Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr. (born November 15, 1988), better known by his stage name B.o.B, is an American hip hop recording artist, singer-songwriter and record producer from Decatur, Georgia. He is currently signed under the labels of Grand Hustle Records, Rebel Rock Entertainment, and Atlantic Records. He quickly rose to fame after his debut single "Nothin' on You", reached number one in both the United States and the United Kingdom. His second single, "Airplanes", which also peaked at number one in the United Kingdom and at number two in the United States, respectively, only made him more of a celebrity. B.o.B's third single, "Magic", became his third consecutive top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100. B.o.B was named the ninth Hottest MC in the Game of 2010 by MTV. Preceded by two extended plays and several mixtapes, his debut studio album, B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray was released on April 27, 2010, reaching number one on the US charts and eventually being certified Gold by the RIAA. He released his second studio album, Strange Clouds, on May 1, 2012. He is set to release a collaborative album with Grand Hustle label boss T.I. and a rock music EP in the near future. Biography edit: 1988-2006: Early life and career beginnings edit: Simmons was born on November 15, 1988 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He played the trumpet in his school band from elementary school through high school. Although his parents wanted him to continue his education, Simmons decided in sixth grade that he wanted to pursue a music career. His father, a pastor, disapproved of his son's choices until he realized that Simmons was using music as a form of therapy and a creative outlet. Simmons later reflected on his experience, saying, "They've always supported me. They got my first keyboard to make beats on and they helped me out getting equipment here and there. But it was kind of hard for them to really understand what I was really trying to accomplish." B.o.B attended Columbia High School in Decatur, Georgia. After meeting his mentor and co-manager, B. Rich, in 2002 at 14 years of age, B.o.B sold his first beat to former Slip-n-Slide recording artist Citti for a song titled "I'm the Cookie Man". Meanwhile B.o.B felt he had made it: "I went and blew all of my money on fast stuff like a chain and ballin'. Soon I was broke again, but I learned two important things from it; make sure I save my money and that I was hooked on music." Back to square one, B.o.B continued performing at open mics and underground venues to perfect his craft. In 2006, because he was underage, B. Rich helped sneak B.o.B into Club Crucial, a night club owned by Atlanta rapper T.I.. There, B.o.B performed a song titled "Cloud 9", a self -produced, spoken word-like ode to marijuana. In attendance was producer and industry veteran, T.J. Chapman, CEO of TJ's DJ's. TJ Chapman agreed to co-manage B.o.B, which only a month later led to B.o.B's signing with Atlantic Records and subsidiary imprint Rebel Rock, run by Florida producer Jim Jonsin. His first single for Atlantic, 2007's "Haterz Everywhere", reached the top five of Billboard's Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop singles chart. Along with his solo production career, B.o.B is part of a production/rap group called HamSquad, along with Playboy Tre, TJ Chapman, and B. Rich. 2007-2008: Rise to fame and mixtapes edit: B.o.B first began to gain major recognition at the start of 2007. The underground single, "Haterz Everywhere", featuring Wes Fif, gained the rapper recognition and peaked at #5 on the U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles. A remix featuring Rich Boy was included in the video game Fight Night Round 4, and a music video was later released for that version. Another single, "I'll Be in the Sky", was released in late 2008 reached #115 on the follow chart. About.com called the song a "smart, funky artrap and a strong prelude to his album" and included it at #13 on its subjective ranking "Top 100 Rap Songs of 2008". Incidentally, another song produced by Bobby Ray called "Generation Lost" listed alongside the song on the ranking at #32. This was followed by another single called "Don't Let Me Fall" which was more of an R&B song than the usual rap. He was also featured on T.I.'s album Paper Trail on the song "On Top of the World". The same year, he appeared on the cover of XXL magazine along with Asher Roth, Charles Hamilton, and Wale as "Hip-Hop's Class of '09". In October 2008, B.o.B was featured on the cover of Vibe along with some of these same young musicians and was similarly identified as promising young talent. He has described his influences as "80's music, techno, rock, funk, even doo-wop...". B.o.B has also worked with artists such as British rapper Giggs. From 2007 to 2008 B.o.B released four mixtapes; The Future (2007), Cloud 9 (2007), Hi! My Name is B.o.B (2008) Who the F#*k is B.o.B? (2008) and two extended plays; Eastside (2007),12th Dimension (2008). 2009-2010: Mainstream success and The Adventures of Bobby Ray edit: In late 2008, it was revealed B.o.B was included in XXL's 2009 annual Freshman Class, and was featured on the cover alongside fellow up-and-coming rappers Asher Roth, Wale, Kid Cudi, Charles Hamilton, Cory Gunz, Blu, Mickey Factz, Ace Hood and Curren$y. In February 2009, B.o.B crafted an original song, titled "Auto-Tune", for Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned. On May 16, 2009, B.o.B released a cover of Manu Chao's "Mr. Bobby" and revealed he wanted to be known mononymously as Bobby Ray while also claiming he was taking his music in a "new direction": "Now I go by the name Bobby Ray. Make sure you put Bobby Ray. I'm really going into a new direction - more free and not trying to live up to any particular genre. I don't feel like I've been doing that. I don't feel like I've been trying to fit in, but I feel even more free-spirited. I have more willingness musically. That's all I'm about. I'm about guitars, chords and keyboards". On June 22, 2009, B.o.B released his fifth mixtape, appropriately titled B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray. The mixtape, reminiscent of T.I.'s T.I. vs. T.I.P. (2007), was mainly produced by Fury and B.o.B. The mixtape also included a song produced by Red Spyda, titled "Fly Like Me" and another titled "Put Me On" which is a remix to A Tribe Called Quest's 1990 hit, "Bonita Applebum". Reebok used "Put Me On" in celebration of the Reebok Classic Remix collection. The track is available for download exclusively to customers who purchase styles from the Reebok Classic Remix collection, at Foot Locker stores nationwide. During the summer of 2009, B.o.B joined fellow up-and-coming rappers Kid Cudi and Asher Roth for 'The Great Hangover' concert tour. On January 13, 2010, B.o.B announced his debut studio album, tentatively titled The Adventures of Bobby Ray, was expected to be released on May 25, 2010. To promote the album, B.o.B announced a mixtape titled May 25, in reference to his album's release date.May 25 was released on February 1, 2010, to critical acclaim. The mixtape features guest appearances from J. Cole, Asher Roth, Playboy Tre, Charles Hamilton and Bruno Mars. The latter of whom was featured on the bonus track and B.o.B's debut single, "Nothin' on You". Due to the commercial success of his mixtape May 25 and his single "Nothin' on You", the release date of his debut album was advanced to April 27, 2010. Three other singles followed: "Don't Let Me Fall" (released April 6, 2010), "Airplanes" (April 13, 2010; featuring Hayley Williams), and "Bet I" (April 20, 2010; featuring T.I. and Playboy Tre). A video for "Bet I" was released on Atlantic Videos on YouTube. B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray was released under Atlantic and T.I.'s Grand Hustle imprint, featuring guest appearances from Lupe Fiasco, T.I., Playboy Tre, Hayley Williams, Rivers Cuomo, Ricco Barrino, Janelle Monáe and Bruno Mars. The album, released April 27, 2010, was given generally positive reviews. His album sold 84,000 copies in the first week and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It made B.o.B the thirteenth solo male artist to have a debut album arrive at No. 1 in its first week. In July, B.o.B announced he will go on tour, naming it The SHOOTiN for Stars Tour. The dates and times were released on his website on July 13. B.o.B has received nominations for his album, singles, and himself by the BET Awards, Teen Choice Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, and the new Suckerfree Summit. "Airplanes" was featured in the trailer for the upcoming movie Charlie St. Cloud and his single "Magic" featured him in an advertisement for Adidas' "Magic" campaign. B.o.B was announced to be a performer at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards on August 18. He was added to the line-up of Eminem, Linkin Park, Kanye West, Drake, Usher, Paramore, Florence and the Machine, and Justin Bieber. On August 14, 2010, Hayley Williams announced via the Official Paramore Fan Club that B.o.B would be the main support for Paramore's November U.K. Tour. B.o.B also opened for Eminem and Jay-Z's The Home & Home Tour at Comerica Park. B.o.B also did a MTV Unplugged session. He performed songs off his debut album, as well as a cover of "Kids" by MGMT, with guests Robin Thicke, Melanie Fiona, and Janelle Monae. B.o.B also made an appearance in Lollapalooza 2010. B.o.B. made an appearance at the 2010 MTV VMA's on September 12, 2010. He performed parts of both his singles, "Nothin' on You" with Bruno Mars and "Airplanes" with Hayley Williams. B.o.B. released his seventh mixtape, titled No Genre, on December 7, 2010. B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray was certified Gold by the RIAA on December 16, 2010. B.o.B was named "Best New Artist" by iTunes 2010 Rewind Chart. 2011-present: Strange Clouds and The Man and the Martian edit: Jessie J released a single featuring B.o.B, titled "Price Tag," on January 30, 2011. The song was quick to reach number one in the United Kingdom charts selling 84,000 copies in its first week of sales. On March 22, 2011, Electronic Arts released the Launch Trailer for the upcoming first-person-shooter Crysis 2 which featured a song by B.o.B. titled "New York New York" containing the main piano chorus from the song "Theme from New York, New York" commonly sung by Frank Sinatra; the artist who sang the chorus is unconfirmed. The full song later appeared on his eighth mixtape E.P.I.C. (Every Play Is Crucial), which revealed that the song was produced by Mike Caren. In early 2011, Odd Future's Tyler, the Creator released a song titled "Yonkers". In the song Tyler raps (What you think of Hayley Williams?) Fuck her, Wolf Haley robbing 'em / I'll crash that fucking airplane that that faggot nigga B.o.B is in / And stab Bruno Mars in his goddamn esophagus / And won't stop until the cops come in. In response, on March 25, B.o.B released "No Future" a song in which he takes aim at the hip hop collective and their leader. In June 2011, it was revealed that B.o.B was featured and produced a song on Tech N9ne's twelfth studio album, All 6's and 7's. The track, titled "Am I a Psycho?" features rapper Hopsin as well, who also seems to have issues with Tyler, the Creator. B.o.B also appeared on the official remix to Kesha's hit single "Blow". The remix was released to iTunes on May 17, 2011. In the summer of 2011 B.o.B was announced the new face of T.I.'s clothing line A.K.O.O. He will be featured in AKOO Clothing's upcoming fall 2011 national advertising campaign alongside Curtis Granderson of the New York Yankees, Carl Crawford of the Boston Red Sox, and star of the BET hit sitcom, The Game, Hosea Chanchez. He will be appearing in a graphic novel for A.K.O.O titled Hide In Plain Sight - Saving the World From Fashion Conspiracy. On August 27, 2011, a video appeared on YouTube of B.o.B performing at Colorado State University, where he previewed a song titled "Strange Clouds" and announced it features Lil Wayne. In an interview with Syracuse University's The Daily Orange, B.o.B spoke of his second studio album for the first time. He went on to say "It's a more mature sound but nothing too experimental. It's a happy medium between the sound of B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray and the mixtapes, so everyone should be able to enjoy it. I'd say I'm 90 percent done with it right now, but the album title is still TBA." On September 23, 2011, B.o.B released a trailer, through his website, for the upcoming single "Strange Clouds". The trailer announced the single will be officially released October 3. The single leaked prior to the release date on September 25, causing the single to be released on iTunes on September 27. Later that day B.o.B appeared on an online video stream on radio station V103 and announced the title of the album to also be Strange Clouds and was set to be released in early Spring of 2012. Bobby Ray held the first listening session for his album Strange Clouds at Tree Sound Studios on October 25, 2011. Seven new songs were previewed during the listening session, including the promotional single "Play the Guitar" which features André 3000. Other big guest appearances confirmed, as the album was not fully complete, include Lil Wayne, Big K.R.I.T., Nelly and a song with T.I. titled "Arena". In addition he has worked with OneRepublic on a song and has been quoted as having: "the song of 2012 with a mega feature from somebody who never does features with anyone!". On November 15, 2011, B.o.B revealed he will be releasing a mixtape titled E.P.I.C. (Every Play Is Crucial) prior to the album's release. The mixtape was released on November 28, 2011, featuring guest appearances from Eminem, Mos Def, Roscoe Dash, Meek Mill, and Bun B amongst others and included production from Ryan Tedder to Lil C and Jim Jonsin. While on set for the "Strange Clouds" music video, MTV interviewed B.o.B and confronted him of a rumor that he and T.I. are working on a collaborative album, B.o.B responded: "The joint album, it actually started as a joke. Tip would always refer to me as 'the Martian', and in one of his lyrics, he said, 'It's the man and the Martian,' and we said, 'Man that could be an album title.' We kinda just played around with it. But it seems to be taking form in a very organic way." On December 1, 2011 B.o.B appeared on New York City's Hot 97 radio station and confirmed that he and T.I. are indeed working on a collaborative album titled The Man & The Martian. On December 22, 2011, B.o.B released a snippet of "Play the Guitar", a promotional single, featuring André 3000 and a sample of "Fancy" as performed by Drake, T.I. and Swizz Beatz. "Play the Guitar" was later released to digital retailers on December 27, 2011. On February 14, 2012, B.o.B released a trailer for the second official single, "So Good". The song, produced by Ryan Tedder, was released on February 21. In 2012 in an interview with PopCush, B.o.B expressed his desire to work with Kid Cudi, James Blake and Skrillex: "I would also like to work with James Blake. That'd be crazy. I think me, James Blake and Kid Cudi should do a song and it should be produced by Skrillex. I think the sky would fall if we did that song and the sky would come down to Earth and party with us.". On March 20, 2012, B.o.B released the second promotional single from Strange Clouds titled "Where Are You (B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray)". "So Hard to Breathe" was released as the third promotional single on April 17, 2012. B.o.B appeared on Haley Reinhart's debut studio album Listen Up! on the intro track "Oh My". Strange Clouds, B.o.B's second studio album, was released May 1, 2012, to critical acclaim. The album debuted at No. 5, on the US Billboard 200, with 76,000 copies sold the first week. "Both of Us" serves as the album's third single and was sent to Top 40 Mainstream radio on May 22, 2012. The song features American country-singer Taylor Swift. It debuted on Australia Top 50 singles chart at #46. The song sold 143,000 copies first week, along with the album release, debuting at 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became the week's top debut. 2012-present: Third album and rock EP edit: On October 9, 2012, B.o.B was featured on the annual BET Hip Hop Awards cypher, alongside his Grand Hustle label-mates Iggy Azalea, T.I., Chip and Trae tha Truth. On November 15, 2012, B.o.B released his ninth mixtape, entitled Fuck 'Em We Ball. The mixtape features guest appearances from T.I., Juicy J, Mac Miller, Playboy Tre, Snoop Lion, Spodee and Iggy Azalea, with much of the production coming from B.o.B himself. The mixtape also spawned a single, with the release of the club banger, "We Still in This Bitch". In early December, B.o.B revealed to MTV plans to release a rock music-influenced extended play: "I've been holding back so much rock for so long. I have been performing with my band for a while, so I guess this is a real good canvas for me to paint on. No one's really expecting anything so I can do what I want to do." He also spoke lightly on his third studio album as well: "My album is basically a continuation of The Adventures of Bobby Ray and Strange Clouds. I feel like it kinda bridges the gap between where all my fans are and finally getting everybody up to speed on what my sound is and exactly where I'm going." While filming the video for "Memories Back Then", in an interview with Rap-Up, B.o.B spoke on a series of projects including his third album, a rock EP, and the Hustle Gang compilation. Rap-Up TV caught up with Bobby Ray, where he stated his rock EP is in the works and will reflect his diverse influences: "When I drop it, everyone's gonna have an eargasm. It's really how I fell in love with rock music, from indie to alternative to classic rock to even some forms of country music." He also spoke on another project he's excited about, the Hustle Gang compilation, which according to B.o.B, is producing explosive results: "We dropping torpedoes, missiles, atomic bombs," he said. "There's no pressure and there's no expectation for what it should be. It's just a bunch of dope artists coming together and doing what we naturally do." But his first order of business is his third album, which is nearing completion: "This project is a lot more effortless than anything because I've really shown the full spectrum of what I can do musically, so now I'm just having fun with it. I'm 24 years old, so I'm partying." On April 4, 2013 B.o.B revealed he would release his third studio album before the rock EP.