Just ten years ago, Bobby Ray Simmons lived in such meager conditions in his hometown of Decatur Georgia, not only was it too embarrassing to invite friends over, it just wasn’t safe. Bob,...Expand
Just ten years ago, Bobby Ray Simmons lived in such meager conditions in his hometown of Decatur Georgia, not only was it too embarrassing to invite friends over, it just wasn’t safe.
Bob, his parents, his brother and sister moved into an unfinished three story house after being evicted out of their apartment. There were holes in the floor, no electricity or hot water, and instead of walls or siding, the family only had black plastic to shield them from the elements.
Instead of letting the mentally debilitating circumstances crush his spirit, Bob viewed his humble beginnings as just that, the beginning. He became motivated to follow his musical aspirations and today he can afford more extravagances than he ever could envision.
“That’s really what my new album is about,” B.o.B says about his new LP, the third in his catalog, Underground Luxury. “I wanted to speak directly to the people and let them know that even if you come from the very bottom, you can always rise. You can make something from nothing and when the work is done, when you’ve accomplished your goals, it’s alright to celebrate.”
More than ever, Bob mixes energy kindling club smashes with his patented chart topping monsters, easily making for his most well rounded opus to date. “We Still In This” was unanimously the hip-hop song of the summer while the double fisted serving of blockbusters “Ready” (with Future) and “HeadBand” (replete with a guest verse from 2 Chainz) were both greeted with an equal amount of fever by the streets and well as the nightlife DJs.
“Well, I’ve always made club bangers before, but I’m most known for those big radio singles,” B.o.B began to detail. “But to be honest, you’re really going to hear some songs that are a reflection of a young man, 24, 25 years old with a certain amount of celebrity that’s indulging in the spoils of victory in the nightlife. When we started the album, I did something that I never really did in my life and that was go out to the clubs heavily. It really inspired me. I made a bunch of club bangers for Underground Luxury. I still have some left over for my next album.” B.o.B jokes about the seductive “Wide Open” being a “love song,” when in fact if you listen; it is more of a lust song.
“That’s one of my favorites,” the eclectic MCs says with a grin.” “Hey man, I’m a single young man and it talks about activities men and women engage in. I’m speaking from experience.”
On the narrative “John Doe,” Bobby rhymes about less celebratory experiences, coming from perspective of a lost soul battling addiction. “That was a challenging song for me,” he explains. “I definitely know people who have fought that fight. I wanted to tell their story and bring the listeners into that world.
Elsewhere on the stadium anthem “Nobody Told,” Bob opines about there not being a manual to deal with fame. “Had it all and never knew nobody told me money don't make u rich…/ Had it all when I ain't have nothing.
“What a crazy, amazing, frustrating, exciting, scary, blessed rollercoaster of a ride my career has been. I’ve been around the world multiple times, met world leaders like Barack Obama and been able to bond with my fans,” Bob revels. When I look back at all that I came from, I’m just so grateful. This album is showing my continued growth and is absolutely my most complete, evolved work.”
After making his introduction onto the mixtape circuit in 2007, B.o.B gained his first pieces of national exposure and acclaim appearing on MTV News’ “Mixtape Monday” as well as XXL Magazine’s coveted Freshman cover which highlighted raps top rookies of the year. The following year, Bob officially joined his friend and mentor T.I.’s Grand Hustle Records.
Under Tip’s tutelage, B.o.B began producing his debut LP B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray (2010). That LP debuted number one on the Billboard Top 200 album charts and spawned the multi-platinum, career cornerstone singles “Nothing On You (feat. Bruno Mars),” “Airplanes (feat. Hayley Paramore of Paramore)” and “Magic.” In the summer of 2010, Bob opened for Jay Z and Eminem’s historic “Home & Home” stadium tour.
Bob’s sophomore LP, Strange Clouds (2012) was another top five album debut, with singles “Strange Clouds (feat. Lil Wayne),” “So Good” and “Both Of Us (feat. Taylor Swift),” all certified as Platinum.
At the age of ten, Bob’s brother convinced him to begin rapping after the two listen to DMX’s debut It’s Dark and Hell Iz Hot. Bob mimicked his idol with his early raps before developing his own style as a teenager. By 15, Bobby was already training himself to play the piano, and 19, he began teaching himself how to the play the guitar, a hallmark of his live performances.
B.o.B is already planning a major world tour for 2014 to come in the aftermath of Underground Luxury’s December 17 release. Additional producers and guests on the LP include T.I., 2 Chainz, Juicy J, DJ Mustard and Chris Brown.