In 2002, after meeting his mentor and co-manager B-Rich at the age of 14, B.o.B sold his first beat to former Slip-n-Slide recording artist Citti, for the song "I'm the Cookie Man". B.o.B felt he had established a substantial career. "I went and blew all of my money on fast stuff like a chain and ballin'. Soon I was broke again, but I learned two important things from it; make sure I save my money and that I was hooked on music. He continued performing at open mics and underground venues to perfect his craft. In 2006, because he was underage, B-Rich helped sneak B.o.B into Club Crucial, a night club owned by Atlanta-based rapper T.I. There, B.o.B performed a song titled "Cloud 9", a self-produced, spoken word-like ode to marijuana. In attendance was producer and industry veteran T.J. Chapman, chief executive officer (CEO) of TJ's DJ's. Chapman agreed to co-manage B.o.B, which only a month later led to B.o.B's signing with Atlantic Records and subsidiary imprint Rebel Rock, run by Florida-based producer Jim Jonsin. His first single for Atlantic, 2007's "Haterz Everywhere", reached the top five of Billboard's Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop singles chart. Along with his solo production career, B.o.B is part of the production/rap group HamSquad, along with Playboy Tre, DJ Swatts, DJ Smooth, Moss B, B-Rich and TJ Chapman.
On October 9, 2012, B.o.B was featured on the annual BET Hip Hop Awards cypher, alongside his Grand Hustle label-mates Iggy Azalea, T.I., Chip and Trae tha Truth. On November 15, 2012, B.o.B released his ninth mixtape, entitled Fuck 'Em We Ball. The mixtape features guest appearances from T.I., Juicy J, Mac Miller, Playboy Tre, Snoop Lion, Spodee and Iggy Azalea, with much of the production coming from B.o.B himself. The mixtape also spawned a single, with the release of the club banger, "We Still in This Bitch". In early December, B.o.B revealed to MTV plans to release a rock music-influenced extended play: "I've been holding back so much rock for so long. I have been performing with my band for a while, so I guess this is a real good canvas for me to paint on. No one's really expecting anything so I can do what I want to do." He also spoke lightly on his third studio album as well: "My album is basically a continuation of The Adventures of Bobby Ray and Strange Clouds. I feel like it kinda bridges the gap between where all my fans are and finally getting everybody up to speed on what my sound is and exactly where I'm going."
While filming the video for "Memories Back Then", in an interview with Rap-Up, B.o.B spoke on a series of projects including his third album, a rock EP, and the Hustle Gang compilation. Rap-Up TV caught up with Bobby Ray, where he stated his rock EP is in the works and will reflect his diverse influences: "When I drop it, everyone's gonna have an eargasm. It's really how I fell in love with rock music, from indie to alternative to classic rock to even some forms of country music." He spoke of his third album, which is nearing completion: "This project is a lot more effortless than anything because I've really shown the full spectrum of what I can do musically, so now I'm just having fun with it. I'm 24 years old, so I'm partying." In March, B.o.B teamed up with fellow Atlanta rapper Big Boi of OutKast to release the official theme song for the 2013 video game Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel; if pre-ordered the rappers were also playable characters. The song, titled "Double or Nothing", was accompanied with a music video directed and produced by Vice, Noisey and EA.
On May 12, 2017, the rapper released his fourth studio album, Ether. The album features guest appearances from artists like Lil Wayne, Young Thug, T.I., Big K.R.I.T., Ty Dolla Sign, Usher, CeeLo Green and Young Dro. Ether follows the conscious hip hop themes of his Elements mixtapes, and was met with positive reviews from music critics.
In a 2009 interview, when asked about his music B.o.B said: "I try to be more personal than try to be different". In a review for his debut album The Adventures of Bobby Ray (2010), HipHopDX wrote: "The versatility that B.o.B encapsulates is evident from the outset of the album." B.o.B sings, raps, plays the piano and the guitar, all throughout his debut. He utilizes pop music, political hip hop, trap music, rock music, and club music, often dividing himself into two personas that handle specific genres; the B.o.B alter ego is responsible for the pop, trap and club music, while Bobby Ray is the more heartfelt multi-instrumentalist who shares his views through conscious rap and rock music. Simmons heavily explored this concept on his 2009 mixtape B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray, and later on the 2012 single "Where Are You (B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray)".
Lovato released her third studio album, Unbroken, on September 20, 2011. Begun in July 2010, the album experimented with R&B and featured less pop rock than her first two albums. Lyrically, Unbroken encompassed more mature themes as opposed to Lovato's previous works, with some songs focusing on her personal struggles. The album and its stylistic change received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Lovato's vocals and saw a growth in her musicianship due to the songs focusing on her struggles, but criticized the album's "party songs" and found the music to be more generic than her previous efforts. Unbroken debuted at number four in the US, selling 97,000 copies in its first week of release; it was later certified Gold.
Lovato released the lead single from Confident titled "Cool for the Summer" on July 1, 2015. The song attracted attention for its bi-curious theme and was a commercial success, peaking at number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100 and being certified double platinum in the U.S. On September 18, 2015, the title track "Confident" was released as the album's second single and peaked at number 21 on the Hot 100. On October 17, 2015, Lovato performed a "Cool for the Summer" and "Confident" medley, as well as "Stone Cold" melody on Saturday Night Live during the series' forty-first season. Lovato was also featured on the re-release of "Irresistible", the fourth single from Fall Out Boy's sixth studio album American Beauty/American Psycho. The same month, she signed with the major modeling agency, Wilhelmina Models. Lovato released the music video for her R&B-infused song "Waitin for You" featuring rapper Sirah on October 22, 2015. On October 26, 2015, Lovato and Nick Jonas announced that they would be touring together on the Future Now Tour. Lovato was honored with the first-ever Rulebreaker Award on December 11, 2015, at the 2015 Billboard Women in Music event. On March 21, 2016, "Stone Cold" was released as the third and final single from Confident. On July 1, 2016, Lovato released a new single titled "Body Say" to promote her tour.
Lovato's work as an LGBT rights activist has been recognized by GLAAD, which awarded her the Vanguard Award in 2016. When the Defense of Marriage Act was appealed in June 2013, Lovato celebrated the occasion on social media. Lovato has previously affirmed her support for the LGBT community: "I believe in gay marriage, I believe in equality. I think there's a lot of hypocrisy with religion. But I just found that you can have your own relationship with God, and I still have a lot of faith." In May 2014, Lovato was named lead performer for NYC Pride Week and Grand Marshal of the LA Pride Parade, where she later filmed the music video for "Really Don't Care". Lovato became the face of Human Rights Campaign's America's for Marriage Equality in 2015. In June 2016, Lovato participated in a video released by the Human Rights Campaign honoring the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting.
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