B.o.B once a household name has released his fourth album Ether.
I’m sure so many of you will remember this man from his 2010 release, The Adventures of Bobby Ray. It is an album which seemed to produced hit after hit and, although, a lot of the songs not being his best, the album was littered with catchy hooks. At its time of release, I was 12-years-old and, for me, it was all I needed to keep me content – ultra catchy, commercial rap – what more could I want?
Fast-forward 7 years and we have B.o.B’s fourth studio release – Ether. Interestingly, this record was released independently because of his contract expiration with Grand Hustle/Atlantic Records – prior to this, B.o.B’s last release was four years ago. By fans, the album had been highly anticipated, despite, a certain degree of anxious scepticism regarding the quality of the music being released now that the blanket of corporate backing can provide for an artist.
The album is a grower for sure. Upon the first listen, I was slightly concerned, none of the songs were relatable in any way. However, I was very much determined to give the album a proper chance – if not for my love of the cheesy B.o.B I fell in love with as a 12-year-old, for my love of music.
I decided to isolate myself so that it was just myself and the lyrics. Boy, was I glad I did. The album is comprised of 12 tracks, which I believe is a healthy length. The songs concern themselves with crucial talking points in society – from general politics to the hate that B.o.B has himself received, to mental health issues, being a black American and substance addiction. It really explores a wide range of topics.
After listening to the album from front to back, I was provoked to reminisce about the likes of Kanye West’s Graduation. This was certainly pleasant vibe of nostalgia – the fond memories of listening to alt. rap throughout my past.
Do I think the album will be huge? Probably not, but I like to view it as B.o.B’s progression and maturity as a rapper. I encourage most people to give this album a spin – I’m almost certain that the majority will be able to access a certain degree of enjoyment from the highlights of this album.