B.o.B. Interview

Label:Rebel Rock/Grand Hustle/Atlantic
Next Project:The Adventures of B.o.B.
Twitter:B.o.B on Twitter
Website:B.o.B's Website

For years, rappers have banked off the success of songs filled with money, cars, jewelry and women.  A growing problem with this marketable trend, however, is that the hip-hop consuming public has grown tired of it; they want something fresh, something new, and something different.  Basically, what they want is change; what they need is B.o.B..

A native of Decatur, Georgia, B.o.B. signed with producer Jim Jonsin to be the flagship artist on his newly formed label, Rebel Rock, and alongside industry tastemaker, TJ Chapman, as well as the fine folks at Atlantic, B.o.B. is preparing the release of his groundbreaking debut, “The Adventures of B.o.B.,” for the end of 2008.   

In an exclusive interview with DJBooth‘s DJZ,” B.o.B. steps inside the booth to talk about the start of the “hater music” movement, staying away from the industry’s “stereotypical bulls**t,” and why he hopes that future travel plans overseas don’t end up like his experience in London.

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B.o.B Interview Transcription

DJ Booth:  What’s goin’ on ya’ll?  It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is a native of Decatur, Georgia.  Signed to Atlantic Records and Jim Jonsin’s Rebel Rock, this man is putting haters on blast from coast to coast.  Please welcome rapper and producer B.o.B.  How you doin’, my friend?

B.o.B.:  Yeah!  Z, what’s happening?  Like you said, I’m puttin’ the haters on blast, I’m lettin’ everybody know that there are haters amongst us, whether they know it or not.  Hatin’ is a disease, and I’m sad to say, but a lot of people have it, and I’m here to put ‘em down for the count.

DJ Booth:  I’ve been informed that B.o.B. has a variety of meanings, depending upon the situation, so what are some example of its flexibility?

B.o.B.:  Well, like you said, B.o.B. is very flexible and it applies to many situations.  Like, for example, on the weekend, when I’m takin’ it easy, I’m just Burnin’ on Blunts, the Best of Buds.  And when it comes Monday, I gotta get back in the studio, so I got my Business over Bullsh*t, Business over B*tches.  And I’m quick with it, like a Bullet outta a Barrel, and I’m just Bangin’ out Beats and Bustin’ on Beats when I’m rappin’.  The sh*t’s real ugly when I get in the studio, man.

DJ Booth:  Did you originally decide on the name because of one particular meaning over any other, only to later realize it could stand for so much more?

B.o.B.:  You know what happened?  I was outside of a club, with one of my homies, Willie Joe.  He was like, “What’s up, B.o.B.?”  ‘Cause at the time, I was goin’ by “B,” ‘cause I didn’t rerally have a rap name.  My name is really Bob.  So he was like, “What’s up, B.o.B?” and I was like, “Dawg, you just gave me my name!”  Ever since then I just been pickin’ up meanings for it – Baller on a Budget, Buzzin’ on Beverages… just all kinds of stuff, man!

DJ Booth:  Well, I’ll tell you, it makes for some great conversation no matter where you are.

B.o.B.:  Oh, definitely.

DJ Booth:  I read over your bio, and it said that at a young age, you became immersed in the music of veterans Outkast and Goodie Mob, correct?

B.o.B.:  Yes, definitely.

DJ Booth:  One listen to your music and that immersion is very clear to me.  Do you think consciously you exude the musical qualities of an Outkast, of a Goodie Mob, when you make your music?

B.o.B.:  I would say what’s conscious about when I make my music is really the point that I’m tryin’ to get across, and how it comes out is really the unconscious part.  ‘Cause if no one said anything, I would never know – I would never know I sounded like or [could] be compared to Andre, or Cee-Lo.  ‘Cause really, I take a lot of things from several different artists from the South.  When I was young, I listened to T.I., Ludacris, Pastor Troy, all of ‘em.  Whatever’s on the radio kinda rubs off on you, ‘cause it’s around you so much.  And plus, around that time the Atlanta scene was really gainin’ a lot of attention and exposure, so it was just a world of opportunities.

DJ Booth:  If you listen to a lot of rappers who aren’t on radio right now, it seems like they’re not truly happy with the music that they’re making.  But one listen to your material, and it seems like you’re just havin’ a hell of a good time, right?

B.o.B.:  I’m having a f*cking blast!  When I make my music, it’s incredible.  And that’s how you gotta feel.  It’s obvious when you do it.  The game is really f*cked up, you know what I mean?  It’s a lot of moneymaking business involved in it; it’s not like the childhood dream that you used to think about.  I really am doin’ this not just for me, but for the fans and for other aspiring artists who wanna become artists, and just to show them that they have a choice, that they don’t have to just make the same stereotypical bullsh*t, that they can really stand up and buck the system, and make the kind of music they want.

DJ Booth:  So would you say, to this point, you have not let the money and the industry politics cloud your work ethic?

B.o.B.:  Definitely not.  Now I will say, it is a job.  It is stressful, and it is strenuous, but you just gotta push the haters back sometimes, and you just gotta make the music that you like, Z.  It’s kinda overwhelming sometimes.  You gotta just enjoy it, because sometimes you forget that you’re makin’ music.  You get so caught up in the business side of it that you actually forget that you gotta make music and have fun with it.  I gotta really keep that in mind, because of the potential that I have, and what I can do for Atlanta, and for music period, in general.

DJ Booth:  You’re damn right about that, so keep that tunnel vision away.  For those unfamiliar with your work up to this point, you’re currently pushing the tremendously hot single, Haterz Everywhere.  Tell everybody who has not heard this song – if they haven’t, maybe they’ve been living under a rock – what exactly you’re trying to do in this industry, from here on out.

B.o.B.:  From here on out, I’m tryin’ to make music.  I’m not trying to make ring tones, I’m not tryin’ to make club busters; I’m just trying to make music.  You know what’s crazy?  Haterz didn’t even start out as a single, which is so funny -  I did it, just havin’ fun, makin’ music, and it ended up gettin’ out there.  And Haterz was a song, like I said earlier, attackin’ all the haters.  People who have the hater virus that don’t know that they have it, who could be hater-positive, it’s lettin’ ‘em know.  I thought that everybody knew about it, but it became a huge epidemic.  Like, in [the] Bahamas, there’s a guy who got a song like, “I’m blind to you haters.”  And in New York, they [have] another “haters” song emerging called Hi Hater.  And it’s like, it’s everywhere!  The “hater” epidemic is really takin’ the nation by storm right now.

DJ Booth:  Would you say you feel personally responsible for this “hater” trend that we’re seeing from coast to coast?

B.o.B.:  I definitely feel like I played a huge role in the “hater” epidemic.  But, people been talkin about haters for years.  Plies has that Got ‘Em Hatin’ song.  So it’s just slowly, slowly emerged.  I feel like the Haterz Everywhere song really [kick-started that motherf*cker].  Like, “Ugh!  Move!” [laughter]

DJ Booth: [laughter] In all seriousness, though, up to this point in your life, what is the most hateful thing anyone has ever done or said to you, that would be any type of motivation to even come up with a song like this?

B.o.B.:  Hm… when I was in middle school – I’m gonna tell you one thing I remember: someone took my rap book and wrote all in it, “You suck!  These lyrics suck!  This is garbage!”  And I never [found out] who did it, but that was just a stain on my memory.  So I guess, throughout the past years, that was a subconscious thorn in my brain, like, “You gotta keep going, you gotta do it!  They don’t think you can do it!” [laughter] That’s what really pushed me, is, I feel like I’m tryin’ to prove something.  But at the same time, it’s all fun – I just love makin’ music.

DJ Booth:  You know what would actually be a lot of fun?  If we could call up your old middle school, get the attendance list for that class, find out who wrote in your rap book, and then after your album is released and goes platinum, we can go knock on their door, and see if they still feel the same way?

B.o.B.:  Z, I think you’re up to a great idea.  Just see, “How do you feel?” and interview them. [laughter]

DJ Booth:  Yeah, yeah, and we can make this into a whole reality TV show – what do you think about that?

B.o.B.:  We should call it Hi Hater.

DJ Booth:  And then we could surprise him with the camera at the door, they open the door, and go, “Hi, hater!”

B.o.B.:  And they’re like, “What’s happening?!” and we’re like, “No, you have not won a sweepstakes!  We’re here to interview you and see how you feel about all that hatin’!”

DJ Booth:  To this point, with your recent success, have you openly been hated on by people who’ve been in your company?

B.o.B.:  This is what’s crazy – people actually still hate!  We go to shows, and people will still be hatin’!  Since I’ve been addressing the hate, it has gone down dramatically, but I’ve done a couple shows, and people will be hatin’ in the crowd, and I’m like, “Are you serious?  Come on!  Like, you come to the show and hate?”  And it’s crazy, ‘cause when the song comes on, then they’re like, “Oh, yeah, this is my joint!” and they’re jumpin’ up.

DJ Booth:  Well, if they’re in attendance and they’re hating, they’re hypocrites, but I’m curious: what do you say to someone who is hating, but can be convinced that what they’re doing is wrong?

B.o.B.:  This is what I study; [I’ve been] studyin’ hate over these past couple of years.  I’ve broken it down into two different possibilities: you can be an active hater or a passive hater.  Now, if you’re active, it means you honestly know that you’re hating, and you do it because you just like it and the virus has completely taken over your body.  Passive hatin’ is people who hate and they don’t know that they’ve contracted the H-virus.  The Haterz song was really identifying with the people who were quite possibly passively hating, and actively hating were the people who were, “Yeah, this is my song right here!  I’m a hater, yeah!”  It’s really for everybody.  What I would say to a hater [is] just the song.  I would say, “You need to go download this song, and you need to learn about yourself, because you’ve contracted the hater virus!”

DJ Booth:  It seems to me, as you continue to make more money in the music business, you might also want to be a part of creating the antibiotic to cure all these haters.  Because in the cure, there might be a lot  of money.

B.o.B.:  Oh my God, Z, you’re right!  And you know what it’s called?  It’s called The Adventures of B.o.B., and it’s coming 2008.  That’s the antibiotic for the hate.

DJ Booth:  Let’s talk more about the debut album – I gave you the perfect segue.  What can people expect when they pick up a copy of your debut?

B.o.B.:  This is what people can expect:  no one is gonna know what the f*ck just hit ‘em!  It’s like, they’re gonna put the CD in, and from that point on it’s gonna be a whole new world.  They’re gonna get sucked into it so hard!  All the music that’s out, that people have been buzzin’ around and all that – that’s nothing!  That’s my scratch work, you know what I mean?  The real masterpieces are on the album.  And the more potential and buzz that I build up just from the regular songs – you know, it might be scary; some people might be scared to buy it, because they might not be ready for that kind of sh*t.  If I was a hater, I would be.

DJ Booth: [laughter] So records like Grip Your Body and F*ck You are really just a taste of what’s to come.

B.o.B.:  Yes.  Just a taste.  And what’s funny is, a lot of these songs that are out, I did like two years ago.  I’m still recordin’ now, so you can imagine.

DJ Booth:  Definitely.  Well, you’ve been a busy man, both in the studio and out.  At the end of this month, you’re going to be traveling overseas to Germany to do a two-week club tour.  Have you been outside the US to tour before?

B.o.B.:  No – well, you know what, I’ve been to London, but they turned me around at the border.

DJ Booth:  Why did they do that?

B.o.B.:  We didn’t have visas.  But you know what’s crazy?  I heard you don’t need a visa unless you’re gonna be over there for six months or something, so they were probably hatin’ on me.  They [had us] in the detention area – man, it was terrible!  We flew LA, through Atlanta, to New York, then flew seven hours to London, then had to wait four hours just to get sent right back to Cincinnati, then back to Atlanta.  So I spent like two days just flyin’, just flyin’ like I don’t have sh*t to do, just flyin’.

DJ Booth:  I hope those flights included meals and moves.

B.o.B.:  Oh, yeah, they definitely included meals and movies.

DJ Booth:  Okay, good, ‘cause those would’ve been tremendously awful-

B.o.B.:  And they were free flights, so it was cool.

DJ Booth:  That’s good.  Germany – what do you know about the country?  What can you expect from the audiences that you’re going to be performing for?

B.o.B.:  Playboy Tre, you know, he’s part of the team, he’s on Ham Squad, and he went to Germany.  And he said it was great.  The autobahn, I heard they drive like 160 in the rain, so I’m kinda thinkin’ about that.

DJ Booth:  [laughter] Well, be careful, ‘cause you got a debut album to release over here in the States, so you can’t drive that fast.

B.o.B.:  Yeah. [laughter]

DJ Booth:  Upon returning home, you’re going to be joining the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, Mos Def, and a lot of other artists on the Rock the Bells Tour.  First of all, congratulations on being added to that list.

B.o.B.:  Thank you.

DJ Booth:  You’re very welcome.  When you see your name on a bill next to hip-hop legends like I just mentioned, what is the first thought that comes to your mind?

B.o.B.:  The first thought is, “I never expected this so soon!”  Even though I set out to do great things, each big thing that happens, I’m like, “Wow, I didn’t really think it would really happen like that!”  And because it’s kinda like, you’re knockin’ on the door to get in the industry so long, and you’re just tryin’ to push and push, and then once you get it open it’s like, “Well, sh*t!  Now I’m in here, so damn!”  It makes me wanna go even harder, ‘cause it’s like, well sh*t, if I can do this, what else can I do?

DJ Booth:  As far as I can tell, you’re doin’ that.  Keep on strivin’ to go right to the top of the industry.  B.o.B., give everyone a website, MySpace page, so they can find out more about yourself and, of course, the exciting debut album dropping later this year, The Adventures of B.o.B.

B.o.B.:  People, myspace.com/bobatl!  Check out the website: bobatl.com.

DJ Booth:  Definitely.  Well, I thank you for taking to time to join me inside the DJ Booth, and I wish you absolutely nothing but the best of luck, my friend.

B.o.B.:  Oh, yeah!  I appreciate it, man.

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