Bob Simmons' given rap name, B.O.B., is an acronym for many things, from "Business Over Bullshit" to "Bring One Blunt" and "[I like] Big Ol' Booties." Its ornery uses should be expected from someone whose current single, "Haterz Everywhere," is played incessantly on local urban-radio stations. But it takes a deep listen to his music before you realize that he's capable of reaching beyond the hip-hop-and-R&B faithful.
The Decatur rapper's latest mix CD with co-host Bigga Rankin, The Future of Hip-Hop Mixtape, opens with "Haterz," a standard braggadocio bounce track with an annoying chorus. He freestyles over R&B singer Ray Lavender's noxious "My Girl's Gotta Girlfriend," adding the verse, "I feel like I'm in one of them Doublemint commercials."
Then, out of the blue, he samples Sam Cooke's "Only Sixteen" over a hand-clap rhythm reminiscent of OutKast's "The Whole World," and sing-raps about an underage girl he accidentally slept with. (It sounds more charming than it reads.) On "Cloud 9," he rhymes about weed in a loopy, bleedy-eyed ballad that recalls Devin the Dude.
"I try to do music that's different," says B.O.B., who cites Gorillaz and Foo Fighters as influences. He's only 18, which might explain the aggressively sexual tone of his music. But he's also undeniably creative.
Miami producer Jim Jonsin (best known for Trick Daddy's "Let's Go") discovered B.O.B. performing at Club Crucial in 2006. Jonsin signed the teenage rapper to his RebelRock imprint, and then got him a deal with Atlantic Records. By last fall, B.O.B. had dropped out of Columbia High School in his senior year to concentrate on his career; he's now studying for an equivalency diploma.
B.O.B. is working on his major-label debut, The Adventures of B.O.B., and says making music that people will like can be a challenge. His songs tend to grow on you; even "Haterz Everywhere" will reverberate in your head long after you've heard it.
"They had to get used to 'Haterz,'" says B.O.B. of the Atlanta urban-radio listeners who have probably heard it countless times. "If they can get accustomed to that, then it definitely sets them up and prepared for what I'm about to bring."
To hear a song from B.O.B., click here.