American hip hop artiste Bobby Ray Simmons Jr. aka B.o.B was in town last week for the “Watsons Music Festival” at Stadium Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur. We “caught” him right after his sound check and we grilled him with (nice) questions. After all, it’s not every day that we get to meet B.o.B, right?
Here’s what went down:
Hi B.o.B! Welcome back to Malaysia!
“Hi! It’s good to be back. This is my second time in Malaysia but my first time in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is a beautiful country, it’s a lovely city.”
Pray tell, what are some of the most common misconceptions about hip hop artistes and rappers?
“I think..some of the most common misconceptions are centered around what our lyrics suggest. You know, for some reason, our awareness and our intelligence are based on our lyrics but the fact is, our lyrics are basically us having fun. Lyrics and music should be taken for what it’s worth – as music. Anything beyond that is up to the listener.”
Yes that is true – but in a lot of hip hop artistes’ and rappers’ music videos, it always seems like the artistes or rappers are always ballin’ and surrounded by beautiful women..
“Rappers..we write the story (lyrics) of the life we want to live. I mean, sometimes, it does get monotonous. I don’t always want to party, I don’t always want to go to the club, I don’t always want to go to strip clubs. It’s just about balance. Sometimes, I wanna make a song that people can just play in a club and girls can just dance to. But other times, I wanna make something with really..extremely thought-provoking lyrics. It’s really just about feeling free to do whatever because you know, I’m just as human as everybody else. I have the same instincts at heart that everybody does – it’s just about translating it into music to make people feel better.”
What is currently on our playlist? Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?
“(laughs) My playlist is filled with everything from 2 Chainz to Snow Patrol, to Foo Fighters, to..Psy oppa (laughs). It’s everything! You know, it’s just about what’s entertaining and me being me, it’s about being able to appreciate. To appreciate the artistic value in everything.”
Even Psy! Okay, guilty pleasures aside, let’s talk about something less..uh, embarrassing. What has been your proudest moment in your career so far?
“Hmm. My proudest moment was when I released my first album, ‘The Adventures of Bobby Ray’. When I was a kid, releasing an album was a dream that seemed extremely distant, you know? But I was relentless so when I finally released it, it felt surreal. That has to be my proudest moment. Ever. So, the first thing that I got after I received my first big paycheck was..I got myself a studio. And I got myself a house.”
Alright last one for the road, although it should’ve been our first question. Nevertheless, tell us, is there a reason why you are B (full stop) o (full stop) B?
“(laughs) I like how you say full stop! My name is actually Bobby Ray Simmons Jr. See, when I was a kid, I couldn’t have a nickname. My name is literally unnickname-able. I didn’t wanna go by “Jr”, I didn’t wanna go by “BJ”, I didn’t wanna go by “BS” – there were just no nicknames for me! One day I was outside a club (at that time, I was going by ‘B’) and another local artiste in Atlanta was like, yo, B.o.B what’s up? And it clicked so I rolled with it. That was in..2006 or 2007.”
That’s legit. B.o.B works! Thank you for speaking to us, B.o.B and might we add, that “Watsons Music Festival” gig of yours was awesome. We’re so glad we got to see you perform live! Also, thanks to our friends from Warner Music Malaysia for making this interview happen.
B.o.B’s latest album, “Strange Clouds” is available at a music store near you now. Go get!
For more information, visit B.o.B’s official website.