B.o.B. shut the University of Maryland College Park down on May 4th, headlining the school's 29th annual Art Attack concert, just three days after releasing his sophomore album, Strange Clouds.
Hundreds of students gathered up in Byrd Stadium to see the Decatur-bred rapper, who was also joined by The Dean's List and U-Md.'s own Harmonic Blue. He admitted to not knowing what to expect from the crowd in a press conference following the concert, but said their "response to the new music was definitely [satisfying]."
After performing old hits from "Bet I Bust," to new bangers like "So Good," 23-year-old Bobby Ray discussed the state of his fans, the rock he's been incorporating into his music, and the creation of Strange Clouds.
The college crowd:
"I'm with my peers--people in my age group. It's a generational connection. I can't really explain it. I just feel like the college crowd is on the same wave. It's a lot of like-minded people, and college crowds are ready to party!"
His diverse fan-base:
"I feel like there are lot of different types of fans. When I started out, I was doing more urban, "Haterz Everywhere" [types of songs]. And you know, there was some more eclectic stuff like "Cloud 9," "I'll Be in the Sky," but Haterz was my biggest song at the time.Then you'll look at a song like "Magic," which ended up on a Kid's Bop CD. The age difference is tremendous so I really just embrace all of it."
The album title:
"I released a video called "No Where Near Close," and there's a line where I say something about strange clouds. Playboy Tre, who's also featured on the album, he was like, 'Yo man, you need to take that lyric and make a hook.' And so it came up in a hook, which was the beat Dr. Luke produced. From that point I got [Lil Wayne] on it and it just really exploded into the title track for the album, and it actually just inspired the whole album. I felt like it was symbolic to my music because my music is the strange cloud in the sky out the bunch."
Collabs with Morgan Freeman, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj & etc.:
"It was natural. I personally spoke to these people. Some reached out to me. I reached out to some ... It was a mutual respect for the craft and the arts ... Especially Morgan Freeman. Him and his team were fans of my work and first album. I think that helped bridge the gap on this album."
An exclusive rock album:
"I could. I think I may. I know I've talked about doing a rock album, but that's only half of what it's going to be. I can't really talk about the other half."