After facing a substantial amount of heat from rap fans for his past pop-oriented catalog, B.o.B was adamant to provide a balancing act on Underground Luxury.. On his third studio album, one certainly finds the Atlanta rapper migrating into new territories. Combining his earlier pop-esque records with more of an organic hip-hop sound, B.o.B reinvents himself on this LP all the while staying true to his original nature. Gathering a mix of club bangers like “We Still In This Bitch (Remix)” and other smoother sounding mixes on the LP, B.o.B displays his well-rounded artistry, but makes obvious strides to highlight the hip-hop elements.
Mentioning in previous interviews that the project showcases all aspects of his musical talents, the 25-year-old does a great job mixing in his many capabilities on Underground Luxury. “I just allow myself to be what I am. Whether that be a quote-un-quote conscious rapper, southern rapper, musician, or pop artist; whatever you want to call it. I’m all of these things and I just allow myself to be them simultaneously”, said B.o.B in an interview with XXL. The rapper really exhibits this in the different genres on the LP. From “All I Want” to “FlyMuthaFucka,” B.o.B really ignites a lane of his own with a musical combination of rap, pop, rock and country sounds that showcases his versatility.
In term of lyrics, with a first listen you can tell B.o.B is strongly embracing his southern hip-hop roots on this LP. However, the album does place a twist on rap from down South. There is a lot of content geared towards the party, bullshit and get money topics that are present in rap culture. However, the production (which is mostly done by Bobby Ray) evokes a deeper appreciation for his music as a whole. For example, the ATLien adds in many guitar-driven records like “FlyMuthaFucka” with its bluegrass country feel. Elsewhere, his confidence is all over the album and it shows in his experimentation with delivery. With lyrics like “If anybody else got something to say, get in line motherf**ker / I swear I’m always on a hater’s mind, don’t know why / I guess it’s cause I’m a fly motherf**ker,” the growth is evident. It also shows in other cuts like the lustful “Wide Open,” and “Throwback” featuring Chris Brown, where the 2009 XXL Freshman entails a more dominating tone.
Furthermore, it seems as though B.o.B has made a name for himself in being a hip-hop artist who can adapt to every genre his creativity explores. Every record on Underground Luxury possess a multi-atmospheric feel, as the beats dip in between many genres of music and really places him in another rap league. It’s apparent that B.o.B isn’t trying to intimate other MCs. Clearly, when he boasts that Underground Luxury is more “hip-hop heavy,” he isn’t lying. The album certainly delivers.—Miranda J.