The mixtape game is looking real big out there — street CDs are getting cats big free-agent deals, superstars are warming up the terrain for their albums and, in the case of Bobby Ray, the circuit is a way to release frustration and connect with fans while he waits for his debut to finally be released. He already has Tip's ear, and Eminem is checking for his music now as well. We got the goods all week — stay locked.
This Week's Main Pick
Street King: Bobby Ray
Holding It Down For: ATL
Street Album: B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray
Real Spit: No matter who wins in B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray, the artist who is known by both names insists neither one will die — they will simply merge. His debut, once known as The Adventures of B.o.B, will now be named The Adventures of Bobby Ray.
"I'm merging the [artist id="1534347"]B.o.B[/artist] element to what I'm doing now," Bob told us recently in Atlanta.
The album still doesn't have a release date, but Bobby is keeping busy, playing on the road and dropping mixtapes. We broke the news of Bob's musical evolution and moniker switch a few months back.
"The mixtape really comes from just the obvious idea of during this transition — musically, name-wise, style, everything — to do a mixtape where you compare and contrast what's the difference, and emphasize the direction I'm going in. I feel really good about it. I feel like it's an album. There's a lot of music we're putting on there — 18 songs. We're doing two versions. One version with no DJ drops — it's set up like a two-sided album — and then we have one with DJ Don Cannon and DJ Green Lantern where they mix it up DJ style."
Bob says the growth into Bobby Ray is all about his coming of age.
"The difference between B.o.B and Bobby Ray is ... when I was signed under B.o.B, I was really young and didn't understand the type of business I was getting into," he explained. "[I didn't understand] how free I could be with the music. I felt like I had to play this person, play this certain character — talk a certain way, dress a certain way, rap a certain way. Now that I look back on it, I don't really feel that way. I don't really believe it. I wouldn't do that now. I wanted to break away from that and not box myself in. Bobby Ray isn't a character — he's really me. At the same time, it's so different, it's like a snake shedding its skin. Shed the old and onto something new. When I feel that's had its run, I don't think I'll do another name-change, but you're constantly evolving and that's where the inspiration from that came from. ... Moving forward, I'll officially be Bobby Ray."
Bobby Ray/B.o.B recently met with [artist id="502642"]Eminem[/artist] and Slim Shady in the studio, where the artists collaborated on a couple of tracks.
"We were in the studio ... we actually made a couple of productions, orchestrations," he said. "I'm real excited to see how people feel about it. For me it's a dream come true."
Joints to Check For
» "One." "The song features Big Kuntry and MacBoney from Grand Hustle," Bob explained. "The song uses a Beatles sample. [Editor's note: Bob probably meant Three Dog Night's cover of Nilsson's "One."] They say, 'One is the loneliest number.' It doesn't necessarily mean being one by yourself or one at the top -- it's just that motivation and energy you get. Just understanding that in any situation, it's really just you, whether you're at the top or the bottom. I'm venting on it. We all got some things to say. I impressed myself with that verse."
» "My Sweet Baby." "I don't know exactly where the sample came from," Bob said. "I'm trying to show my lyrical finesse. There nothing too deep on it, but I'm putting some thoughts out there I want to express. This mixtape, for me, is release therapy."
» "No Man's Land." "I'm excited about this song," Bob boasted. "It's got a good mix between B.o.B and Bobby Ray with this song. I'm excited ... just about this musical energy behind it ... and what I was going through when I made the song. It came from that period of frustration I went through, when there were rumors about me quitting. You make the best music when you're going through the hardest situations."
For other artists featured in Mixtape Daily, check out Mixtape Daily Headlines.