A Totally Biased Mixtape Review: Bobby Ray Proves That Every Play Is Crucial

Travis takes an in-depth look at one of the years best mixtapes, chock full off fire verses, amazing features, and B.o.B at his best!

The B.o.B. that most people know is the one from radio play, usually teaming up with Bruno Mars to make the ladies swoon, and immediately go to iTunes to spend 99 cents on some pop piece of crap.

The B.o.B. that I, and many other rap fans know and love, is the one that drops incredible mixtapes like “No Genre”, and now, “EPIC”. One of the more lyrical, and interesting rappers around today, it’s a shame that more people don’t listen to Bobby Ray at his absolute best. From “Cold As Ice”, to “Beast Mode”, both tracks on “No Genre”, Bob always delivers for his fans, and does it free of charge of course, on popular mixtape sites like Datpiff.com.

EPIC, standing for Every Play Is Crucial, is one of the best mixtapes of 2011, no questions asked. Bobby Ray was able to snag a laundry list of talented rappers to feature, and the production behind every track is a little different from the last, but still stays true to the B.o.B. feel that we have grown so accustomed to. Time to put on your Dre Beats, unless of course they were stolen out of your car in the dead of night, cop the tape from your local mixtape site, and hit play. I can promise you won’t regret it.

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Bobby Ray delivers some great visuals to the opening track

1. Epic [Feat. Playboy Tre & Meek Mill]

Lil C goes buck with this beat. Perfect track to open the tape, it has a sci-fi feel to it, and as Kris would say “the beat was disgusting”. I happen to agree. Bobby Ray destroys his first verse, and makes you feel like your in for something special. Playboy Tre came in for the second set of bars, and it was better than I expected. Meek Mill is in the running for rookie of the year, and promptly body bagged his verse.

2. Wrong [Feat. Spodee]

Bobby Ray answers the haters on a track that sounds like it belonged on “No Genre”, which is in fact a compliment, as it remains one of the only mixtapes I constantly play. Spodee delivered on his verse with a rapid fire 12 bars. Song had an album type feel to it. And we get it for free… Bobby Ray for President?

“That’s why up on this beat it’s no doubt
You already know I’m about my flow
Mother fucker say I sold out?
Must be talking about my shows”

3. Guest List [Feat. Roscoe Dash]

The guest keep coming, as Roscoe hope on the B.o.B. produced track “Guest List”. Those who don’t know RD will recognize him as that “other guy” in “No Hands”, last years club banger by Waka Flocka Flame. Decent track, with a catchy chorus, it really shows the talent of Bobby Ray as a producer. His second verse is also one of the best he has EVER had. Definitely worth a rewind.

Since day one you heard me
From the underground to the surface
I rose out of the fire, I emerged out of the furnace 
But I knew that my time would come
And I couldn’t be more deserving
I’m good for life, but I’m far from perfect 

4. What Are We Doing?

Bobby Ray finally rolls onto track going solo and proves he doesn’t need anyone to make gold. With a singing voice second to only Drake, Bob absolutely kills it. One of the slower songs, but also one of the strongest, and most passionate. The flow is great, especially since the beat is a slower one. Jim Jonsin and B.o.B did great with the production. Bobby Ray is edging ever closer to the top of the Story Teller list. You know the list. The rappers who can weave in and out of a story instead of rapping about this and that. Em is still the King, but Bobby Ray is gunning for the throne.

I swear my Dad has a pair of those glasses. 2 Chainz Rapping > 2 Chainz Swag...

5. Perfect Symmetry [Feat. 2 Chainz]

This was actually the first track I listened to on the tape, as a friend texted me saying it was worth a look. Bobby Ray samples the Manchester Orchestra, and does it well. 7 King produces a great track with a rock feel as the electric guitar carries through the verse. The high pitched synth during the simple chorus is a great touch too. 2 Chainz is really growing on me as well, with another good verse. Look for him in the future.

“I’m high fiving, my dime riding, My time shining,
From at the club and I’m outta town but I’m lying around it
Deuce chains I’m fung shui, everyday is my birthday
2 gats at the park, you don’t wanna see these guns play”

6. New York, New York

An incredible track that has Bobby Ray getting political on us, which is completely fine with me, because some of his best tracks follow this same principle, as “Doctor Eden” did for “No Genre”. The piano opening is similar to the Frank Sinatra track of the same name, with the chorus being the same. A short, but incredibly powerful track about the deteriation of our sacred country.

“This is the finish my friend, this is the end
It’s a revolution, it’s a civilian revenge
There’s no need to move or adjust your television
Whenever an era dies, another era begins”

7. Boom Bap [Feat. T.I. and Mos Def]

T.I. AND Mos Def? Bobby Ray gets his ATL partner in crime TIP to go nuts on “Boom Bap”, and Mos Def promptly follows suit. TI has come out of jail with guns-a-blazing [pun completely intended], and is quickly proving critics wrong who thought he might fade away. He owns the first minute and a half of the song before Mos comes in to kill it with an effortless flow.

In other news, Bobby Ray and TI are rumored to being at work on a joint album. I call this the KanJay effect.

8. Welcome to The Jungle

One of the tracks I was more excited to listen to, this was actually released a while ago. The remix to the track by KanJay, B.o.B does it justice for sure. While it does a serviceable job, this is actually one of the weaker tracks, which trust me, is saying a LOT. A whole lot. If anything, you know the beat is insane, and worth a rewind, Bobby Ray style.

9. 5 On The Kush [Feat. Big KRIT & Bun B]

An INSANE beat is the driving force behind this track. Bun B handles the chorus, “5 on the Kush, 20 on the Drinks, So loaded in the club that a n*gga can’t think”. Much catchier when it’s pumping through the headphones, trust me. You’ll find yourself saying it out loud later, without question. Bobby Ray destroys his verse and you almost can see him busting out in the studio, without a care in the world. KRIT delivers [not surprised], and is an album or two away from getting the credit he deserves. In other news, does Bun B have one of the best rap voice or WHAT?!

“I said I’m thrown to the side, like a lateral
I swear tonight I’m doing major damage, it’s collateral
50 on the potion, 100 on the smoking
Panoramic roof, but we ride in slow motion”

10. How Bout Dat [Feat. Future & Trae The Truth]

Although the verse from Bobby Ray isn’t one of the best, Future and Trae The Truth actually carry the song. Well, that and the catchy chorus. The beat, like every other song thus far, was excellent. The production for this mixtape is better than most albums that have been released. Another side note, do you think Trae The Truth REALLY talks like that? I mean, his decibel level is 5… max.

“How bout we get some bars, popping that rose
How bout we sneak the lean inside the club, it’s time to play”

11. Things Get Worse [Feat. Eminem]

Before everyone gets excited that B.o.B. locked down Eminem for a track, the verse that Em provided was actually recorded during the “RElapse” time. Rap means will know that this means that Eminem was most likely stoned out of his mind on pain killers, and uses some whack ass accent to stumble his way through completely random lines that somehow constitute a verse. The beat is incredibly simple, and I’m confident I could make something better with the latest Garage Band and an hour in a quiet room. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but just skip it. Just do it.

12. Fucked Up [Feat. Playboy Tre]

Bobby Ray does it big in the "Fucked Up" music video

Another awesome chorus. Another fantastic verse by B.o.B., and Playboy Tre goes two for two. Move along people, nothing to see here. All jokes aside, I had never heard of Devaughn before this track, but he produced a great track with “Fucked Up”. Definitely a breath of fresh air after the suffocation that was “Things Get Worse”.

“I’m half way across the world, it just occurred to me
I look down, wallet full of foreign currency”

13. Strange Clouds [Feat. Lil Wayne]

There’s a very good chance you have already heard “Strange Clouds” before this tape dropped, but if you haven’t, I envy you, because your in for a real treat here. Dr. Luke does a great job keeping the sci-fi feel with an excellent, and spacy beat. The beat, song title, chorus, and of course, feature, all go hand in hand. Wayne delivers a typical verse for his feature, which, is up to you if thats a good thing or not. Bobby Ray has some excellent verses, which is something I’m getting very used to. Stoner track? Yessir.

“Well, if you guessin’ it’s me, you guessed correctly
I just stay with a stallion, you would swear I was an equestrian
I hit her with that pipe, call that Nancy Kerrigan
Stay on the greenest greens, call us vegetarians”

14. Friday Night Star

Bobby Ray Simmons closes the mixtape with two tracks that he takes on by himself. FNS is a refreshing song, with an 80’s synth style chorus that really ties the song together well. Jim Jonsin kills it with his second track of the tape, and Bobby Ray croons about the fast life with women, presumably taking place on a Friday night. Just a hunch though ;)

15. High

The Aristocrats supply the final beat for “EPIC”, and it isn’t a let down in the slightest. Bobby Ray plays on the “High” meaning, from talking about how superior his weed game is, but also relays it to how much better he is that the garbage on the radio right now, which is of course, completely true. The song is two minutes of straight bars, as B.o.B. does it all without a chorus. A fantastic track to close it out.

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The only tape, or album I have heard this year with better production than EPIC is “Blue Slide Park”, and “Sideline Story”. It blows every other mixtape out of the water, and should make fans extremely excited for Bobby Ray’s new album. I gave it an eight out of ten for a few reasons. I feel like B.o.B. could’ve done without some of the features, and gone solo a bit more. I also have a dislike for tracks that really drag on, and most of the songs have an extra :15-:30 tacked onto the end. This isn’t necessarily bad, as “Perfect Symmetry” had an awesome guitar and synth ending, lasting about a minute and thirty seconds, but hearing B.o.B. shout “Grand Hustle Kings!” for 25 seconds every single track got a little old. Don’t let that take you away from the experience though, as all these tracks are worth at least one listen, and many of them worth even more.

Favorite Tracks: Perfect Symmetry, Epic, 5 On The Kush, Fucked Up

8/10 Stars for Bobby Ray's "EPIC"

Comments
2 Responses to “A Totally Biased Mixtape Review: Bobby Ray Proves That Every Play Is Crucial”
  1. ludablack5 says:

    I hated his CD, but your review make me want to give him another chance with the mix tape. Now I have to find it…

    • Travis Rand says:

      Thanks for the comment Luda,

      Yeah, B.o.B. is an odd guy. His mixtapes have been REALLY good, but his CD left a lot to be desired. I think he is trying to please two different audiences.

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