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B.o.B. breaks from new album to play for the Pistons

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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B.o.B. came out with a band in 2010, scoring chart-topping hits with "Nothin' On You" and "Airplanes." But five years later he's still around -- with two more albums, a batch of mixtapes and his own label, No Genre -- because he hasn't rested on those early laurels.

"I still feel like a new artist, man," says the North Carolina artist, real name Bobby Ray Simmons Jr., who performs at halftime of the Detroit Pistons' Friday, Feb. 20, game against the Chicago Bulls at the Palace of Auburn Hills. "When I came out with my first album, a lot of those kids were in, like, elementary school and middle school. Now they've graduated from high school and they're into a whole different type of thing, a whole different scene of music.

"So it used to be the kids who listened to me know me from 'Airplanes' and 'Nothing But You,' but now kids know me for 'HeadBand' and 'We Still in This B****.' Every some-odd years it's a whole new wave. I just go and reinvent myself."

B.o.B., 26, is in the midst of doing that for his fourth full-length studio album, which follows the recent mixtapes "The New Black" and "No Genre: The Label." He notes that, "It's done. If I had to put it out now I could," but he's still writing material for what he hopes will be a late spring or early summer release -- which B.o.B. says will explore more fresh musical territory.

"This album, for me, is just a lot more vulnerable, where I'm coming from," he says. "I feel like it's a more organic place. I think a lot of the success I experienced i the past four, five years had to really soak in and set in for now. Now I feel like I'm at a place where I've got a blank canvas and can really do something dope."


Friday, Feb. 20 during halftime of the Detroit Pistons game against the Chicago Bulls.

Palace of Auburn Hills, I-75 at Lapeer Road.

For tickets and more information, call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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