Southmatic – B.o.B (Review)

“Southmatic” is the seventh studio album from North Carolina’s B.o.B that brings a fresh and new dynamic to his discography. B.o.B has been seen in the past couple of years by the media as a weird character in Hip-Hop mainly due to his belief in the Earth being flat. That view has also dictated his previous releases like “Elements” and “Ether” where B.o.B breaks down many of his conspiracy theories about NASA, gorvement secrets and the education system. B.o.B has been putting out consitantly good music for the past years but he hasn’t put out a really good album to me in a minute, while I enjoyed “NAGA”, “The Upside Down”, “Ether” and “Elements” are good they weren’t great, I felt each had a issue in identity since they sounded similar or had to many tracks I didn’t really like but “Southmatic” has a refreshing sound to it with no skippable tracks at all. The album would be entirely produced by B.o.B and features only two guest appearances from Grandmaster Caz and Brother Panic.

“The Elephant” starts off this 16 track LP, with a Queens nod in looks and sound, B.o.B stretches his rapping muscles out on this track, showing he can still drop solid bars and uses a excellent sample of LL Cool J’s “You’ll Rock” for the chorus. “Soul Glo” was the first single released for “Southmatic” and is also a favorite of mine from the LP. The whole song is a love letter to the 1988 comedy classic Coming to America, the beat is hot and B.o.B bullies this track, this was the song that made me highly anticipate his new LP. “I’m Bad” is another great song, sampling LL Cool J’s 1987 hit of the same name, Bobby Ray copies the flow and delivery of LL while also spitting nods to the single with the line “Call it jaws, pussy wetter then the sharks fin” which pays homage to Cool J’s line in the song. “Magic Number” is a adult version of the classic Schoolhouse Rock tune “3 Is A Magic Number” with Bobby spitting bars over a very mellow beat. This was the second single for the LP and has a very colorful music video to accompany it. “6 In The Morning” samples Schoolly D’s classic “Gucci Time” and Eazy-E’s “Boyz-n-the Hood”. Lyrically Bobby takes a more gangster rap style in the song, blending that 80’s West Coast gangster rap with modern day flare, a really dope song that I loved the sample break that happens in the middle of the track. “Ray Charles” is track number 6, a very swing and East Coast rap inspired song, this song was definitely a dope change in sound, from B.o.B’s bars to the sound of Slick Rick in the background the song has a standout sound and uses a good sample of Ray Charles song “Give The Poor Man A Break” from his album “Love and Peace”.

“UFO” sees the first of only two guest features on this whole LP, B.o.B and Grandmaster Caz use their time on this track to let you know what kinda niggas they are. The song samples the 1970 spoken word song “Niggers Are Scared of Revolution” by The Last Poets, the line is “You can take niggers out of the country, but; You can’t take the country out of niggers.” Fun fact about The Last Poets, they are credited as having a role in the development of the modern emcee. “Throne Air” is a dope single that sees B.o.B sample GZA’s song “Liquid Sword” from beat to flow and Run-DMC’s “Down With The King”. “Drinks On Me” is a nice party joint with fun lyrics to dance to, I also believe it hides a nod to Louisiana based rapper Boosie Badazz’s song “Wipe It Down.” “Frankie Limon” is a dope song with conscious lyrics and a 90’s sounding beat behind it, the beat samples 50 Cent’s “I Get Money” and sees B.o.B taking a step back from theories and focus on his conscious bars, overall a really dope track.

“Ol’ Dirty Bastard” is also a conscious song over ODB’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” beat. This was the third single for the LP and had a lot of love put into it, the bars are dope and one of my favorite was “Ya’ll so gangsta in the street but be so nice on Ellen”. The music video also shows love to the Wu-Tang Clan by using familiar spots from famous music videos from the Clan. “Southmatic” only continues that fire B.o.B has for consciousness on this album, more dope bars over a dope, 90’s East Coast sounding beat, I actually believe their may be a sample of Onyx’s “Slam” used for the song but don’t quote me. “Organized Crime” is a real banger on the track. The song has a Geto Boys vibe to it, this is B.o.B showing love to the OG lifestyle and having fun with the bars, a blend of dark humor with references to Scarface and more. “Grand Herbalizer” sees the final guest feature on the album by Brother Panic. This song had a X Clan vibe to it, a African-American empowered song with real bars and real subject mattered covered, for those turned away by B.o.B’s flat earth conspiracies this song will show you Bobby Ray has real subject matter in his lyrics. “I Still Love You” samples the famously funny A&E Intervention episode that has become a famous meme and turns it into a gun cocked and bass loaded trap single. This song has bars, just straight bars, B.o.B makes this song fun to listen to and lyrically strong. The final track is a extended cut of “Soul Glo” with a longer chorus that shows love to more fallen brothers and sisters of the culture.

Overall this album is hands down one of the best releases to come out this year, this is a refreshing album from B.o.B who has been putting out okay to good albums and mixtapes for the last few years. My favorite songs from this album have to be “Soul Glo”, “Throne Air” and “Organize Crime”. “Soul Glo” hands down had the best music video from the album, the love and attention spent on capturing the feel of “Coming to America” is so on point. “Throne Air” was a dope callback to GZA’s “Liquid Swords” which is one of my favorite albums of all time, from flow to delivery the bars on this bad boy alone stand strong as a highlight. “Organized Crime” like “Throne Air” shows love to more a sound than song, the Rap-A-Lot legends, The Geto Boys are a favorite of mine and the song sounds like their sorta production. The lyrics are solid, a favorite is the nod to Al Pacino’s Scarface. This album is worth the listen, all the songs are vibrant and original by design, B.o.B really finds a way to standout through his production and this album shows he never lost a step, No Genre has a big hit with this record.

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