ATL rapper B.o.B. has criss-crossing the country promoting his newly-released third studio album Underground Luxury. Earlier this week, he welcomed his fans in DC to an exclusive album listening event at Studio 202 in Northeast DC. The audience heard singles such as the Future-featured “Ready”, the popular “Still in this B****”, which features T.I. and Juicy J, and “Throwback”, which gets an assist from Chris Brown.
Before the revealing his album, host Raheem DeVaughn chatted with B.o.B. as he shared how this album was different from his second because he “felt like a new artist again”, like he “had a blank canvas.”
“As far as my music and writing, I’ve learned to step out on a limb, say whatever I want to say and be who I am even with the things that are too bold and personal,” B.o.B. said.
In “Underground Luxury”, the rapper explained that “because this album is about the lifestyle of anybody who grew up with nothing and took what they had to make it luxurious, I had to really take time writing certain songs.” Songs like “Throwback” came to him fast, but, “John Doe” took B.o.B. five different times to write.
“I spent the most time with ‘John Doe’. I rewrote the verses like 4 or 5 different times,” says B.o.B. “I didn’t stop until I got the best one.”
When asked how he selects songs for the album, he simply said “I think like a DJ.” B.o.B. explained how he’s the type to “make 12 songs and would only select the songs that attracts good feedback.”
Since B.o.B. is considered a diverse rapper, his love for Hip-Hop and Rock music was heard although out his growing up. “I was a hip-hop head – From DMX, Nas, Eminem to Biggie, 2Pac, Dr. Dre. But, my brother was a rock head and I used to say ‘why is he listening to all of this punk music.’ As I got older, I developed a taste for it.”
There lies his inspiration of making music that people wouldn’t normally call original hip-hop. “Being exposed to many different walks of life, it opened my mind up. Since I’m a hip-hop fan who likes rock music, I figured I can take what I like from rock and put it towards hip-hop and come up with something different.”
As the listening session began, B.o.B. introduces his fans to songs “All I Want” that was produced by Rock City, known as Planet IV, his most deliberate record where he was able to speak candidly, “Paper Route,” two of his favorite songs “Throwback” and “FlyMuthaF***a” “Ready,” “HeadBand,” and “Back Me Up.”
His song “One Day” was one of B.o.B’s most personal songs on the album. “I had to really go back to the moment and remember that we did have to microwave water and carry it up a ladder because we didn’t have steps – But, if I never went through that, there wouldn’t be a B.o.B. or this song wouldn’t exist.”
Fun facts B.o.B revealed about himself.
- B.o.B. started playing the guitar at the age of 19. He also plays the bass, piano and keys.
- His hottest albums of the year are Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, J. Cole’s Born Sinner, Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2 and Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail. Kanye West’s Yeezus was his favorite because “it was a sound of fresh air. All that he was talking about was stuff that needed to be addressed.”
- What should fans expect from B.o.B. in the future? “Next year, I will be on an episode of BET’s “The Game” and “Single Ladies” on VH1. I’m trying to test the water of the acting world. Also, I’m going to start a label. I’m watching different upcoming artists to see what catches my attention. And, I’m starting a hand-made jewelry line.”
- B.o.B.’s keys to success for the youth: “When you’re an aspiring artist, you always feel like you have to find something outside of yourself, but what you naturally do is who you are. So, don’t ever let anyone change what you naturally do – it only allows you to get better at what you actually do and shows how your style will stand out.”