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Despite what new fans might think, Bobby Ray Simmons is far from an overnight celebrity. In fact, it’s been nearly a year since B.o.B. joined Asher Roth, KiD CuDi and Pac Div on the Great Hangover Tour. It’s been two years since he graced the cover of your favorite rapper’s favorite magazine, long before most people even knew who he was.

wanted to retire. Did you get to the point that you wanted to quit? Nah, that was just a rumor that escalated. Something happened…sometimes stuff gets crazy, so there was a rumor that I quit and it just escalated from there.

It’s been roughly three years since his underground hit “Haterz” made its way onto radio station playlists and into nightclubs throughout the Southeast. And it’s been almost four years since this Atlanta, GA rapper/producer signed a major label deal with Rebel Rock/ Atlantic Records at the tender age of 17.

After that rumor, you came back as Bobby Ray. What was the reason behind the name change? I just wanted to use my real government name, cause I wanted people to know me. I wanted to make the music that I made and the music I wanted people to know me by. Basically, it’s like unveiling a mask, that [was] really the unveiling. I’m B.o.B., but Bobby Ray is the guy behind it.

Yes, it may seem to some that B.o.B., due to the success of his now platinum charttopping single “Nothing On You,” came out of nowhere, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Bobby Ray spent the last four years of his life working and preparing for the release of his long-awaited debut album, B.o.B. Presents The Adventures of Bobby Ray.

It’s seemed like there was a change in the style of music that you made, too. Was that part of the process when you unveiled yourself as Bobby Ray? You can call me B.o.B., but just know that my name’s Bobby Ray. But it doesn’t matter anyway; the main thing that matters is the music. That’s the thing that brings it all together.

Just weeks before his album hits stores, and while touring with his Atlantic labelmate Lupe Fiasco, B.o.B. took a few moments out from his busy schedule to fill OZONE in on everything that has transpired since his cover story.

It seems like your music now involves playing the guitar and singing more. Is that the direction you wanted your music to go in from the beginning, as opposed to rapping? Nah, not really. I always loved rapping. But it’s kinda like it had to balance out...

It’s been two years since you were on the cover of OZONE. What’s been going on since then? Since that cover, I thought my album was gonna be out, but it didn’t come out. Then I went through a period where it was really frustrating for me; just trying to get everything organized and get everything right with the label and my album. It seems like it took a decline and just went up from there. I’ve just been working and trying to make the moment relevant.

The rest of this interview is featured in the upcoming Issue #84 of OZONE Magazine:

Some people heard your single “Nothing On You” and thought you blew up overnight. A lot of people don’t understand that you’ve been signed for almost four years. How do you feel when people say you came out of nowhere? That’s just silly. A real B.o.B. fan knows I’ve been doing this for a minute. That’s something that I’m not even worried about, but people can perceive it as an overnight success. During that period when your album didn’t come out, there was a rumor that you OZONE MAG // A-21

Profile for Ozone Magazine Inc

Memorial Day 2010 special edition side A - Brisco cover  

Memorial Day 2010 special edition

Memorial Day 2010 special edition side A - Brisco cover  

Memorial Day 2010 special edition

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