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CD Review: B.o.B's Underground Luxury 

Grand Hustle; Release date: Dec. 17, 2013

Off the heels of his 2012 release, Strange Clouds, B.o.B offers hip-hop yet another unique look into what some might consider down-South rap. Underground Luxury is a flex of style and courage touching crossover status while maintaining B.o.B.'s ability to remain in the street hip-hop vein. It's a balance of bad-ass lyrics, vocal prowess and creative sound.

The opening song, "All I Want," pays tribute to the honest desire to have money and material things — something we all can relate to on some level. He admits that it doesn't come at the cost of hard work, chasing dreams and being able to provide for family. The track is simple, catchy and driving while his vivid flow compliments it exceedingly.

On "One Day," Bobby Ray employs his fantastic storytelling ability — which is becoming a lost art in hip-hop — to justify his need to run down those material items and money. Both tracks appear to be strategically placed which is genius in itself — from first listen I thought, "Well, here we go again with another 'let's get money and bitches' song."

"Throwback" has turned into a guilty pleasure song. It's the kind of song that would warrant carrying an excessive amount of dollar bills into a gentleman's club. The track is a hypnotic head nodder with atmospheric background vocals, samples sped up and looped, plus the addition of and Chris Brown.

"John Doe," which features Priscilla (who has written for Chris Brown and Rhianna), is an honest look at life and the troubles with addiction, infidelity and self-destruction and how we all try to function as this mask of a character. The track is big in sound with hearty piano helping to carry the message with sincerity and conviction.

There were chances to capitalize on his singing and songwriting ability, but instead B.o.B. chose to hold tight to the core of strong verses, carefully crafted collaborations and hip-hop aggressive hooks while his engaging lyric delivery never fails to bring energy and wit.

The album shows growth and maturity in spots, but he doesn't leave his core fans behind or alienated as he continues to redefine his sound.

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