Early this week, B.o.B dropped his mixtape E.P.I.C (Every Play Is Crucial), seemingly out of nowhere. It featured verses from giants including Eminem, Yasiin Bey (a.k.a. Mos Def) and T.I. and underground all-stars like Future, 2 Chainz (a.k.a. Tity Boi) and Trae tha Truth.
But one thing it certainly features is B.o.B showing he can spit with anybody and everybody.
Bob was criticized for his 2010 breakthrough debut, B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray, because many felt it was a departure from the underground mixtapes that got him noticed in the first place. B.o.B has always shrugged off any criticism, but when MTV News caught up with him on Tuesday evening, he said that his latest mixtape and his follow-up album, Strange Clouds, show a "refined" B.o.B.
"Strange Clouds as well as the mixtape, I feel really like everything is refined — like the lyrics, the beats, the production, the hook, the vocal performance. I really put a lot of creative energy and time into developing the songs and the music. You know, after experiencing what it's like to put out an album, and tour it — I learned a lot from that and that helped a lot in this process of making this Strange Clouds album."
One thing he hoped to do on Strange Clouds was to inject the hip-hop elements of his mixtapes into the album. One track on E.P.I.C. that is a reflection of B.o.B's boom, bap, boom, boom, bap roots is aptly named "Boom Bap," featuring T.I. and Yasiin Bey.
B.o.B said he talked to T.I. about doing a straight lyrical showcase, no hook, like a cipher.
B.o.B didn't want to go too far left, either. He said he was well aware of his different fanbases and he hoped to marry them.
"There are people who are fans of the mixtape stuff, people who are fans of just, you know, me playing the guitar, rocking out, fans of me singing, rapping, and fans of 'Nothin' on You' and 'Airplanes' who just know The Adventures of Bobby Ray material," Bobby Ray said. "But this next album is like a culmination of everything combined and I feel like that's really why I'm so excited about it and eager to put it out because I'm just ready to get back on the court with it."