B.o.B., aka Bobby Ray Simmons, goes through a bit of an identity crisis on his debut, "B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray" (Atlantic). The rapper's Atlanta hip-hop underground roots show in collaborations with T.I. ("Bet I"), but his poppier side connects better, with the breezy "Nothin' on You" hitting No. 1 and the rock-ish "Airplanes" with Eminem and Paramore's Hayley Williams possibly next. The experimental "The Kids" with Janelle Monae shines, but the bland "Magic" with Rivers Cuomo stumbles. Who's the real B.o.B.? Maybe finding out is part of the adventure.
B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray
BOTTOM LINE A kinder, gentler (and poppier) hip-hop