B.o.B has been busy all year preparing the release of his new album Underground Luxury and now it’s finally available for all of our listening pleasure. The Hustle Gang rapper let us know that his mental was strictly on hip-hop for this exclusive project. With numerous artists like T.I., Chris Brown, Future, 2 Chainz, and Juicy J joining him on the playbill, B.o.B‘s third studio is guaranteed to be a hit.
As of now, the album sits at #2 on iTunes trailing behind Beyoncé‘s surprise album. The Source was able to catch up with Bobby Ray before his performance at the iHeart Radio Theatre in New York City on Dec. 17. He spoke on the album, the new batch of talent he recruited for the project, the future of the Hustle Gang imprint and so much more. “Underground Luxury” is available now.
The Source: Congratulations on the album. It’s taken some time for it to drop. What took so long?
B.o.B: I spent a lot of time on this project, man. I really wanted it to be natural. I started out doing a lot of club records cause I just wanted to be in the club. But as I had fun with it and grew with it, I saw what songs stayed jamming as the months went by. That let me and everyone know what records were the best records. And then other records came by like “John Doe”. I think that song took the longest to record because I had to go back and redo the verses cause they just weren’t right. They weren’t poppin’ with the song. A lot of it was just taking it serious and spending more time with it.
You really took it back to hip-hop with this album compared to “Strange Clouds.” What made you realize you had to take it back like that?
It kinda just naturally happened that way because I was really gonna go into the rock direction. After “Adventures of Bobby Ray ,” I was ready to put my rock album out.
I didn’t know you were into that.
Yea, but what I was trying to do with this album is what I was trying to do with “Strange Clouds,” but I didn’t understand my sound enough. So this project I think it’s unedited, not holding back. Everything is in your face, whatever it is, it’s very deliberate. Every sound, instrument, lyric, the way it’s sequenced. Everything is deliberate.
You got Chris Brown, Future, Ester Dean, 2 Chainz on the album. Am I forgetting anyone?
Yea and of course Tip. I also got some new artists like Priscilla Renee and Mike Fresh.
I noticed you like to take on new talent. How do you feel about adding them to the album?
I feel like they added a lot. Of course, Future is gonna bring that East side energy. Tip, that’s Hustle Gang so hands down. Juicy J brings that trippy vibe. But Priscilla Renee, she brought this certain soul to the record that I really wanted to keep. I really fought for her to stay on the album cause I believed in her. Her soul just gave me chills on the record when you hear it, when the music drops. I made sure I produced my ass off on that. Records like “Cranberry Moonwalk” surprised me because people are really gravitating towards that record. When I ask people what’s their favorite song, I’m see this at least 7 out of 10 times. But I produced that with FKI. They added a lot of flavor to it. I came with the guitars on there. It’s really just all a balance. Everybody brings in key components to the projects. I just glue it all together.
You had a lot to do with the production of the album. Who else did you work with?
I worked with Arthur McArthur. He did “Wide Open” with Ester Dean. I worked with SoFLY & Nius. I worked with Jim Jonsin and DJ Toomp.
Since you’ve been working on Underground Luxury for some time, what sticks out the most about it?
The thing that stuck out to me about this album was that this would be the first time that I have an album that has the rawness of a mixtape, but still has the worldwide appeal of a critically acclaimed album. That’s a challenge because I feel like it’s a very hard thing to pull off because when you’re in the world of albums, it’s about so many more factors like numbers and politics get intertwined with it. But a mixtape, it’s like this is what I recorded, let’s put it out. So you gotta stay true to the integrity of the music.
So T.I. has his deal with Columbia Records now. How do you feel about the future of the Hustle Gang imprint?
You know it really doesn’t alter too much just little, miniscule things. But it’s still moving forward and we’re working with a lot of different artists and producers. I’m producing and contributing a lot. I should expect something next year for Hustle Gang.
You just dropped a new music video for “Paper Route”. What’s next on deck for visuals off the album?
I’m shooting a lot of shit man. I just think I gotta be patient cause I get excited about a song when people get excited about it. Then I’m like “we gotta shoot the video now”. But sometimes it needs to come naturally.
– Tony Centeno (@_tonyMC)