B.o.B performs at Billboard’s Winterfest at Park City Live on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 in Park City, Utah.
Todd Williamson/Invision for Billboard/AP Images
B.o.B. says that if he had to, he could release his fourth album “right now, but I don’t feel like there’s a need to.” Nevertheless, he’s hoping for “a late spring, summer album” to follow up 2013’s Underground Luxury, and he’s promising another different sound this time around.
“This album, for me, is just a lot more vulnerable where I’m coming from,” B.o.B. tells Billboard. “I feel like it’s a more organic place. I think a lot of the success I experienced in the past four, five years had to really soak in and set in for me. Now I feel like I’m at a place where I have a blank canvas. The music comes from a real place, so whatever type of music you make…If you want to make party music, you got to party. If you want to make rock music, you got to play the guitar. I kinda goes hand in hand with whatever you’re making. That’s the kind of space I’m in.”
B.o.B. — who between albums has released four mixtapes, including November’s provocative New Black and his recent compilation No Genre: The Label — says the new album includes features from Lil Wayne and T.I. for some of the set’s “real special songs. I like to only call in those big favors when there’s something special, so hopefully everyone else will agree.” This time out he’s handling most of the production himself, which has been the trend since his chart-topping 2010 debut B.O.B. Presents The Adventures of Bobby Ray. “Since my first album I’ve been doing more and more production,” he says. “I did a good bit of production on the first album, but now, man, I’m just really sinking into my sound and what I want to do, how I want to sound like, how I want the songs to move.”
And while he does term the album “done,” B.o.B. says he’s keeping himself open for some key late arrivals to add to what he already has stockpiled. “The best songs always come up at the end,” he explains. “Once you feel like you have your album done and you can relax, then all of a sudden the best songs start rolling in ’cause music comes from an effortless place. On The Adventures of Bobby Ray, ‘Don’t Let Me Fall’ was the last song I recorded, so you’ve got to stay open to those possibilities.”
In addition to his own new work, B.o.B. is also focusing on his No Genre stable, including a new release by Jake Lambo. “Working with new artists and new producers, it’s like a whole new breath of fresh air, a whole new energy,” B.o.B. says. “I’m all about growth, really giving artists the time to discover themselves as well as being discovered, ’cause there’s so much that goes into being an artist and just living it, and I just want to make sure I do everything in my part to nurture any artist on my label as well as give them the opportunity to be themselves or be as big or different or unique, or as gangsta or nerdy as they can be. However they want to be, they’ve got that opportunity. To watch the artists do their first record, their first video shoot, it’s dope.”