Alexis Jenkins

B.o.B. Rocks Maryland's Art Attack Event; Talks 'Strange Clouds'

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.

B.o.B. on...

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."

From the Web

More on Vibe

Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks for an open man during Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on June 4, 2000 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo by Tom Hauck

NEXT: Kobe Bryant

This story appeared in the April 2000 issue of VIBE, months before he won his first of five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. Written by Isaac Paris

Okay, Sherlock, we know Kobe Bryant is way past the verge of stardom. As an all-star shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, he gets thousands of fans screaming with excitement every other night. Bryant's baseline drives are as smooth as Nate Dogg's vocals, and his slam dunks bump like a gritty bass line from a DJ Premier track.

Now, with his debut rap album, Visions (Columbia), due in March, the 21-year-old is poised to follow in the footsteps of teammate Shaquille O'Neal (who he occasionally exchanges verses with in the locker room) and prove that his skills aren't limited to flying above the rim. Although Bryant realizes that being the man on the hardwood is no guarantee that you can actually hold it down in the studio (NBA stars/inept MCs like Gary Payton and Jason Kidd can attest to that), Visions proves his wordsmith capabilities are ample enough to allow him to play with the big dogs.

"People are gonna be surprised," Bryant says self-assuredly. "Toward the latter stages [of recording], I was real comfortable. I was like, 'I got this sh*t!'" In fact, tonight in his Milwaukee hotel room––on the eve of a game against the Bucks––Bryant's more pressed with defending the unproven mike skills of his homegirl that he is his own.

"Tyra can sing," he says of supermodel Tyra Banks, who makes her singing debut on Visions' first single, the buoyant "K.O.B.E." Destiny's Child, the Roots' Black Thought, 50 Cent, and Beanie Sigel also support the hoopster on the CD.

"The album is pretty hard. People expect me to come a little more commercial than I did," says Bryant. "At first it was all battle raps, but I really wanted to give the total picture of what was going on around me, like money, jewelry, women, and trust issues."

Nevertheless, money, hoes, and clothes aren't the only things this player knows. He also knows how to win. The following night, after No. 8 scores 22 points as the Lakers thrash the Bucks, he's convinced he'll be just as successful rapping as he is playing on his championship-contending team. "[On the mic] you want respect. If I want something I'm gonna get it. Just buy the album and see for yourself."

Continue Reading
Tyler the Creator attends the 62nd annual GRAMMY Awards on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

11 Takeaways From The 2020 Grammys

There are many factors that go into winning a Grammy, the most coveted music prize of the industry. It’s more than “is the song good?” Sometimes it’s based on campaigning, other times it’s based on what voters feel should be the industry standard. However, the fun doesn’t come until after the ceremony, where all the winners have been revealed and it’s time to process what it all means for the larger picture and the future of recording.

The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards was met with controversy this year thanks to a lawsuit against the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences from ousted CEO, Deborah Dugan. Through her explosive claims and allegations, the voting process has gotten even less transparent— and we’re left with more questions and mysteries than answers. Still, artists and media moved forward, and the focus has temporarily shifted back to the music and the awards.

Here are 11 takeaways from VIBE that capture the essence of key wins (and snubs) at the Grammy Awards.

Continue Reading
The late Nipsey Hussle and Kobe Bryant are projected onto a screen while YG, John Legend, Kirk Franklin, DJ Khaled, Meek Mill, and Roddy Ricch perform onstage during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Nipsey Hussle Honored By DJ Khaled, John Legend And More At 2020 Grammys

Hours after Nipsey Hussle was posthumously awarded with his first Grammy, the awards ceremony honored him with a heartfelt performance by an all-star roster of John Legend, DJ Khaled, Meek Mill, Roddy Rich, Kirk Franklin and YG.

Meek Mill began the performance with an emotive, unreleased verse that served as a letter to Nipsey, with Roddy Ricch singing a chorus. [Update: The song, "Letter To Nipsey," was released to streaming services later that night.] That led into a rousing performance of "Higher," the song that appeared on DJ Khaled's album Father of Asahd.  John Legend played the piano and sang the chorus while backed by a choir, which was directed by an energetic, adlibbing Kirk Franklin, as a video of Nipsey rapping played on a big screen. YG joined the stage in a red suit, speaking to the gang unity between Crips and Bloods that Nipsey endorsed with his music and his life. The performance ended with an image of Los Angeles legends Nipsey Hussle and and the recently deceased Kobe Bryant, with Khaled paying tribute to them both.

Nipsey Hussle's debut studio album, Victory Lap (2018) came after an epic mixtape  earned him a nomination for Best Rap Album at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards. He died on March 31, 2019, after being gunned down on in the parking lot of his Marathon Clothing store in Los Angeles. The music and business worlds reeled from his loss, with his rap career on the upswing and his work as a businessman and community leader inspiring many.

Before Sunday's (Jan. 26) ceremony, Nipsey Hussle was awarded a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance for "Racks In The Middle," the last single that he released in his lifetime. The song features a guest appearance by Roddy Ricch, and is produced by Hit-Boy.

Continue Reading

Top Stories