ,in “Both of Us”, her voice provides this perfectly soft voice that contrastsB.o.B.’s sharp rapper’s voice and smart lyrics. Clearly B.o.B. knows what he’s doing.
This is again seen in “Out of My Mind”, in which Nicki Minaj is the featured artist. I don’t approve of Nicki Minaj making any sort of music, at all, ever, yet I don’t think there is any song out there which is better suited to the vocal insanity that is Nicki.“Out of My Mind” is, quite clearly, about just going fucking insane because of everything going on in one’s life. Fast beats and intense lyrical delivery make this song a powerhouse that definitely benefited from the oddity that is Nicki Minaj.
It might not even be fair to say that one song on Strange Clouds is a “powerhouse”. In fact, I think you could say that every song on this album will hit you like a tractor trailer. This album is doin 90 on the freeway and there is no reason it shouldn’t. Even that one song that almost every rapper has that’s supposed to be a commentary on today’s society and which suggests some way to fix the world’s problems, is incredible. On Strange Clouds, this song is “Just a Sign (Feat. Playboy Trey)”: a commentary on the digitalization of music.
The deeply philosophical lyrics of “Just a Sign” are something that isn’t even exclusive to the social-commentary-song on this album; almost every song has lyrics that show the soul of B.o.B.
All in all, Strange Clouds is an extremely well done album. None of the songs are the same shit one hears on the radio every day, featured artists are wisely chosen, and, above all, the very heart and soul of this fantastic artist’s shines through. I foresee many a sold out show in B.o.B.’s future. Strange Clouds is available on iTunes for only $10!! That’s an amazing deal, considering each song is, individually, $1.29. Serioulsy. Take advantage of this. There’s no way you’ll regret it.