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VIBE Feb/March Cover Story: B.o.B (Pg. 2)

The question of identity informs much of his music catalog, mainly the dichotomy of B.o.B—the battle-rapping upstart who snaps into beat mode even on throwaway remixes like Cali Swag District’s “Teach Me How to Dougie”—vs. the free-wheeling, guitar-strumming Bobby Ray, who seems born to marry a pop melody. And there’s another dichotomy at work here: the idea of simultaneously being an artist and an employee—and being okay with that. Or not.

“I checked my Web site one day and I was like, ‘Damned, I’m selling earbuds now,’” he says, shrugging off any sense of betrayal by his corporate bosses. “Don’t get me wrong—basically they ask me what I want. Some of it can’t work. Like, I wanted to have my own rolling papers, but in the grand scheme of things that probably wouldn’t have been the best idea,” he says with a laugh. “You have as much say as an artist as you want to have—and as far as the contract will allow. I’ll say that.”

THE SON OF A PASTOR WHO broke away from the church, Bobby Ray learned the art of moving bodies and letting loose messages at an early age. “Watching him deliver a point, that influenced me lyrically,” says B.o.B. “Even performingÉ just the way that I visualize the stage and how the music should be presented. You know, church musicians, they get down.”

By the first grade, Bobby was taking trumpet lessons, while his sister, who’s a year and a day his junior, took piano lessons. “My sister got better at the piano than I did at the trumpet,” he says. “So I learned from her to play piano—I’m actually better at piano now than I am at the trumpet.” Today, he also plays the French horn, guitar and percussion. And when nothing else is available, he’ll play coffee mugs.

Describing himself as an “extremist” who takes things too seriously, B.o.B admits to being something of a conspiracy theorist. “I was one of them kids who was like, ‘You know there’s people doing stuff you don’t even know about,’” he says. “I’d be on the Internet all day, looking up ghosts and aliens and stuff that would completely terrify me, but I wanted to research it. That kinda started me on this rabbit-hole chase, just trying to find answers. That’s every teen—trying to find answers, whether it be socially or just with subjects. After a while you realize it’s only a certain amount of people that realize how much of what we do is what we’re conditioned to do. When you realize that, it’s like, ‘Okay, you can sit here and research this all dayÉ What are you gonna do about it?’”

The next step was obvious. I’ll just rap, he recalls thinking. “I was like, ‘I been rapping for some years now, I’m in high school, I feel like I can take what I know and help antidote it with lyrics.’”

Then in 2006, he produced “Da Cookieman” for local Slip-N-Slide artist Citty. The song was forgettable, but the experience played a significant role in B.o.B’s life, as summed up on “My Story” from his first mixtape, Cloud 9, released in 2007: “Then I sold my first beat, got a couple stacks/And, just like a nigga, man, I spent it like that/Got a couple diamonds, got a couple hats/And filled up my closet with some shoes and some slacks/Now I’m back to square one, where I’m at now/Rapping in this booth in the basement of a house.”

His performance in a talent showcase at T.I.’s Club Crucial got him noticed by industry player TJ Chapman, who signed on as his comanager and introduced him to Jim Jonsin. The producer of Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” made B.o.B the first artist signed to his Rebel Rock venture through Atlantic Records. This was October 2006, and B.o.B was in his first semester as a senior in high school.

He decided to drop out, but maintains that his diploma is “still in the works.” About a year later, T.I.’s Grand Hustle also signed on as one of his label backers. The King of the South’s cosign gave B.o.B’s image credibility and grit. For an artist who admits to having had the latest album by French alt-rockers Phoenix on repeat in his car, names the U.K. indie rock collaborative Florence and the Machine as his favorite new artist and tends to veer off into meaning-of-life raps over guitar riffs, the T.I. connection made him seem a little more Wyclef, a little less Hootie without the Blowfish.

“One of our elaborate discussions was about whether or not he should cater to more so an ‘urban’ audience,” T.I. shared with VIBE, shortly before returning to jail for parole violation. “My response to that was, ‘Well, how much do you care about the urban audience?’”

Early on the answer was obvious. Equal parts goofy and gully, B.o.B’s second mixtape, 2007’s The Future, found him speaking on quotidian street themes: riding Chevy’s, hating haters, sometimes loving hoes, smoking weed and shouting out his city. Though his first two tapes showcased the type of musicality that would later become his signature—along with Sam Cooke and Curtis Mayfield, source material ranged from the Beatles to the White to The Little Rascals theme song—his lean was decidedly street. Or not. As T.I. aptly described, B.o.B was “urban in the sense of when Andre 3000 decides to rap—as urban as that may be.”

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Issa Rae And LaKeith Stanfield To Star In Will Packer's 'The Photograph'

The great talents of Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield are hitting the big screen soon in Will Packer’s latest film, The Photograph. The two actors have scored roles in the forthcoming movie, Deadline reports.

Stella Meghie will be directing the film, which is based on the parallels of love stories that intersect between the past and present. Both Rae and Stanfield have made their mark on and off the big screen. When Rae isn’t on her brilliant show, Insecure, she’s hustling in Hollywood by getting roles in movies like The Hate U Give and Little. Stanfield is known for his role on FX’s Atlanta, and his awesome contribution to Sorry To Bother To You.

It will be interesting to see Rae and Stanfield on screen together, especially considering both of their strong personalities and viewpoints on the world. During an interview with GQ, Stanfield expressed how he felt about the social-political conundrums of the racist events that have taken place since President Trump's election, like the race riots in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"I’m interested chiefly in bringing justice to those who deserve it," he said. "Secondarily, I’d love to begin a campaign photographing all of the criminals. And villains of the world. And bringing them to justice."

"Sometimes the things that are the worst aspects of humanity are not in fact dark," he explained about his sentiments on the matter. "They are light. This represents a situation in the time that we are experiencing...a light time. A time full of light."

There is no release date yet for The Photograph.

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Kodak Black performs onstage during the 4th Annual TIDAL X: Brooklyn at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on October 23, 2018 in New York City.
Nicholas Hunt

Kodak Black Under Fire For Comments About Young M.A.

The always controversial Kodak Black is under fire on Monday (March 18) for comments that are being described as sexual harassment, sexist and homophobic.

"It feel good to know that somebody love you out there. I know more people love me than hate me. And I do more good than I do bad. I do a lot of stuff, but I do more good than I do bad," he said on Instagram Live, from the seat of a car. He then stated, "How you a girl but don't want your p***y penetrated? How? ... Don't be mad at me because I want you, baby. Don't be mad at me cuz I want you."

It all started from his February release "Pimpin Ain't Eazy,"  where Kodak references Young M.A. in the chorus and the second verse. On the chorus, he rapped, "I be pullin' out straps on these f**k ni**as, I go Young M.A. on these dumb bi**hes. Like a dyke man, you ni**ass can't f**k with me." And in the second verse: ""I'm f**kin' Young M.A, long as she got a coochie. Say she got the strap and the toolie, say she put the crack in her booty."

Young M.A., who is openly gay, responded to fans' questions on Sunday (March 17) on her own IG Live about how she felt about the lyric.


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TSR STAFF: Tanya P.! @tanyaxpayne _________________________ #YoungMA responds to #KodakBlack after he included her in some NSFW lyrics on his song ‘Pimpin’ Ain’t Eazy.’ ____________________________ In the song, Kodak raps: “I don’t even see the confusion, I’m f****ing #YoungMa, as long as she got a coochie.” ___________________________ Needless to say Young MA wasn’t feeling the line, and said she might even pull up on him in Arizona. Both coincidentally have a show out there so we’ll see if this gets squashed or not 👀👀 (SWIPE)

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Mar 17, 2019 at 11:07am PDT

"Y'all keep talking about this Kodak situation. Y'all ni**as is weird, bro. ... Come on, obviously the n—a is weird, bro. Obviously, he on some sh*t, bro," she said. She and Kodak were both scheduled to perform at the Pot of Gold music festival in Arizona on Saturday. "I'll holla at him, if I get a chance to see him. Y'all do this internet sh*t too much, bro. I don't like the internet sh*t, bro. I don't like this internet sh*t. I deal with my issues in person."

Kodak Black then posted his response on Monday. The rapper has been charged with sexual assault, and is facing a possible 30 years in prison.

Kodak Black, a known rapist, sexually harrassing Young MA, a Black queer woman, reminds us of the following:

*Black women are still disposable.

*Black LGBTQ remain under attack.

*Hip Hop remains sexist and homophobic.

*People are still buying/supporting known sexual abusers.

— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) March 18, 2019

Kodak Black publicly harassing Young MA for sex as if he wasn’t charged with felony first degreee criminal sexual conduct and doesn’t have an upcoming rape trial he should be worried about https://t.co/RPTkxUFeiK

— Ivie Ani (@ivieani) March 18, 2019

it’s very very very very strange that kodak black, a man facing a r*pe charge, is harassing young ma for sex and the internet finds it funny. this place just gets weirder.

— Lauren Chanel Allen (@MichelleHux) March 18, 2019

Young MA is a lesbian. Plain and simple. What Kodak Black is doing is harassment. The responses are interesting because it shows how little many of you respect women who identify as Lesbian or women full stop for that matter.

— Richie Brave 🧼 (@RichieBrave) March 18, 2019

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Live Nation

DMX Delivers Powerful Sermon At Kanye West's Sunday Service

DMX commits to delivering the good word with his recent poignant prayer at Kanye West's latest "Sunday Service." His touching reflection was captured and shared on social media this past weekend.

“Father God thank you for making me righteous and acceptance through the blood of Jesus because of that I am blessed and highly favored by you,” the 48-year-old rapper preached. “I am the object of your affection, your favor surrounds me as a shield. And the first thing people come in contact with is my favorite shield. Thank you that I have favor with you and man today. All day long people go out of their way to help me.”

“Doors that were once closed are now open for me. I receive preferential treatment. I have special privileges,” he continued. “I am God’s favorite child…I have supernatural increases and promotion. Like the restoration of everything the devil has stolen from me. This is the day, time, and moment for me to experience the free grace of God.”


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The Free Favor of God 🙏

A post shared by DMX (@dmx) on Mar 17, 2019 at 4:44pm PDT

Since DMX was released from prison in January for tax evasion, the New York native has wasted no time getting back in the music scene and voicing his opinions. Never one to hold back his tongue, during his first interview since being a free man on Real 92.3, he expressed his distaste for this generation's latest crop of rappers, which heavily glorify drug usage.

"They're all promoting drug use," DMX said. "If that’s what you want to do, that's your business, but you ain't gotta promote it like it's cool and make it cool."

Nonetheless, if you're a fan of DMX's classic music, you're in for a treat as he's currently on tour to promote his legendary 1998 It's Dark And Hell Is Hot album. He's scheduled to perform in 32 cities throughout the course of two months.

In the meantime, get inspired and watch more of DMX speak the holy word below.

Morning prayer by DMX #SundayService pic.twitter.com/AGpMgUyF9U

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 17, 2019


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Sunday Service @divinebars @1shotdealz Ye

A post shared by DMX (@dmx) on Mar 17, 2019 at 1:00pm PDT

Her favorite part of the week is dancing during Sunday Service pic.twitter.com/yhiDhBqBY5

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 17, 2019

Power pic.twitter.com/7X9rXwkdOW

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 17, 2019

Lift Yourself pic.twitter.com/VLFclhXpRO

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 17, 2019

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