Review: B.o.B offers array of musical styles on CD

Associated Press Published: April 30, 2012
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B.o.B, "Strange Clouds" (Grand Hustle/Atlantic Records)

B.o.B is a rapper who has totally gone pop, but that's completely OK because it suits him.

The Atlanta-based artist fused elements of hip-hop, R&B and rock on his 2010 debut album, "The Adventures of Bobby Ray," which produced the chart-topping "Nothin' On You," featuring Bruno Mars, and the top 10 hit "Airplanes" with Hayley Williams.

The rapper-singer-producer sticks with the same formula on his sophomore album, "Strange Clouds," while tapping pop's most successful hitmakers, including Taylor Swift, Lil Wayne, T.I., Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj, for collaborations.

He gets production help from Ryan Tedder and Dr. Luke, but he showcases his own production skills on the album's opening track, "Bombs Away," featuring a voiceover from Morgan Freeman. It's filled with operatic vocals and a melody that sounds like it could be used in a horror show.

On "So Hard to Breathe," B.o.B starts off the song on the acoustic guitar before he heads into rap-crooner mode. He's at his best on that particular track along with "Where Are You (B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray)," where he's found playing the piano.

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