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B.o.B: No Genre

Self-released

"Beast Mode," the opening track to B.o.B's new mixtape, is enormous. On my first listen, when Infinity's hard-as-nails beat dropped a few seconds in, I started nodding my head violently, involuntarily. It was probably weird for any fellow supermarket-goers who might have been watching. Sorry, y'all! No Genre is one of the hottest mixtapes to emerge from the A this year. Bobby Ray's music is often a mixed bag - his debut full-length sold well, but garnered some critical ambivalence for its wild inconsistency. No Genre is markedly more successful in its eclecticism, paradoxically because B.o.B, seems increasingly comfortable in his hip-hop skin. Lyrically, he's downright gymnastic, treating nuthouse beats from the likes of Polow da Don and Dr. Luke like some verbal decathlon. In Atlanta, it takes something to stand out from the rap pack. B.o.B certainly hasn't had trouble doing so (five Grammy nods!), but for the first time I can confidently say it: Believe the hype. (4 out of 5 stars)