Upstart Atlanta MC B.o.B, a.k.a. Bobby Ray, isn’t your average rapper by any means. First of all, he plays the guitar — and while Kanye West, Drake and Lil Wayne have tried their hands at shredding, none of them can spin a wayward, folksy tune like he can. Combine that with co-signs from Eminem and T.I., who signed the Mixtape Daily Fire starter alum to his Grand Hustle roster , and you have the makings of a breakout star.
So how, exactly, does Bobby Ray plan on introducing his soulful Southern lyricism? With his new single, “Nothin’ On You,” a sprightly, musical number from his forthcoming debut, B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray.
“Introducing B.o.B or Bobby Ray — it takes more than one song to do it,” the rapper told MTV News from the red carpet of BET’s “Rip the Runway.” “But I feel like this song is really genuine and really sincere, so I feel good about people finding out about me through ’Nothin’ On You.’ ”
The song, featuring Bruno Mars, currently rests at #37 on the Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B chart. Although “Nothin’ On You” is still picking up steam, it’s already
received praise — the program director at Los Angeles’ KIIS-FM told Entertainment Weekly that B.o.B would be the next big thing on radio.
Bruno who, along with Phillip Lawrence from production team the Smeezingtons, helmed the track, gushed over Bobby Ray’s talent. “It’s great — he’s an incredible artist,” the singer said. “We actually wrote and sung on the hook. We’d been fans of his for a minute and he came in and just murdered those verses. Hopefully the rest is gonna be history.”
The rapper has been signed to Atlantic Records for some time now and graced the pages of 2009’s XXL Freshman 10 issue, with fellow rookies Kid Cudi, Asher Roth and Wale, among others.
Waiting on the bench wasn’t without its challenges. At one point B.o.B threatened to pull the plug on his promising career before it even started, though he later backtracked and said the rumors were exaggerated . “It does get frustrating, trying to be as free as possible but at the same time working with people,” the rapper told MTV News last year.
But with a new mixtape — the DJ Drama-hosted May 25th — in the streets and a release date on deck for his debut, April 27, Bobby Ray said he learned the value of patience.
“I will tell you this about the journey as an artist to get to the point where you actually have a release date,” he offered. “The biggest lesson I learned is patience. Once you get here it’s like, OK, now you have to keep going. You never get to an end. So you have to be patient and pace yourself. Take time. It’s like building a house. You gotta take time, build a foundation, get the walls right, get the electricity right, get the plumbing right and make sure when you turn the light on that the door don’t open up.”