Yesterday, B.o.B released his new mixtape No Genre 2. A few weeks prior to that, the Atlanta rapper/singer has been dropped incredible previews from the project like “Mission Statement” and the Sevyn Streeter-assisted “Swing My Way.” In the mixtape circuit, Bobby Ray is considered a veteran with over 10 releases that have bolstered his notoriety. The No Genre series is his landmark tape showcasing his various sides and styles early in his career. Just a day before dropping the sequel, we spoke to B.o.B about creative process of No Genre 2, the meaning behind no genre, and his thoughts on Iggy Azalea’s success so far.—Eric Diep
XXL: How excited are you to drop the tape?
B.o.B: From a scale from 1 to 10—turnt. For it to be a sequel, we wanted to do it differently. We making like a video mixtape, so we shot all the videos before we even announced the release of it.
Where did that idea come from?
Just a way to freshen it up. I’ve done well over 10 mixtapes my whole career so I wanted to mix it up and do it differently. The video mixtape idea came up—it was a no brainer.
Cloud 9 was the tape that pushed you into the mainstream. What did No Genre do for you?
No Genre was the mixtape like…you know I dropped it after The Adventures Of Bobby Ray. When I put the mixtape together, I wasn’t even really thinking too much about it. It was just like, “Cool. This is some dope records that I put out that I’ve been working on.” Records that didn’t make the album. So, I was just like whatever. The response to it was like an album. A lot of people feel that it should have been my first album. I figured that I revisit the subject in a new way.
How did No Genre stamp your place in hip-hop?
Records like “Beast Mode.” Records like “Dr. Aden,” Records like, “Not Lost.” “Shoot Up The Station.” I really took all my favorite shit. At the time, it just worked. It just flowed.
What’s the mindset now for No Genre II?
The second one, I am doing a lot of more production on it. Lately, I’ve been producing a lot more lately. It’s showing growth. It’s showing the growth of my train of thoughts. Honestly, it’s just different. I’m always going to do the same thing. That’s something I don’t allow myself to do. I’m never going to the same pool of thoughts that I’ve always had. I’m never gonna feel the same way that I did, but I’ma always have the same approach to my music. It’s always going to have my signature in it and my sound in it, and my soul in it. I really don’t have to do anything but just do it and record it and see how it come out.
How have you learned not to stay in one category of music or one genre? You’ve been boxed in as an MC, a pop star and a trap rapper.
As an artist, you gotta love what you are doing. No matter what the response may be or what people may say or how people may feel, you just gotta do what you love to do. Before Underground Luxury, I wanted to make club music. I wanted to just turn up. I had to let myself do it regardless of what anybody would say. Obviously people who were saying my pop side or my rock side or whatever side. Some of my more hippy side…that wasn’t how I felt at the time. I think in general it’s a well-blended, well-put together project. It has a balance. Honestly, I gotta be balanced myself before the music can have a balance.
What wave are you on now? Whatever comes naturally?
Now, you know it’s funny because with Strange Clouds, I thought I was doing then what I’m doing now. On Strange Clouds, I was trying to show people my hip-hop, lyrical/club side, but still have pop records. I mean, it was a great album. Honestly, you could of put a lot of songs off of Strange Clouds, you could put those on Adventures Of Bobby Ray and it would have been just as dope. But, it was just something about that first moment when you put out the music, but I really just had to experience and go through the different phases and different moods and emotions and all that.