B.o.B: Hi, My Name Is...
B.o.B took cues from the likes of DMX, OutKast and Goodie Mob to spawn his own rap/production career. His grand introduction to the masses would be Cloud 9. The smoked out, cheeba-blowing anthems laid back vibe and slowed tempo set him apart from his peers providing an alternative to the medias perception of ATLs snap and trap formula. And with his track Haterz [click to view] and A3C appearances [click to read] getting more popular each day its only a matter of time before youre accepting B.o.B the way his narrow-minded classmates never could.
HipHopDX: I know youve been asked this a million times
B.o.B: [Laughs] I already know what youre going to say. What does B.o.B. mean?
DX: Yup. [Laughs]
B.o.B: [B.o.B stands means]: business over bullshit, business over bitches, bring one beer, bring one blunt, bring one broad. I like big ol booties, broads bustin out their britches. Theres never been one better or been one before, burning on bud, books over bullets andyeah. [Laughs]
DX: Ive heard you say your parents really wanted you to do the school thing. At what point did you figure out that school wasnt really the move for you and when did you start taking your rap career seriously?
B.o.B: [In] 6th grade actually. I had always been rapping my whole life. I just kept preparing and doing it more and more so when I got to eighth grade I was already like I want to do this as a career. By the time I got to 12th grade, I got tired. So thats when I left [school] and was just like fuck it.
DX: Speaking of your folks, is it true your fathers a pastor?
B.o.B: [Laughs] Yeah.
DX: Howd he respond when he found you were aspiring to be a full-time rapper?
B.o.B: When he first saw me walking around the house with rap books all the time, he kind of raised his eyebrow like what are you doing, why would you want to do that. But you know me: like father, like son. Im real headstrong so I was like Ill do what I want to do. When he saw how I was using music for therapy and expressing myself creatively through it and [how] everything happening like me getting the deal and all that they were with it. Theyve always supported me. They got my first keyboard to make beats on and they helped me out getting equipment here and there. But it was kind of hard for them to really understand what I was really trying to accomplish.
DX: One of the first tracks of yours that I heard was Cloud 9 and my initial thought of the track was that it was mad different. You could have easily came up with some fake shit about selling drugs or shooting people
B.o.B: [Laughs and repeats] selling drugs or shooting people
DX: Instead you made a track about getting high. Why and were you surprised at how people responded to the track?
B.o.B: Yeah, definitely. To be honest, I didnt even plan on finishing the song. But B-Rich and Playboy Tre were like, Dog this shit is jamming, you got to finish it. So I performed it and people really fucked with it. When I performed it (Cloud 9), it was at an open mic. And you know how those scenes arereal club-oriented. So me coming in with a slow, laid back smoking anthem was real different and I knew it would set me apart from day one.
DX: How do you feel about rappers up-top who hate on the success of the south? Also, when youre in New York what kind of feedback are you getting up there?
B.o.B: You know its crazy, but people are really accepting of the south. They still keep it half and half. They still play a lot of New York rap but at this pointyou really cant knock it. The southwere doing our thing down here. We dont really pay attention to a lot of outside factors. Were just trying to get our hustle on down here. If people dont want to get with it, its all love. But I feel the south is in its prime right now. Its incredible.
DX: You have the huge LRG billboard in Times Square, you landed the cover of Urb and things are really coming together for you. Hows life really changed for you on the day to day basis?
B.o.B: Its really become a lot more busy. Im always doing something or on the way to doing something. I rarely ever get time to just sit down and do nothing. Im always thinking about I gotta do this or I gotta do that, which is fine. Thats just a part of the hustle but my life has really changed. And when Im in public people are really starting to recognize me. Its been a trip seeing the whole transition.
DX: Do you have any funny stories about how your fame has shocked you?
B.o.B: Theres stuff here and there like Ill be in Walmart and a family may stop me and take a picture. This one time when I was in the Waffle House and I gave the waitress a CD and she held it up [like], Everybody, its B.o.B. We got 'Haterz Everywhere' in the building! (chuckles) so I had to go to my trunk and get CDs for everybody. Its just crazy sometimes seeing how people reactover me. Im like dang its crazy.
DX: A lot of your records tell stories about people that are at the rock bottom, people who are in hopeless situations. Is that because youve experienced similar things or
B.o.B: Oh yeah. Ive been through every stage of being at rock bottom. Everybody goes through that stage when you feel like shit and youre mad at the world. Black and Mild is definitely a song I made when I was going through one of those phases when you just want to smoke a Black then smoke a blunt. Sometimes you feel suicidal [During] those times you just dont feel like dealing with all the bullshit. But I was speaking for everybody that was going through something. I went through my own little spell when I was in high school trying to fit in. I couldnt really afford [designer] clothes. All the clothes I had, I had to work for. I worked at Subway and I used to sell candy and snacks and shitI was always a hustler because I had to be. It wasnt an option. I had to find a way to get some extra bread. So [when I started getting it]there was this feeling where you feel free to do whatever you want do in life. But those songs definitely speak to people being at rock bottom. Cloud 9 is one them of songs like let me just light up this blunt and take it easy and forget about everything. And I feel like even though that song talks about smoking and other shit its still a song for that release you know. At the time when I recorded them songs I was dealing with the same shit. So I feel like when people listen to those tracks they can deal with it and get over it and move on just as I did when I made it.
DX: You have a wide variety of tracks in regards to different subjects, different sounds. Have you ever been worried about how the fans would receive B.o.B., the person?
B.o.B: I really never stopped to think about it. I would say from the questions that people asked me in interviews or just the shit people say when Im out or on stage I definitely get [that] Im different a lot. Ive never really thought about it. Im just really doing me. Im not really trying to fit inside a perception. I feel [since Im doing me] its easier for people to fuck with me on a personal tip. People dont have to feel timid about coming up to me because I got like 80 niggas with machine guns around me or some shit. [Laughs] Im really just doing me and theres no Naw man, this is rap I aint really gon do that [type of] song. Im really just doing anything. I really enjoy making music.
DX: When I speak to different people about Atlanta Rap, they all have this perception its all about trapping or dancing. How do you feel about how Atlanta is being represented by its rappers?
B.o.B: Theres definitely a perception about Atlanta that a lot of artists make songs about dancing, rolling and poppin pills and smoking weed but at the same time, thats just what the media focuses on. Thats what labels push. A lot of artists in Atlanta dont go into the studio thinking let me make a song about this or this or make up a dance. Its really the la-Im not going to blame the labels because at the end of the day the artists are making the songs. As artists, we do have a choice on what type of songs were going to make. But at the same time, I feel its kind of slanted and Im kind of bringing the balance. Im not against it. Im glad the south came up with all the different types of music that surfaced from the south. And I feel it gives other artists an opportunity to speak their minds and show what theyre good at doing.
DX: How are you planning to represent Eastside Atlanta differently then others whove came before you?
B.o.B: I feel like Im just showing a new side [of Atlanta] and creating a new style. Im showing people that they have the opportunity to do other things besides setting out to be a rapper. Because I set out to be a rapper but Im becoming more then just a rapper. You know my cousin told me, Youve become a model on billboards and shit. I can do a lot of shit outside rap. I play the guitar. I sing, produce and engineer. But theres a lot more to it then just rapping.
DX: Tell me about your upcoming album.
B.o.B: The album is titled The Adventures of B.o.B. Its set to come out this year. Everythings feeling right about 2008. Right now Im getting everything right and Im planning on going diamond.
DX: Are there any features on the album?
B.o.B: Right now I got the Amy Winehouse track called Grip Your Body. Then I got a song with Boosie and DG Yola called Fuck You. Im real excited about this year.
DX: Last, Ive heard about your crews side hustle in the streets. Tell me about the Ham Squad and its members.
B.o.B: Ham Squad is me, Playboy Tre, DJ Swatts, DJ Smooth, Moss B, B-Rich and TJs DJs. The Ham Squad is always in the smoking section. Wherever theres a restaurant that says no smoking, were not there because were always smoking. And what we smoke is hams. And what are hams? Theyre hamstrings and if you see a lady with two big ol hams on her back youll know shes been smoked by the Ham Squad
B.o.B: [Then shes] gotten her hamstrings smoked and stretched.