B.o.B – “NAGA” review

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B.o.B is a 29 year old rapper, singer, songwriter & producer from Decatur, Georgia. He blew up at the beginning of the decade as a T.I. protégé signing to Grand Hustle Records & putting out a pretty solid debut with B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray in 2010. His sophomore album Strange Clouds in 2012 was just as fun as the debut, but then I started to fall out of favor with B.o.B not too long after & for a few reasons. His next album Underground Luxury was pretty uninspired on all fronts & then he followed it up with a couple mixtapes that were just as mediocre like New Black & Psycadelik Thoughtz. Then in late 2015/early 2016, we saw B.o.B completely reinventing himself. He ditched the pop rap sound he became known for & went “conscious”, putting out the first 2 installments of his Elements mixtape series W.A.T.E.R. (We Are the Enemy Really) & F.I.R.E. (False Idols Ruin Egos). He then stated his belief that the Earth is flat, going as far to put out a horrendous diss track towards Neil deGrasse Tyson called “Flatline”. But just a year after following up the Elements mixtapes with Ether, B.o.B is now claiming that he’s retiring from music & that his 5th full-length album over here is his parting gift.

The album starts off with “Kumbaya”, where he monotonously talks about his return over a murky beat. The track “Matador Bobby” is supposed to be a club banger, but it’s annoying. Especially the part halfway through the verse where he repeats Janet Jackson’s name a hundred times. Then we have “Good N****r Sticker”, which contains some bass & rattling hi-hats alongside some painfully corny lyrics. Especially the lines about “It’s sad when you find out the world is trash, wait till they discover it’s flat” & “singing prayers like Sky Daddy blessing black people with good behavior“. The song “Elbows” with Amara La Negra is a cliché ode to twerking with a lifeless hip house instrumental while the track “Gerald Levert” is a generic trap banger down to the flow & the “skrt” adlibs we’ve heard a dozen times already.

The track “Don’t Be Nobody’s Bitch” is one of the better tracks on here, which has a moody trap beat & I do like the concept of him jabbing those who try to bring B.o.B down. Despite a couple corny lines like “I don’t want no kids, that’s for sure. Pulling out my dick like it’s a sword” & “Who do I ride for? Definitely no clowns, you sideshows”. The song “T.M.I.” with Havi is a diss towards the police & it’s not that I don’t like the message (case in point: N.W.A‘s “Fuck tha Police”), but it just comes off vapid. Then we have “Cuello”, which is mindlessly raunchy with a prominent sample of Future’s God awful bridge on “King’s Dead” from earlier this year. The penultimate track ”How It Is” isn’t as obnoxious as the previous song I mentioned, but it is sappy. Especially with lines like “We can do this shit without training wheels”. Then we finally end off with “Bad Computer”, which has a bland beat & a hilariously bad concept about what B.o.B thinks life in 5625 will be like.

If he’s truly retiring from music (because so many artists have said it & a vast majority of them are still around), then this is a horrible way to go out. The production is subpar, the concepts are delusional & a lot of the bars are trite. Don’t get me wrong though: I truly loved B.o.B’s first 2 albums, but he lost his mind shortly after & it’s upsetting to see that confirmed in the end. Still though, I wish him the best of luck on his future endeavors.

Score: 1/5

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