"Nothin' on You"
Bobbie Ray Simmons, aka rapper B.o.B, hit his stride early. Growing up on the east side of Atlanta, the teen wannabe started rapping at age 13 and shortly thereafter formed a production duo dubbed the Klinic with his cousin.
In 2006, the then-16-year-old slipped in the back door of an Atlanta rap club and wowed the audience with a self-produced ode. One of those in the crowd was industry veteran TJ Chapman. Within a month, Simmons was signed with Atlantic subsidiary Rebel Rock.
Just like that, B.o.B was born. When asked about his acronymic moniker, Simmons made things simple for People: "Bob is short for Bobby, and I made it B.o.B to give it style."
His first single for Atlantic, "Haterz Everywhere" reached the Top 5 on Billboard's R&B/hip-hop chart. Before long, pundits were calling him an "artist to watch." Now, his breakthrough No. 1, "Nothin' on You," features the smooth tenor of guest contributor Bruno Mars and a mash-up of jazzy piano, funky beats and hip-hop lyrics that soulfully lays out the singer's claim that he's renounced his formerly wild ways after finding the lady of his dreams.
"Beautiful girls all over the world/I could be chasing but my time would be wasted," we hear. "They got nothin' on you, baby/Nothin' on you, baby." The video contrasts a revolving montage of pretty ladies—some wearing tight, revealing clothes—with the one B.o.B has chosen.
How perfectly amazing is this newest love? "Baby you the whole package/Plus you pay your taxes/And you keep it real/While them others stay plastic/ … You always steal the show/And just like that, girl, you got me froze/Like a Nintendo 64."
Most of these corny lyrics steer around typical hip-hop excesses. But not all of them do. One verse about the rapper's prodigal past appropriates a mild profanity ("Regardless of the things in my past that I've done/Most of it really was for the h‑‑‑ of the fun/On a carousel, so around I spun/With no direction, just tryna get some"). And B.o.B also makes an appreciative reference to his girl shedding her clothes ("And you wild [or perhaps "you wow"] when you ain't got nothin' on."
So audio and video memories of his skirt-chasing days, along with a reference to a sexual relationship in the present end up modulating the mood of B.o.B's otherwise lighthearted hip-hop ode to infatuation.