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A Short Convo With... B.o.B

If there were a more unlikely success story in 2010 than alternative MC B.o.B, you would have to make them up. The genre-merging Atlanta rhymer, producer and multi-instrumentalist has a major pop hit on his hands with the sugary ode, “Nothin’ On You,” featuring Bruno Mars. For a mixtape favorite who's considered the logical successor to OutKast, having the No. 2 song in the country is a coup. Now, B.o.B is set to release his long-delayed debut, B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray, on April 27, with a guest list as eclectic as his hip-hop, rock and electronica influences (Lupe Fiasco, Janelle Monae, Hayley Williams). B.o.B spoke to VIBE about what's shaping up to be a wonderfully strange career. —Keith Murphy


VIBE: You’ve gone from being known as an alternative underground hip-hop act to having a pop hit with “Nothin’ On You.” Are you scratching your head at becoming a favorite on MTV and Top 40 Radio?
B.o.B: I definitely didn’t intend on it. Atlantic Records was like, “This will be a huge smash,” and I’m like, “Yeah, alright…show me.” [Laughs] Well, I showed Atlantic that alternative music could work and they showed me that "Nothin’ On You" could be a smash.

Did you have any reservations about recording an overtly commercial song like “Nothin’ On You?”
I’m not going to say that I didn’t like it, but I wasn’t like “Oh my God! I love it!” Bruno is a talented dude and I’ve worked with him before so I already knew that everything he does is very musical and I’m a very musical guy. I just think sometimes as a producer myself, my ego gets in the way a little bit. I embrace more the stuff that I produced—the music where I can say, Yeah, I did that.

You've shown a do-it-yourself mindset for your album project, even shooting your own videos for "Generation Lost,” "Put Me On" and "No Mans Land." How important is it for newer artists to take control of their own careers in today’s music industry climate?
It’s seriously important. Granted you have a group of people called the record label and they have their vision, but people are people. If you don’t do something, nobody else is going to do it. Whether you are signed or unsigned you are going to have to take the lead. If you don’t, your career will be completely out of your control. Either stuff will happen that you don’t want to happen or nothing will happen. So you have to be very proactive if you want to make sure stuff gets done.

You're signed to T.I.’s Grand Hustle imprint. What kind of career advice has he given you?
He told me, “Alright B.o.B, you are on roller coaster now. From this point on everything is going to speed up and you will never know how you got here.” He told me about finding my pace because I’m just getting my feet wet.

How ironic is it that you're being billed as an alternative hip-hop artist and you're on a label owned by one of the most commercial southern rap acts out today?
It’s crazy. Me being on Grand Hustle, being affiliated with T.I., being an underground alternative artist with a pop hit the next day. It’s fucking crazy. The Adventures of Bobby Ray is just a soundtrack to what I’m doing. I’m just enjoying the ride… The ups and downs is what make the rollercoaster ride fun. But everything is weird [Laughs].

Are you worried that newer fans that only know you from “Nothin’ On You” and not from your more experimental mixtapes will be expecting a more radio-friendly sound for the entire album?
There are fans that give me faith that the original B.o.B will not be forgotten ever. If one of your friends is like, “Ah man, I just heard this “Nothin’ On You,” you will be like, “Oh no, that’s just the surface. Let me educate you on the mixtapes.” I feel like because of the fact that a lot of people have heard the mixtapes, they will tell the new fans, “Man, I been on B.o.B, y’all late.” The foundation is there. All the work that I did over the past three years couldn’t have been better. It was hard and it took a lot of labor and a lot of sweat and losing my voice and my mind. But that hard work instilled the foundation so that a pop song wouldn’t crumble down on me.

PHOTO GALLERY: THE MAKING OF B.o.B. 

So what type of sound should we expect?
I think Bobby Ray will be that happy medium. When I sat down with my label and told them what direction I wanted to go in, they thought I wanted to go the weird alternative rock way. I actually wanted to make more cohesive music. I want to make music that people could actually listen to and relate to, but still keep my alternative element.

You play guitar and several other instruments. Has your musicianship held you back in terms of fans not seeing you as a so-called “real” hip-hop artist?
The people that are discovering me now don’t know about my hip-hop shit and the stuff that had more of an edge. There’s so much involved with my music that it takes a while to make the rounds. I have my hip-hop crowd, my alternative crowd and now I have my pop crowd. That’s a lot to entertain, but it just takes time. I’m working on my next mixtape during the tour I’m on.

The running joke around the music industry was that B.o.B’s album would never see the light of day because it’s been in the making for about three years. Did you feel the same way?
[
Laughs] I also thought that. There was definitely a period where people were saying, “Okay, another mixtape…but when is the album coming?” I even made jokes about it in a freestyle on one of my mixtapes: “My album saying B.o.B when will you release me?” It was just a joke because it was the obvious move to make if some of the label CEO’s are saying we need to get an album out by this guy because it’s obvious that I had fans. It got so ridiculous that we had to sit down with Atlantic to figure out what we were going to do. So, finally April 27… Jesus Christ, it couldn’t have came soon enough.

 

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Bryson Tiller Announces Deluxe Edition Of ‘Trapsoul’ Debut

Ahead of the release of his highly anticipated new album, Bryson Tiller is giving fans another chance to fall deeper in love with Trapsoul. The Grammy-nominated singer announced that he will be releasing a deluxe version of his debut album to streaming service this Friday (Sept. 25).

The deluxe edition will feature fan favorites “Just Another Interlude” and “Self Righteous,” Tiller tweeted on Tuesday (Sept. 22). “Before we get into my new album, I wanna celebrate with this special edition of my debut album, 'Trapsoul.' Featuring a few songs that didn’t quite make the cut.”

before we get into my new album, I wanna celebrate with this special edition of my debut album, Trapsoul. Featuring a few songs that didn’t quite make the cut. Y’all asked for these on All Platforms and they’ll finally be yours this Friday. thank you! pic.twitter.com/8MJ5rC5jYB

— tiller (@brysontiller) September 23, 2020

Released in 2015, Tiller’s debut album put him on the map, and earned a Billboard Music Awards nomination for Top R&B Album. The triple platinum release, lead single “Don’t” cracked the Top 20 on the Billboard singles charts becoming his highest charting solo effort to date.

Earlier in the month, Tiller released the music video for his song “Inhale” which samples Mary J. Blige’s “Not Gon' Cry.” The end of the video reveals that Tiller’s new album will drop sometime this fall.

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Da Brat Talks Coming Out, Going To Prison, Dating Allen Iverson And More

Da Brat sat down with Kandi Burruss for an episode of Speak On It where she reflected on her career, opened up about coming out as a lesbian, and more.

The Chicago native, who recently went public with girlfriend, Jessica Dupart, explained that while her sexuality may have been an open secret, she was scared to go public early in her career out of fear of disappointing her family, namely her grandmothers who have since passed on.

“I was nervous but I was like ‘f*ck it.’ I’m happy, I don’t care,’” she recalled of coming out. “I’m in love with this woman, she completes me, she makes me feel like I’ve never felt before.

“I got nothing but good responses,” continued Brat. “It made me feel so good that I did it. First of all, it was a weight lifted but I got nothing but positive responses then you got your troll motherf*ckers talking bout ‘we been knew.’”

After Brat got out of prison in 2010, Kandi approached her to be in a TV show about lesbians. “I thought about it but I just wasn’t ready [to come out],” she admitted.“I was still scared. I was like I’m not [about to] get on here with these gay b*tches and be looking all crazy. How can I pull it off and participate and not look gay? Now I don’t give a f*ck. This is my life. I’m happy, living in my truth, if anybody don’t like it oh well.”

As a youngster, Brat had several boyfriends. She says she didn’t realize that she was attracted to the opposite sex until she fell in love with woman at age 18. Throughout the year, she dated both women and men, one of whom was Allen Iverson. Dating the NBA star at the height of his career proved to be a struggle for Brat. The “last straw” was one of the women that Iverson was apparently sleeping with approaching them at a hotel.

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“I would love to like do a movie or docuseries, so people could see what the f*ck I been through, how I became the best of both girls: one side of the family was sanctified, the other side I got to wild out. So that’s how I’m like a tomboy on one side and a Christian on the other side.”

Watch the full interview below.

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Dr. Dre’s Estranged Wife Accused Of Embezzlement Amid Divorce

Dr. Dre and his estranged wife, Nicole Young, are embroiled in a contentious divorce battle, with both sides hurling allegations at each other. The latest round of accusations revolved around Nicole allegedly embezzling money from Record One, a company founded by Dre and Larry Chatman in 2015.

According to TMZ, the company was founded under an LLC of which Nicole is a trustee and signatory on the LLC’s checking account, and therefore had access to the company money. Chatman claims Nicole wrote herself a check for $353,571.85 last month,  plus an additional $30,000. Dre, whose birth name is Andre Young, and his business partner are giving Nicole a week to return the money or face a lawsuit.

In legal documents filed on Friday (Sept. 18), Nicole accuses her ex of hiding assets, kicking her out of their home, and years of physical, emotional, and financial abuse.

“Andre’s history with women provides context for the blatant disregard he had for the legal rights of Nicole, his wife and mother of their three children,” the complaint states before referencing Dre’s ex, Michel’le, and the Lifetime biopic that revealed the abuse she suffered. “Andre’s documented past is riddled with tales of dominating and physically abusing women, which he was forced to admit when a movie of his life was being released.”

Nicole alleges that she co-owns the trademark to Dre’s stage name. She also claims that he created an assets holding company to secretly transfer “valuable trademarks” that they allegedly co-owned. The documents allege that Dre threatened to file for divorce in late June leaving Nicole “no choice” but to “initiate divorce proceedings” two days later.

The mother of three was previously married to NBA player Sedale Threatt before marrying Dre in 1996. Dre and Nicole raised three children together, including her son from a previous relationship. Dre also fathered three children from previous relationships.

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