Interview: What about B.o.B

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This first time I saw B.o.B perform was in Atlanta for the Almost Famous showcase. Performing his cult classic “Cloud 9″ Bobby Rae was fresh off the ATL underground scene and full of all the hope and expectations that an artist with major label aspirations would have.

Clicking up with B-Rich and TJ Chapman, B.o.B was able to turn his underground success into a deal with Atlantic Records.After a slew of critically acclaimed mixtapes, cross-country tours and commercial placements B.o.B still has that spark in his eyes and energy in his voice that he did when I first saw him on stage.

After tasting commercial success with his single “In the Sky” he’s really riding the mainstream wave with his latest single “Nothing on You” with his debut disc “The Adventures of Bobby Rae” headed to stores this May, B.o.B is back in the spotlight.

B.o.B sat down with wordonthestreetsmag.com to talk about balancing underground success with mainstream aspirations, his new single and why “May 25th” is a day youdon’t want to forget.

Wordonthestreetsmag.com: What has you in Charlotte N.C. today?
B.o.B: This is the kick-off for the promo run. It appropriate now that I think of it because North Carolina is my birthplace. it’s a good place to start in. I’ve been out doing shows, but I haven’t promoted in 2 years so its interesting to see how people pick up on things

Wordonthestreetsmag.com: How did you get into hip-hop?
B.o.B: Hip-Hop to me was a lifestyle that I always saw. I was born in the late 80’s. Growing up and seeing Big and Pac and the off spring of that, your Luda’s and T.I.’s its almost like I was born into that. I always knew that’s what I wanted to do. In 7th grade I made the decision that this is what I’m going to do. It was almost like picking what college to go to or what job your going to pick. That’s what led me to this point. Its been really a dream. I couldn’t tell anybody how or what to do. You just have to believe its going to happen.

Wordonthestreetsmag.com: You’ve been able to build a huge fan base through the internet and your mixtapes. Has it been hard to balance the underground success that you’ve had with the demands that your label might put on you to be more mainstream?

Defntiely. Its difficult, its challenging. Difficult mean that’s it hard to do something, challenging means its hard to accomplish it. Its like pulling teeth when it comes to picking a single and picking a market. I try to keep it balanced so that all the fans that I’ve gained over the years, I don’t loose them.

Wordonthestreetsmag.com: Who is B.o.B the artist?
B.o.B: I place a real big importance on the artistry. Because I’m in the music business I’ve had to learn to balance both. You can easily get way too deep into the artistry. I feel like my music is unique. If you never heard of me and you listened to the music. After about a few songs you’ll pick up on the fact that its different. People tell me that its very unique. it’s a mixture between hip-hop, rock, bluegrass, reggae, everything, just a bunch of shit (laughs)

Wordonthestreetsmag.com: Are you ever nervous that your underground fan base will turn on you the more you move to radio success?

B.o.B: It’s going to be challenging. I care so much about my fans. Their the only reason I’ve stayed relevant throughout these years. A 2 year period over a two year period doesn’t sound long, but I’ve seen artists come and go over that time. Because of that its only the fans, God and the fans. That’s my commitment to the fans. To keep that organic-ness. Its easy to loose that and it become a job and you just do it for the check. But that’s not why I’m here

Wordonthestreetsmag.com: I know you have a a new mixtape called “May 25th” what does that mean?

B.o.B: With my mixtape “May 25th” I’m really promoting the album “The Adventures of Bobby Rae” which comes out “May 25th”.  The mixtape is out now. It’s not as many songs as “The Adventures of Bobby Rae” but it still has the music that people will love on it.

Wordonthestreetsmag.com: Talk about the new single “Nothing on You”

B.o.B: The single is doing big on the radio. The “Nothing on You” it has broke 1000 spins and that’s the most spins I’ve even done. Its crazy watching this because its like even though I’m always moving and I’m not in a city for a long time I can still see things changing. As it changes, I feel surprisingly comfortable. Its really something that I try to keep a comfort zone.

Wordonthestreetsmag.com: Was it a shock to you that the song has done so good as compared to your other singles?
B.o.B: It was different because “Haterz” and “I’ll be in the Sky” I made them when I was just in the basement recording and not really focused on getting on radio. “Nothing on You’ is like the commercial versus all the other shit. I feel comfortable with it because I don’t feel like I compromised my artistry for it. The person on the record, they’re still getting me. Both sides of it. Really, I’m excited about the stuff I do underground. Most artists are so impatient about blowing up.

Wordonthestreetsmag.com: What can you tell us about the “Adventures of Bobby Rae”

B.o.B: “The Adventures of Bobby Rae” is going to be like an audio movie. So much stuff changes, I have to update the album. Up to the release date I have to update my feelings. But its for the most part done. I might do a few changes to it, but besides that its done. I’m really ready to present this to the world. On the production side of things,  me T.I. and Lil C produced a record that’s on the album. Jim Jonsin is producing some records for me. I did a majority of it but it’s a good mixture of music.

Look for the mixtape “May 25th” at datpiff.com and the LP “Adventures of Bobby Rae” coming May 25th Follow B.o.B at twitter.com/bobatl

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