Sometimes it pays to be different. Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, a city known for its outcasts, B.o.B is truly out of the ordinary. At just 19 years old, the rapper - born Bobby Ray Simmons - has become a breath of fresh air in Atlanta’s snap and trap-obsessed scene. Known primarily for his heavy smokers anthem, “Cloud 9,” and the frenetic energy of his song “Haterz Everywhere,” B.o.B scored a record deal with Atlantic Records while he was still in high school. Now, the teen-aged rap phenomenon is ready to bring his genre-bending style nationwide with his highly anticipated debut, The Adventures of B.o.B.
B.o.B made the decision very early in his young life to pursue a career in hip-hop. He started rapping at the age of 13 after studying classic albums from DMX and Eminem. With the encouragement of his older brother, B.o.B started feverishly writing down anything and everything. "At the time, Joe Budden was poppin' and my brother told me when Joe was 15 he used to fill up notebooks with rhymes," says B.o.B "That lit off a light bulb for me and I was like damn, I need to do more than that. Then from seventh grade up to tenth grade, I just started filling up notebooks with lyrics. Then it got to the point where I was just writing them in my head."
While still in junior high school, B.o.B formed a group with his cousin Swag, called The Klinic. The two young MCs were able to buy a simple studio set-up that included the beat-making program Fruity Loops. They quickly started crafting their own songs and performing at open mics around Atlanta. Their manager, B Rich, introduced them to a local ATL rapper named Playboy Tre of the Georgia Durt camp, and he taught the young'ns how to use his professional studio.
The Klinic continued to collaborate until their senior year of high school in 2006, when B.o.B's cousin decided to leave home in order to attend college. Faced with a tough decision, B.o.B chose to continue rapping, this time as a solo artist. "I called my manager and was like, 'I think I'm just going to start working at the mall for a little while and get some money so I can really start pursuing music like I want to,'" he remembers. "Him and Playboy Tre came by my house and were like, 'Look man, we can get you a deal within a year, don't give up!'"
In mid-September of '06, just two weeks after going solo, B.o.B performed at Club Crucial, where TJ Chapman, founder of the national DJ conference TJ's DJ's, was in attendance. After hearing the rap rookie perform "Cloud 9," TJ was convinced he was in the presence of a star. "That was the first time I performed 'Cloud 9' and I got a standing ovation," says B.o.B "TJ Chapman was amazed. He linked up with B Rich, who let him hear my music, and TJ wanted to be involved in the team."