This isn’t new, but If you’re a regular reader, you know I don’t break news—I share it. When I get to it. (Oh, and if you’re a new reader, welcome! And wtf are you doing reading a blog—nobody reads this shit anymore!)
B.o.B.’s first album and first mixtapes are pop-rap gems, and since then I’ve been waiting for him to achieve that level of greatness again. On Earth Day, he released a new mixtape with production by No Genre, titled E.A.R.T.H. (Educational Avatar Reality Training Habitat). Some may remember that B.o.B., a high school dropout, has claimed that the Earth is flat. This mixtape seems to celebrate his own ignorance, and at times it’s hard to tell if he’s making fun of himself or preaching. Like when he marvels at how many Stegosauruses there must have been because we’re still burning fossil fuels, argues with Neil Degrasse Tyson, asks what the Hell is Kosher food, or when he argues with his teacher on “Fkn’ Science” (my favorite track on the album), which can make this a very, very odd listen. But then he says stuff that’s clearly witty, like when he’s complaining about bad record deals and how rappers don’t get the big advances other artists do and complains, “Niggas live on colored people time, what the hell is ‘in advance?’”
So, is this as good as his early work? It’s close. There’s some very solid pop-rap tracks, which get confusing when you listen to the content, and then at the end we get a much more mature B.o.B. Earthquake, essentially an acappella track (with opera behind it), explodes with anger and frustration—enough to convince me that, hey, B.o.B. is in fact serious throughout this mixtape. He really does think the Holocaust never happened. That’s a tough pill to swallow, which is ultimately why I can’t say this hearkens back to his best work. But it’s still very good, and it’s certainly interesting to see the gradual maturity of a rapper who essentially grew up before our ears.