Happy birthday to Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr., known better as dynamic genre-hopping rapper B.o.B. Even at the tender age of 22, B.o.B has already racked up an incredible body of work for himself, smoothly making the transition from underground mixtape favorite to chart-topping mainstream dynamo. His easy charisma and versatile flow have not only made him a player in the hip-hop world but also a crossover star in the pop and rock universes as well.
B.o.B grew up in Atlanta and quickly gained a reputation as a top-shelf rhymer in the local rap community. After a series of EPs and jaw-dropping guest appearances, he started to pick up mainstream buzz in 2009 (he was featured on the cover of Vibe magazine’s “Class of ’09″ issue along with fellow up-and-comers Wale, Charles Hamilton and Asher Roth). He dropped his debut album B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray in April of 2010 after storming the charts with the record’s first single “Nothin’ on You” (which topped the Billboard Hot 100 the same week the album dropped; “Nothin’ on You” also turned featured performer Bruno Mars into an instant star).
Since then, he has been steadily rising, finding an extra special niche with the alternative rock crowd due to collaborations with Paramore‘s Hayley Williams (“Airplanes”) and Weezer‘s Rivers Cuomo (“Magic”). He performed a star-making set at Lollapalooza and later brought the house down at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards (which not only featured the first performance of “Airplanes” but also the first meeting between himself and Williams). Recently, B.o.B recorded an excellent episode of “MTV Unplugged” that featured a stirring acoustic rendition of “Airplanes” with Melanie Fiona standing in for Williams.