Exclusive conversation with B.o.B

Originally published February, 2010 on Examiner.com

“I’m just born to be different.  Like my genetic DNA is just different. The ‘D’ in my DNA stands for different,” the popular Hip Hop/R&B/Rap artist known as B.o.B aka Bobby Ray told me. And being different is exactly what this world and the music industry needs Bobby Ray to be.  He’s changing expectations of fans and the game itself.  He brings an energizing approach to his work and a genuine take on life which makes this up and coming artist not only different but rare and refreshing!

The artistry of Bobby Ray is comprised of a lot more than the typical rap and Hip Hop artist. He was signed literally right out of high school which he described as, “A huge leap.”  Over the past few years he has grown into the industry learning to play the piano, guitar and trumpet to fill out his sound and recently added musicians to back him up during live shows as well as to write and record with in the studio. He says, “It kind of looks like we’re trying to escape just rap but it’s really that we’re trying to encompass more, you know.  Because it takes a lot more out of you when you’re trying to be more dynamic and have more dynamic music.”  He continued, “I feel kind of blessed to have such a different perspective on life. You don’t really decide, ‘Alright this is what my perspective is going to be.’ You know, because you’re inside your perspective. It’s like, I definitely know that I have that for a reason and I try to create as much stuff as I can to just add that difference.”

His first album entitled, B.o.B Presents the Adventures of Bobby Ray is due out in the first part of 2010 from Atlantic Records. He hopes that it will mark his territory and presence in the industry.  “With my album I really want to make an accurate introduction. I really want what I stand for to be present for my first album. I want to make a heavy impact.”  When it comes to the making of the music for the album Bobby Ray has done almost all the work himself.  He writes, creates and produces all his tracks.  And he says it begins with inspiration which he likens to the sunlight and water that a plant needs to grow.

When talking about one of his favorite tracks on his album entitled, “Ghost in the Machine” B.o.B elaborated on where that inspiration comes from saying, “It’s a song that I made when I was going through a real frustrating time. And it’s always in your most frustrating moments that you make the best music because you get pushed to the limits and you just have to be honest and open and vulnerable. Songs like that you can’t control it. I can’t be like ‘I’m just going to go in the studio and just pull this out’. You can only move when you’re inspired to move and that’s all just made from inspiration and not just making it to do my nine to five.”

Currently his nine to five job consists of touring the country to promote his album.  Over the summer he toured with the likes of Asher Roth and Kid Cudi for The Great Hangover Tour.  He said of the tour, “It was a real bonding experience. It was like the start of something and it was pretty obvious to everybody on the tour that it was the start of something great.”  He added, “I really got close with Asher and Kudi. You know Asher’s a really good dude. He’s actually a real genuine guy. He’s not just a facade created. He’s actually exactly who he say he is.”

Among the other artists who have influenced Bobby Ray over the last several years he lists David Banner.  “I did a Hip Hop Live tour last year with David Banner and it really just changed my life. Seeing him perform really showed me how to open up on stage and really not be afraid to give it to the crowd. That’s really what inspired me to get the Hip Hop live band.”

This week he is gearing up to hit the road again for a couple months with Shwayze and admitted to me he is so excited to get out there again that he finds it hard to sleep.  With nearly four months of solid touring and travel he’s learned what he needs to survive telling me, “Oh man I got to have cashews, water and orange juice.  And I recently got addicted to PSP [Play Station Portable] while I’m on the road. I never play video games unless I’m no the road. So it’s a good way to kind of keep me not really thinking about it.”

The genius behind the artistry of Bobby Ray may be that he is simply as authentic as he is fun-loving.  He stated that he doesn’t like to get bored but rather enhances things to keep them fun.  The music industry has not only taken notice, but is now to recognizing his creativity as well.  Being nominated at BET Hip Hop Awards this week for the “Rookie of the Year” Bobby Ray could add another first to his list of accomplishments by taking home the title.

In the end it really comes back around to being different.  B.o.B is truly a diamond among his peers in the Hip Hop genre simply because he loves what he is doing and stays true finding enjoyment in writing and making music.  Summarizing he said, “It’s like that need, that challenge. It will never end. I’ll always want more and I’ll never be satisfied.”


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