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B.o.B Talks Rap Blogs, Lupe Fiasco & Becoming A 'Pop Star'

B.o.B is laughing. And who could blame him? The quirky MC and instrumentalist is marveling over his own improbable success. Just how did a former Decatur, Georgia underground mixtape standout evolve into a pop chart-topping artist whose big label debut B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray’s has produced two of 2010’s most omnipresent hits, “Nothing On You” and “Airplanes?” Bobby Ray dissects his momentous run; answers his critics who label him a pop rapper; explains why he identifies with Eminem and unleashes his otherworldly knowledge of the "astral realm." —Keith Murphy

 

VIBE: You have been unavoidable as of late following the enormous Billboard pop chart success of your first two singles “Nothing On You” and “Airplanes.” Are you trying to rub it in with your high profile feature in the latest Adidas commercial?

B.o.B: [Laughs] It’s just crazy to me. They are spoiling me too much by giving me these looks. I’m just humbled. By me saying “Kick it like Adidas” [in my new single “Magic”], which is the line in the commercial that they used, I guess that’s what sparked the initial interest in including me. Dr. Luke produced the song, but originally it wasn’t the track we planned on releasing. But after “Magic” became a fan favorite during my live shows, the song took on a life of its own.

Given your start as an underground artist, are you shocked that your songs have dominated the pop music charts?

Yes, I’m shocked. I didn’t think “Nothing On You” or “Airplanes” would be as pop as they would become. But pop music isn’t just pop music anymore.

How do you explain such success to the longtime B.o.B fans that know you from your mixtape days when you were dropping songs like “Haterz Everywhere” and "I'll Be In the Sky?”

For the true fans who knew me before the mass fame; who knew me as an aspiring artist; who knew me as the underground mixtape guy that just loved making music and performing—I want all those fans to know that the changes that have happened in my career are the equivalent of a college football player going pro. When you are on the playing field, a lot more things matter—such as what type of shoes you have on or scoring a Gatorade commercial. But you still have to be true to yourself, and that’s what I’ve been. I’m the same artist I was before all of this.

Does it bother you that some rap blogs have labeled you as a pop rapper?

No [Laughs]. It’s kind of funny. I guess some fans are kind of frustrated and some fans want the old B.o.B, and then some fans are cool with the new B.o.B and some fans really don’t care. But that sort of talk is inevitable when you look at the type of growth that my career has taken. I actually had to let go for this to happen. I let go of a lot of my worries and let myself just make music. I actually feel like I’m in more of a solid space than I was in when I was doing the mixtapes.

You no longer feel artistic constraints…

Right! Because when I was making the mixtapes I was really lost…but I wanted to be lost. I wanted to run away from reality and get lost. I was kind of like going on a vision quest. You know the Native American vision quest when you go out to the woods and you get lost in nature while under the effects of some form of hallucinogenic? That was the state I was in during those mixtapes from "Cloud 9" all the way to 'May 25." But the main thing is deconstructing your previous beliefs and exploring yourself and really understanding who you are. 

Your label mate Lupe Fiasco has been going through a power struggle with Atlantic Records. Do you identify with his issues?

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French Authorities Reportedly Investigating Rape Claim Against Chris Brown

French authorities are reportedly investigating Chris Brown after a woman allegedly accused the R&B singer of rape. According to the French tabloid, Closer, a 24-year-old woman claims that Brown raped her in his hotel room.

The unidentified woman alleges that she met Brown at a Parisian night club in rue de Ponthieu, near the Champs-Elysées, on the night of Jan. 15 into Jan. 16, before heading back to his room at the La Mandarin Oriental. The woman also accused Brown’s bodyguard of abuse, Closer reports.

Brown was recently spotted taking in the festivities of Paris Fashion Week, and smooching rumored flame, Ammika Harris. The “Undecided” singer shared video from dance rehearsal in the French city over the weekend. He has not commented on the reported rape allegation.

Brown is currently embroiled in a separate civil lawsuit filed by a woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by Brown's friend, Lowell Grissom, during a party at the Grammy winner's home last year. Brown requested that the lawsuit be dismissed.

“For the last 10 years anybody who comes at him should know they're going to meet the full force of my firm,” the Virginia native's lawyer, Mark Geragos, warned in an interview last year.

The woman has since filed court documents on Jan. 7, asking a judge to block Brown’s request that she give up phone and text records citing privacy concerns. According to The Blast, the woman asserts that she already turned over hundreds of documents, including text messages, emails and medical records.

 

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Spotify Testing Feature That Allows Users To Mute Certain Artists

Spotify users will be able to mute certain artists, for their listening pleasure. The streaming company introduced a “don’t play this artist feature” as apart of a new IOS app update, according to Thurrott, which got its hands on an early version of the feature.

The block button allows listeners to banish specific artists from their personal music libraries, and stops them from popping up in automatically curated playlists, and other pages on the music streaming app. In order to utilize the mute feature, users clicks on the menu above an artists’s page and selects the “don’t play” option. The feature doesn’t work for songs that the artist may be featured on, the Verge reports.

The update could be a middle ground for Spotify as it faces increased pressure in wake of the #MuteRKelly movement, and Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly  documentary. A Change.org petition calling for Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube to remove R. Kelly’s music from its services is close to garnering 150,000 signatures.

Last year, Spotify briefly removed Kelly, XXXTentacion and T-Kay (a Texas rapper convicted of murder) from featured playlists due to the company's hateful conduct policy. “We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions -- what we choose to program -- to reflect our values,” the company explained in statement to Billboard last May. “When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator."

Spotify abandoned the plan after pushback from fans of the artists singled out, and industry heavyweights like Top Dawg Entertainment founder Anthony Tiffith, whose label imprint is home to Kendrick Lamar, SZA, ScHoolBoy Q and more.

Tiffith reached out to Troy Carter, Spotify’s global head of creator services, and threatened to remove his artists’ music from the streaming service. “I don't think it's right for artists to be censored, especially in our culture,” Tiffith told Billboard. “How did they just pick those [artists] out? How come they didn't pick out any others from any other genres or any other different cultures? There [are] so many other artists that have different things going on, and they could've picked anybody. But it seems to me that they're constantly picking on hip-hop culture."

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The Internet Reacts To Carmelo Anthony Being Traded To The Chicago Bulls

According to a tweet sent out by ESPN's Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Houston Rockets have agreed to trade Carmelo Anthony and cash considerations to the Chicago Bulls. However, he will likely not play any games.

"Anthony won't play a game for the Bulls, league source tells ESPN. He will be released and become a free agent if he clears waivers," tweeted Wojnarowski. "...it is possible that franchise holds off on waiving him until the trade deadline, league sources tell ESPN. Bulls could include him in a one-for-one trade, but can't aggregate his contract in another deal."

Since today is a national holiday (Jan. 21), the official word will reportedly be held off until tomorrow. Wojnarowski reports that his "best bet" would be to wait it out until the trade deadline (Feb. 7) to find another opportunity with another team.

The Houston Rockets have agreed to trade Carmelo Anthony and cash to the Chicago Bulls, league sources tell ESPN.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 21, 2019

The NBA office will not execute the trade today because it's a holiday, league sources tell ESPN. To clear the way for Kenneth Faried to sign and play tonight in Philadelphia, Rockets had to waive to James Nunnally. Trade call on 'Melo will likely be Tuesday. https://t.co/Oo2IA0nsJP

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 21, 2019

Anthony won't play a game for the Bulls, league source tells ESPN. He will be released and become a free agent if he clears waivers. https://t.co/Oo2IA0nsJP

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 21, 2019

Social media caught wind of the news, and reacted with shock and of course with laughs via some hot takes.

"Melo is revolutionizing the 'farewell season' by signing a contract with each NBA team before he retires, truly ahead of his time," one tweet read, while another said "Melo is being held hostage by teams. Hopefully this means Liam Neeson will have a movie saving him come out around the trade deadline."

Check out some tweets below.

Melo is being held hostage by teams. Hopefully this means Liam Neeson will have a movie saving him come out around the trade deadline.

— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) January 21, 2019

Melo stans: THE BUUUUUUULLS? pic.twitter.com/Y9nYBgNFuX

— #RingerNBA (@ringernba) January 21, 2019

[email protected] fans looking at GM Lebron when Melo becomes free agent. pic.twitter.com/wJy3ujSAIH

— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) January 21, 2019

Carmelo Anthony will not play a game for the Bulls, but it is possible that franchise holds off on waiving him until the trade deadline, league sources tell ESPN. Bulls could include him in a one-for-one trade, but can't aggregate his contract in another deal.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 21, 2019

For Anthony, his best bet is waiting until the Feb. 7 trade deadline to find his next team. He can wait for roster spots to open, trades to happen, etc, that'll create the best opportunity for him. Anthony wants to find a place to contribute. https://t.co/cRgbMalvTl

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 21, 2019

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