Will B.o.B’s ‘Airplanes’ Soar Past Rival Video Of The Year Nominees?

ATL MC and Hayley Williams, who shot brooding clip without ever meeting, will perform the smash at VMAs on September 12.

B.o.B has racked up a bevy of hits from his freshman effort, The Adventures of Bobby Ray, but so far the Atlanta upstart’s awards haul doesn’t match his Billboard tally.

Maybe his luck will change at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards?

Among his five chances to score a Moonman on September 12, the melodic MC will vie for the night’s biggest prize, the coveted Video of the Year award for his
Hiro Murai-directed “Airplanes.” If the clip wins, it certainly would have one of the more unique backstories of late.

B.o.B and the song’s guest, Paramore’s Hayley Williams , actually shot their parts separately at two different times (scheduling conflicts caused them to spread the production over three months); the pair also recorded the song at different times as well. In fact, the two artists — labelmates at Atlantic Records — will meet for the first time during the VMAs when they perform “Airplanes” together for the first time.

Despite the fact that B.o.B and Williams don’t appear in any scenes together, visually they deliver just as well as they do vocally on the smash single. The dark tone of the record is represented in the clip. Light is used sparingly throughout the video, as B.o.B’s punching lyrics about fortitude cut deep.

Production for the video was done in an abandoned warehouse and a dead-open space, which underscore elements of the song’s lyrics, particularly the themes of emptiness. Williams can be seen in CGI-like Polaroid photos, generated from a rave of lurking party-goers; the singer’s image flashes across the pictures.

B.o.B’s defiant lyrics are in contrast to the subtle cues in the clip, creating a visual marriage that’s as powerful as any of the other nominated candidates. And he certainly seemed to think so. The rapper was excited about his nominations when he spoke to MTV News. In particular, B.o.B was ecstatic about being recognized for accomplishments that reach beyond his chart-topping hits.

“It’s very special to me. I think it’s a lot more special than the success of the singles, because this reflects the work I’ve put in over the years and the word of mouth I’ve helped create,” he said. “It’s definitely amazing. I’m trying to find the words to explain it, but I can’t. It’s inexplicable. I’m a real simple man, so, you know, I accept every gift with generosity and gratitude.”

What’s your favorite B.o.B video? Tell us your pick — and why — in the comments!

The 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on September 12. The party starts with MTV News’ VMA Pre-Show at 8 p.m., followed by the main event at 9 p.m. ET.