I must admit to not actually loving Bobby's past two studio albums, and yet I've happily bought both of them as well as this one without even listening to a single track. Sound pretty dumb come to think of it--but it's my way of supporting/saying thank you for his numerous mixtapes which he releases for free and are just as high production quality as his studio albums with the added benefit of stronger music as well. And to be honest, I feel about the same about this album as the past two studio ventures--decent yet not that exciting and certainly not as powerful as some of his mixtapes.
I really do hate to be that person who goes on about the mixtapes and disses the studio albums, and yet I've always felt the more experimental and real side of Bobby is lacking on his studio efforts. That's not to say this album is bad though. Bobby writes catchy rap music that relies on his wide range of experience with rock and pop to create very current and unique music. He can rap, sing, write, play multiple instruments and is simply much more a musician and artist than almost all other mainstream rappers.
Bobby has always been able to pick collaborators that compliment him well, and this album is no exception. The always welcome Ester Dean appears on "Wide Open", but it's the addition of another favorite of mine, Priscilla Renea, on "John Doe" that is really standout. Priscilla is a great match up for Bobby as she also is another very talented musician who dabbles in hip hop and R&B from time to time, yet can sing over anything from rock to adult contemporary pop. "Cranberry Moonwalk" with Mike Fresh is also another great collaboration.
"One Day" has a short interview clip at the end regarding Bobby's childhood, and his positive attitude on his rough upbringing is really admirable. My favorite song though is probably still "We in This..." which he actually released on an old 2012 mixtape so it's not exactly new for me. That song though should indicate the general direction of many of the songs here though. This album is much more "gangsta rap" heavy than his previous ones.
Still, I'm glad I can support Bobby and several songs (mainly his collaborations) will definitely make it into my "work commute" playlist. I would check out the singles to see what appeals. For fans of Chiddy Bang, Tinie Tempah, Labrinth and Wale.