Do you fear being pigeonholed into making songs that sound like your hit singles?
B.o.B.: Honestly, even if I did get put into a mold, I just wouldn't fulfill it. At this point, I don't think I can get pigeonholed, because it's expected to do something that's unexpected. But I think that you can sometimes be too broad, which I don't wanna do. I'm really trying to make my own type of sound. When I go to record the next album, I'm just gonna keep recording. Because I feel like the hard part's out of the way. Now is the easy part. Now is making music, which is what I've been doing already—but to actually get to the point where the people who need to hear my music can hear it, I need to do a lot more work that doesn't involve music. A lot of politics, a lot of touching different worlds, a lot of traveling.
You no longer want to retire, but how long do you see yourself being in the industry?
B.o.B.: Ten years, maybe? I don't know, I'd be limiting myself. Maybe by 40? I don't know. You know what's funny? I feel like I'll be in the music industry for the rest of my life, like Quincy Jones. He's not necessarily at the forefront of everything anymore, but he's in it for the long haul. I could be in it even after I'm an artist. I love performing, I love playing music on the stage for people. So even if I got older, maybe I'd just start a band, and be a drummer in the band. I don't know. [Laughs.]
Yesterday, we unveiled our split Style & Design covers featuring B.o.B. and T.I., and today we wanted to highlight some of the best parts of our conversation with Bobby Ray. Surrounded by Todd "REAS" James's unique musical art treatment (Click here to see all the images.), B.o.B.'s story focuses on his newfound success and his long road to the top. Will he be forever trying to repeat his "Nothin' On You" smash success? Check out an excerpt: