B.o.B. is a legend in his own right, with a long catalog of hits that instantly bring you back to that time and place. With the viral success of “HeadBand” featuring 2 Chainz, “Nothin’ On You” featuring Bruno Mars,” “Airplanes” featuring Hayley Williams, “Magic,” and pretty much his entire Greatest Hits album, the Atlanta native would go on to tour and shut down stages in every part of the globe.
Fast forward to 2020, the Grammy-nominated rapper is now gearing up to release his new album titled Somnia, with singles “Slizzy Sity” and “After Hourzzz” produced by superproducer Tay Keith. The project was created with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind, giving the masses something lighthearted, fun, and sensual as we’re all stuck quarantined inside our homes.
Baller Alert caught up with B.o.B. during his visit to Los Angeles to discuss his short vegan stint, inspo behind the new music, conspiracy theories, and the 10-year anniversary of Adventures of Bobby Ray.
You were vegan for a little bit, how’d that go?
I had a little vegan phase. I was on a Dr. Sebi diet, lost a shit load of weight. Alkaline vegan is extreme; I did that for about 6 months and started getting lean. [laughs] I definitely had a lot of energy, I couldn’t really drink. When you squeeze the sponge out… you know?
Why’d you stop after 6 months?
Food is too good. I felt like alright, that was an accomplishment. I went vegan, I know I can do it. I did a water fast. First of all, don’t fuck yourself up out here doing a water fast. You’re supposed to do juice. I needed to cleanse. About 3 days, I drank just water. That shit almost killed me, bro. You gotta be taking magnesium, so I learned the hard way.
“Slizzy Sity” out now! Who or what inspired this record?
“Slizzy Sity” is for all the slizzters out there. A slizzter is somebody who get slizz, it’s after-hours. The whole album sound is afterhours album. Quarantine really moved a lot of the bullshit out of our lives for room for the fuckery. [laughs] I live in Atlanta, so everybody’s trying to have fun now. Life’s about balance. The more bullshit we deal with, the harder we’re going in the fun department.
This is your first record in how long?
This is my first record where it’s something for everybody. I’ve been through so much; I started out doing mixtapes in the underground. I’ve been in the game so long that motherfuckers don’t know where I’m from, how deep it goes. Having pop success with “Nothin’ On You” and “Airplanes,” motherfuckers didn’t even know I was a whole underground mixtape artist back back before shit was streaming. N*ggas used to really download mixtapes. “Still In This Bitch,” “HeadBand,” “Up Down” with T-Pain, “Paranoid” Ty Dolla $ign, I’ve been through so many different musical sub-eras. Even with my Elements tapes, I did all my woke tapes. This is the first project that’s something you can throw on, it’s fun.
Was it made during quarantine?
Yes. I had a whole album before this, but the vibes are different when you’re around people. It’s a vibey album, I haven’t made a concept album like this in a while. Straight after-hours. I call it Somnia because everybody has insomnia. Everybody stays up late, at the after-hours spots. Somnia is the opposite of that. You don’t have all the anxiety or shit that keeps you up at night, now you’re relaxed. It’s not about sleep, it’s about the balance: the peace, the fun side of life.
Best memory from that video shoot?
Couldn’t do too much twerking, they couldn’t buss it all the way. We had to keep it sexy and sensual; we had to keep it silky. Had to keep the sheets. [laughs] Really, the inspiration was: if you follow Boosie on IG, he got that big ass bed. We needed to make a big ass bed, something fun.
What inspired “After Hourzzz,” with 3 z’s?
People want to catch z’s. When you have insomnia, you want to catch z’s.
How was working with Tay Keith?
Tay Keith that n*gga. Tay Keith’s dope, he’s really talented, dude. We were social distancing, so I had to get that sent to me.
Your biggest song was a collab with a rockstar, “Airplanes.” Fondest memories from those days?
Being on tour with 11 people on stage. I used to have a DJ, a drummer, a guitarist, a bass, keys, 3 backup singers, 2 dancers. Around that time, 2010/2011, I had the best band in the music industry. Hands down, we were so tight. All 3 of my singers got trained how to sing and dance at the same time. Three of them, you know how hard it is to get a female R&B group to sing and dance? I had background singers singing and dancing; we’re lit. I never saw anybody doing that. You had to see Parliament or George Clinton to see shit at that caliber; we worked hard as fuck.
Was every night a party?
Yes, quarantine makes me miss it more. You know how hard every artist is going to go on the road once things kick up? That shit’s finna be stupid. I’m finna be gone for 24 months, two years on the road.
Are you sad you can’t tour this album?
I can tour in Atlanta. [laughs] Living in Atlanta makes you feel like, “oh shit, we almost through this shit.” When I came out here, damn this shit just hit out here. They’re doing parking lot concerts. I like the mosh, though; I like the mosh pit.
Is there a song you’re sick of performing?
I don’t like performing songs that the crowd don’t know. In the beginning, I had to do hour and a half shows. Australia and Japan doing hour-long sets. Ten years later, I don’t have that problem.
What’s the premise of the Bobcast Podcast?
This isn’t state-run TV; we do what we want. We say what we want. This is straight anarchy, say whatever the fuck you feel like.
Who are some of your favorite guests so far?
We had a female dominatrix on the show. I learned some shit; I didn’t know about FinDom and what all that was. I’m like, oh shit. I mean, girls have to get that bag. Kicking ass, getting the bag.
Why do you follow nobody?
You know, I’m the type of dude… I like to see what I see on the Explore tab.
Any new conspiracy theories on your radar?
Nah, man, life is short. Fuck it, do what you want. Be on the lookout for the Somnia album, September 11th. We got new music. Check out the Bobcast to see what I’ve been up to!