B.o.B tells of his biggest challenge, greatest influences as a musician

For the first time, Chiddy Bang was the opening act for B.o.B at Tuesday night’s second concert in the SOLO Concert Series at the Hooper Eblen Center.

B.o.B, a mainstream hip-hop songwriter, performer and producer, headlined the concert. B.o.B has performed on multiple college campuses in Tennessee, including East Tennessee State University in April 2010.

“[When performing for college students,] it feels more like I’m performing with the people I’m attracted to,” B.o.B said. “It’s good to be back in front of people my age.”

B.o.B describes himself as a “studio nerd,” because he spent so much time in the studio producing music throughout his career. According to B.o.B, compared to the studio setting, performing doesn’t come naturally to him.

B.o.B has worked with various musicians throughout the years, including Hayley Williams, of Paramore, Lil Wayne, Bruno Mars, Lupe Fiasco, Eminem, and Justin Bieber.

“I had the most fun with Lupe [Fiasco],” said B.o.B. “He’s just real organic, bringing in guitars and just rocking out.”

B.o.B, 22, has been in music since the age of 15. Growing up, he listened to musicians like Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, and James Brown.

“My brother, who was old enough to buy rap albums, got me into Snoop Dogg, Biggie, Tupac, DMX, and Eminem,” B.o.B. said. “And, growing up in the South you’re just influenced by all of the Southern music.”

B.o.B didn’t attend college. He graduated high school and focused on pursuing his musical goals.

“[Before music,] I just worked at Subway and got fired,” B.o.B said. “So, it was music and that’s it.”

B.o.B started to gain mainstream recognition in 2007 with an underground single of “Haterz Everywhere.”

“My biggest challenge as a musician is trying to make the music,” said B.o.B. “Instead of just allowing it to happen.”

The SOLO Concert Series is funded by tuition dollars to host a major concert on campus every semester. Students vote on a list of artists of a certain genre, determined in advance by the SOLO bill, to come to campus. Tuesday’s concert selection was the results of the hip-hop genre poll, next semester’s genre is pop.