Review: Bobby James x The Ugly Duckling

Bobby James released his latest project The Ugly Duckling on October 29, 2013 and has had the local Twitter-sphere booming ever since. From the first bar of Bobby Boucher to the last bar of The Ugly Duckling, Raleigh artist Bobby James spit like he has something to prove. The project includes features from King Mez, Hasina Jai, Montana Stax and Shanice Monee’.


I’m not going to lie, before listening to The Ugly Duckling, I slept on Bobby. It is not that I thought he wasn’t nice, I just didn’t give him a chance. I’d hear his name pop up in several conversations about Raleigh Hip-Hop but I never took the time to hear any of his work. Of course, not until I was contacted beforehand by Casino Crisis, Main Event Army label-mate and sole producer of Bobby’s latest project, who suggested that I listen to Bobby James’ upcoming material.


I assured that I would check out The Ugly Duckling and that I would give my honest feedback. Below is my review of Bobby James new project:


Available for DOWNLOAD on Datpiff here–>


On the first track, Bobby Boucher (Adam Sandler’s character in The Waterboy), James sets the tone for the entire project, “I go off the top, or I write it, I rip it, You listen, you spit it, you like it, you cop it, you triflin’, you mock me, I get it, I get it, making you love me, I did it, I did it” and that he did.




As stated before, the entire project was produced by label-mate Casino Crisis of The Marines.


As far as sound, all of the beats made sense. In particular, there wasn’t a beat that stood out to me but all beats used were good and successfully transitioned into the next. I could hear many influences in the instrumentals like Casino’s Carpe Diem that remind me of B.I.G.’s It Was All A Dream, Devil Wears Prada resembles Dr. Dre’ and Eminem’s Forgot About Dre, homage is paid to Wyclef and Mary J. Blige with Casino’s 911 track and Above the Rim resembles J. Cole’s See World. Those influences along with many other less obvious ones can be found in the beats. Collectively, we get hype beats and we also get a few chill ones which always help with balancing the vibe of a project.




Bobby James sound well-seasoned and confident throughout the entire project. I believe every line he spits because he make himself believable. I don’t hear any uncertainty in his voice. For example, My Brother’s Keeper is heartfelt not only because of his lyrics but the way and style he present in his tone of voice. There’s a strong level of sincerity Bobby James oozes that help deliver his content. On the flip side, his voice and flow is not the most distinctive. His flow could very much be his own, but I personally hear Cole (Devil Wears Prada) and Wale (Judgement Day) influences.




On to the meat of the project…Bobby James is really spitting! Lyrically, The Ugly Duckling is one of the best bodies of work I have heard coming out of Raleigh. That is not an exaggeration. Bobby touches on topics like his life and lifestyle, women, and his up&coming role in the rap game but his bars are not the typical popcorn rap that often emerge in the south. James incorporates witty word-play and most importantly tell stories through the verses. I didn’t find myself questioning any of the lines he spit which I often find myself doing while listening to other artists’ projects. All of his lyrics were believable and reflected him as an artist which allowed me, the listener, to finish the tape with a greater understanding of Bobby James as a person and appreciation of Bobby James as an artist.


My Jams


“Bobby Bouche”


*”My Brother’s Keeper” ft. Montana Stax


“Scrubs” ft. Casino Crisis- Another homage track but this time to TLC’s classic hit No Scrubs and includes a TLC sample. Incredible track.




4/5- The Ugly Duckling is a great body of work that reflect the true talent and lyricism coming out of Raleigh. I definitely recommend this mix-tape to anyone who is interested in good music. Like always, I anticipate visuals for this project and challenge Bobby James to an even better follow-up.


An interview is in the works so be on the look-out for that. I want to get an exclusive behind his personal meaning for the title The Ugly Duckling (a popular literary fairy-tale about an abused duck who matures into a swan) and more background information on the process of creating his latest project.


Once again, DOWNLOAD The Ugly Duckling Here and check it out for yourself> Available for DOWNLOAD on Datpiff here–>




Follow Bobby James on Twitter: @Blk_N_UglyAsEva

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