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.