It’s an odd thing when a song like this is released; it’s usually rappers that do it, and the ‘norm’ dictates that they release it after some newfound successes. In a nutshell, it’s a song that celebrates the achievement of the artist and, against all odds, how they rose above the rest simply by being more determined and more focused than others trying to catch their break. Many artists have them – Eminem, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj too. Even our home-grown British talents have their’s – Tinchy Stryder with ‘Never Leave You’, Chipmunk with ‘Look For Me’ and ‘Champion’ and Tinie Tempah with ‘Written In The Stars’ and ‘Invincible’, to name a few.
‘I’ll Be In The Sky’ ,which oddly only features on the UK edition of his album, is a similar concept, but with a jazz/blues-influenced piano backing, pasted over with a standard R&B beat. The end product is, as with most songs, something that has it’s pluses and it’s negatives, and whilst it’s infectiously catchy, it’s quite happy to sit somewhere in the middle of the field; nothing ground-breaking, and nothing too shoddy at all.
The chorus isn’t up to all that much, a couple of auto-tuned “Yeah”s tail-end it as it leads nicely on into the first verse where B.o.B. takes the time to reminisce about how he came to be a household name from his early beginnings – “I was a man with no name/Now I’ma trippin’ in more fame”. It’s celebratory message convinces without coming across as an ego-charged á la Chipmunk’s ‘Look For Me’; B.o.B. appears to be grateful for how his life has ended up, and the cheery melody more than shows this, add a few “Woo”s, some quickfire rapping and a riff that sounds like a it was ripped from a 90’s arcade game, and you’ve got ‘I’ll Be In The Sky’. B.o.B.’s rapping is as tongue ‘n’ cheek as ever though – “Remember when I leave/That the one in the mirror ain’t me/It’s just someone that I call B.o.B./It’s kinda me, but it’s not”.
It’s by no means perfect, and it’s not as good as ‘Airplanes’, but it is better than ‘Magic’ and as ‘Nothin’ On You’ is still to do much other than annoy, we’ll pin this higher up the B.o.B. Chart Of Amazingness that both of those.
Here’s the video: Is it a bird!? A plane!? No, it’s an ivory-twinkling rapper!
4:07… What would his mother say if she saw his piano in that condition!? Or maybe it’s just vinyl décor…
‘I’ll Be In The Sky’ is a very happy song. It celebrates B.o.B. success but all realises that it’ll only last as long as he’s alive – “But all of this ain’t gonna matter when I die/Say goodbye, so long, sayōnara, I’ll have to catch you tomorrow”. The bluesy influence adds another level to what could’ve been a pretty standard reincarnation of some of 2010’s most tediously egotistical moments in music, so after all that, shall we say…
Rating: 3.5 STARS
Download: January 31, 2011 (OUT NOW)
Featured Album: ‘The Adventures Of Bobby Ray’