Who is B.o.B?

December 19, 2009 at 6:28 am (Music) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )


Bobby Ray, 21, is rising to new heights with his refreshing sound

21-year-old Atlien Bobby Ray Simmons is B.o.B. The two are one in the same, yet separate souls as we heard on his recent mixtape B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray.

B.o.B. is the rapping persona who flashes genius productions with simple, easy to digest food for thought. Whereas Bobby Ray is the soulful undefined musician persona who oozes a sing songy vibe without all the fluff. Simply, think of Bobby Ray Simmons as an artist who carefully blends T.I. and Jason Mraz, forming what you hear throughout the his catalog.

And despite his youth, this rapper/singer/producer/keyboardist/guitarist/entrepreneur is no stranger to the industry, as he first garnered recognition in the industry at the age of 16. And since then, he has been on a rapid pace toward stardom, from signing with Atlantic Records (under T.I.’s Grand Hustle label) to partying SOBs just recently.

His music is featured on EA Sports’ NBA Live ‘10 and his recent gem “I’ll be in the Sky” will appear on this upcoming season of the critically acclaimed TV series “Friday Night Lights.”

But do not expect Bobby Ray to slow down or become complacent. Fans and curious ears alike can expect a mixtape some time early next year. He is also slated to have guest appearances from Eminem and Lupe Fiasco on his official debut album, The Adventures of Bobby Ray due out next year (in Spring ’10). Be sure to check out his latest single “Nothin’ on You,” featuring Bruno Mars.

Even with all this momentum, Bobby Ray took time out to speak with The Journalist of WERW 1570 AM in Syracuse, NY.

The Journalist: At 12 years old, how did you explain your decision to become a rapper to your parents, friends, etc.?

Bobby Ray: (laughs) It’s kinda like you really picked up a bad habit and everybody is like: “Ah… man! Come on—don’t do that.”

I remember one time I was in high school with some friends and I was like, “I’m just going to do this music—I’m not really going to college.”

Everybody was like: “Nah, man. Don’t do that, man.”

That’s really what actually allowed me to make it. People saying straight up, “You suck.”

The Journalist: That’s what I said about three years ago. I was one of those people.

(laughter)

Bobby Ray: So when you hear that, it’s just motivation. I’ve been booed at talent shows (chuckles). That was necessary though. You can’t be a great artist if you have yes-men and everybody’s just saying yes. It actually takes you to go through something for you to amount to something, because when you do make it, it’s going to be a lot more hating than when you were trying to make it. So when that happens, then you can deal with it. You know how to adjust. You know how to live with it.

The Journalist: Do you have the stamina for fame at such a young age?

Bobby Ray: When it comes to fame, you can’t make yourself seem bigger than life. You just have to look at society as an extended family—and you just happen to be a very popular relative. And that way you treat everybody similar. You treat everybody with respect.

People have limits and you have to know your boundaries. And when you know that, then you can deal with it, because you’re not creating a stage for yourself. But to a certain extent it’s always going to be a stage, because my job is to be on the stage. That’s the image that people are left with the most, so you have to keep a side of yourself private.

The Journalist: But how do you handle that as a kid, because you were 16 when you got on the scene?

Bobby Ray: You have to have a strong team. A lot of people will be really famous and successful but their team really don’t care about them. And they’ll start to use drugs and they’ll start to slip. They’ll start to feel “famous” like: “I’m FAMOUS.” So it goes to their head, and they (their team) don’t check them. And they end up falling off. And you hear about them all the time, like someone will be super famous, then next thing you know you don’t hear from them and they’re strung out from drugs.

It’s something that has to come from home, because you’re not going to find it in the public. People could care less. So you gotta understand what it takes to do it—I can’t do it alone. From me, my team, my parents and everybody it’s like a sense of home. You feel like: “(Pssh) I can handle this. This ain’t nothing.” So I keep that attitude and that’s how I’m able to get to this point.

Even if you know you’re up against a mountain, you have to have that attitude like: “That ain’t nothing.”

The Journalist: Doesn’t it make it easier when people like Eminem and Lupe Fiasco are co-signing you?

Bobby Ray: I think a lot of artists know what an artist like me goes through in this industry to be heard. Truth be told, it’s obviously not about talent. And I’m not speaking about anybody else who we just mentioned (Drake, Kid Cudi, and Wale). It’s more about image than talent. I feel artists like Eminem and Lupe understand what I will go through and what I’ve been through to get to this point, so they kinda give me support.


The Journalist: Is the album more like the recent mixtape that you dropped with B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray? You were saying that you have so much music that you’re thinking of coming out with a double album.

(laughter)

Is that going to happen? Are we going to get like 40 songs?

(more laughter)

Bobby Ray: I’m going to take the cream of the crop and put it on the album. And everything else I’m going to put on the mixtape before the album even comes out.

The Journalist: When can we expect that?

Bobby Ray: Probably at the top of the year.

The Journalist: Tell us about this story, It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, the DMX story.

Bobby Ray: DMX was the first rapper that I studied and learned how to rap, like literally, dah, dah, dah, duh, dah—yuh/ something, something, something, standin’ right huh– like how to divide up lines and rhyme them with syllables and everything. When I studied that, I basically learned how to rap. I heard artists like Outkast on the radio. I heard Nas. DMX was that artist—He had that soul.

The Journalist: If you could compare yourself to one artist who would it be?

Bobby Ray: (hmmm) Santigold. (pause) Santigold.

The Journalist: Why Santigold?

Bobby Ray: Because she doesn’t really rap and she doesn’t really sing, she just kinda feels. She gets on a track and she just vibrates. She may feel like spittin’ this. She may sing. And then her lyrics—I really can relate to her lyrics. Like on the “L.E.S. Artistes” song, that’s like my theme song.

When I look at her, I feel like that’s a female version of me.

The Journalist: How has the guitar changed your whole outlook on your music?

Bobby Ray: It’s definitely great for songwriting. Some songs I’ve written on the guitar, and there’s no guitar when I record it. It’s just kinda like a means for hearing the melodies, hearing the notes and hearing how the rhythm will go.

It broadened my perspective. And it helped me understand what I was doing, like up until last year, I didn’t know any music theories. I knew chords and notes but as far as knowing how the music was moving, I didn’t know—I was just playing it how I felt it.

Now, I’m constantly thinking but I’m still tryna not get too deep, cuz I kinda want it to be organic still.

The Journalist: Does your ode to drug use like on “Cloud 9”, does that conflict with you sending a positive message to the younger generation?

Bobby Ray: I feel like when I made that song… I feel like I was in the younger generation. And that was kinda like me speaking from. That would be the equivalent of let’s say you have a crowd of people and then you have somebody on stage.

When I made that song, I was speaking from a perspective of somebody who was in the crowd, speaking from the perspective of somebody who wasn’t necessarily trying to be a positive example.

Now that I have more people looking at me, I think more about what I’m saying and who’s listening to it and who’s being influenced, because people are watching. So now I’m more conscious about it.

I probably will never make a song again glorifying something… You know everybody got their flaws, nobody’s perfect but I probably will never make a song again glorifying a flaw that I have. Not saying that it’s a good or bad thing but you know… (laughs)

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5 Comments

  1. Rewind (Lovelier Than You) by Bobby Ray « Phresh Graffiti said,

    […] Have a blessed fourth day. Check out our conversation here. […]

  2. B.o.B Presents The Adventures of Bobby Ray Drops May 25th « Phresh Graffiti said,

    […] here… as Bob chopped it up with The Journalist late last year. Mixtape coming soon… Until then enjoy Bob […]

  3. The Adventures of Bobby Ray Drops May 25th « Phresh Graffiti said,

    […] here… as Bob chopped it up with The Journalist late last year. Mixtape coming soon… Until then enjoy Bob […]

  4. B.o.B to Drop Debut Album on May 25! « WERW | REAL COLLEGE RADIO said,

    […] here… as Bob chopped it up with The Journalist late last year. Mixtape coming soon… Until then enjoy Bob […]

  5. May 25th Mixtape (by B.o.B) Review « Phresh Graffiti said,

    […] that were and are being raised with his often over analyzed split persona of B.o.B and Bobby Ray (refer here for the difference or download B.o.B.vs. Bobby Ray), dropping his May 25th mixtape with the […]

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