B.o.B. is one of those artists that hit the jackpot right out of the gate – his first major release remains untopped to this day. Before Nothin’ on You, Bobbie Ray Simmons Jr. as is his birth name released no less than 6 mix-tapes. The first few were self-released and composed of material that he used to perform at open mics in underground venues, while the last 3 already had the Grand Hustle Records name attached to them, T.I.’s label. He first caught the attention of one of the label’s CEO’s with a rather weird performance, a spoken-word ode to marijuana. Since then, every single and album he has released has been under that same Grand Hustle Records (with Atlantic Records as a joint venture). Curiously enough, his most recent spotlight time was caused by neither a single nor an album track, but a SoundCloud diss song aimed at physicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson over an argument started by B.o.B’s claim that the Earth is flat.
When the rapper arrived on the musical scene, Bruno Mars was already a booked session song-writer and producer, despite not having any charted singles yet. The Smeezingtons was the team he was part of and they were at the time booked for a week of writing sessions for B.o.B., Lupe Fiasco and Travie McCoy. McCoy was also ready to make his own debut single which became Billionaire, a #4 hit featuring Mars. Things were not so clear with the other two artists though – Nothin’ on You was originally promised to rapper Lupe Fiasco. He gave performing over the Smeezingtons-created beat a go, but it was deemed unsatisfying. By his own account, seeing B.o.B. then take the song under his own name and make it a worldwide hit nearly drove Lupe Fiasco to suicide.
Nothin’ on You spent 2 consecutive weeks at number one in Billboard Top 100, before being dethroned by Usher’s OMG (featuring will.i.am).