NEW YORK — From the look of things, it seems [artist id=”3238990″]B.o.B[/artist] has had to deal with a few identity issues during his young and promising career. Early last year the highly touted Georgia rapper was pegged as an MC to watch , and has often been compared to Andre 3000 of Outkast for his embrace of multiple musical genres.
But in the following months, he considered retiring from the music business , reportedly clashed with his label over musical direction and even talked about changing his performing name to his given name, Bobby Ray . However, B.o.B’s ship has righted in recent months, and on Monday night at SOB’s (B.o.B performing at a club called SOB’s is pretty hard to resist), he let the crowd know exactly who he is.
In front a packed house for the Rap Radar event, B.o.B performed tracks from his upcoming debut, B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray, (due on April 27) as well as from his past mixtapes . His set seamlessly traversed hip-hop, pop and rock: It opened like a traditional hip-hop show, with the MC rapping and frantically jumping and moving to hype up the crowd. He was then joined onstage by his band, and then made a smooth transition from rap to alt-rock, all without losing the crowd’s admiration or attention.
Plenty of hip-hop artists, from Outkast and Kanye West to Lupe Fiasco and Lil Wayne, have transitioned into more experimental and/or rock-influenced music, but B.o.B’s fusion feels natural. His hit single with Bruno Mars, “Nothin’ on You,” is a solid example of that: The song transcends genres and is bringing him to a more mainstream, pop audience. And when he performed the song toward the close of the set on Monday, the crowd sang along loudly.