It’s fitting that Decatur, Ga.’s Bobby Ray Simmons – better known as
The album had already developed such a buzz that its release was pushed up a month to April and debuted at No. 1. It spawned a hit single in “Airplanes,” on which he duets with Paramore’s Hayley Williams, earning five MTV Video Music Awards nominations and a coveted televised performance slot.
B.o.B. and Bobby Ray could be thought of as alter egos for two completely different performers. One is a lyricist and rapper, while the other sings and plays several instruments including guitar, drums, piano, trumpet and French horn.
Fast forward to Sept. 30 and B.o.B. was performing for President Barack Obama at Washington, D.C.’s Constitution Hall at the kick-off event for the Democratic National Committee-sponsored Gen44 summit. It’s been a whale of a ride.
He signed with T.I.’s Atlantic Records imprint, Grand Hustle, in 2008 and caught the attention of music execs with a buzzed-about showcase at South By Southwest in Austin the next year.
Today, he’s repped by the inimitable Cara Lewis at William Morris Endeavor and has just embarked on a whirlwind October tour of mostly universities and theatres. But expect him to make the leap to larger venues soon.
Album debuted at No. 1 on Nielsen SoundScan May 2 album chart with more than 84,000 units sold, and to date has sold more than 400,000.
The official YouTube site of B.o.B.’s “Airplanes” video has racked up more than 62 million views.