How B.o.B's Beliefs May Have Ruined His Career

It seems we all know someone who has gone down the rabbit hole in recent years. Whether it's an old school friend on Facebook spreading unfounded anti-vax memes, or a person we've just met who just so happens to let it slip that they believe that the "Great Awakening" that QAnon supporters have been predicting for a while is due to happen any day now, weird ideas are everywhere in our modern age. The hope is that most of the strange theories people come to believe in don't stick, that the believer in question will be convinced in time of the invalidity of the idea, and that the idea will be dropped before it causes too much damage. But for many people — celebrities included — conspiracy theories and crank ideas come to cause untold damage to their professional and personal lives.

One example is rapper B.o.B, aka Bobby Ray Simmons Jr., who shot to fame in 2009 after his hit single, "Nothin' On You," reached number 1 in the US and UK charts, while his 2010 debut album, The Adventures of Bobby Ray, also went to Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. B.o.B rounded out the year and started the new decade by debuting at #9 on MTV's Hottest MCs In The Game list. 

But as they say, it's all been downhill from there, and B.o.B's strange belief may be the reason why.

B.o.B's flat earth meltdown

B.o.B continued to enjoy success in the early part of the 2010s, when his second album, 2012's Strange Clouds, charted high on both sides of the Atlantic and spawned a series of well-received singles. The album, however, failed to replicate the huge success of his double-platinum debut. The rapper's career quickly became a case of diminishing returns when his third album failed to break the top 20. By 2017, B.o.B's studio albums were failing to chart. Why?

Many put the reversal in B.o.B's fortunes down to one notorious incident: a highly publicized Twitter meltdown in 2016, in which the rapper vociferously argued that the earth is, in fact, flat. "He argued that if the Earth were indeed curved, evidence of that would be apparent when looking at the horizon in the distance and distant cities would be hidden from view because of curvature," reported the Guardian at the time. 

Not only did B.o.B post image after image purporting to show the absence of the curvature of the Earth, with such captions as "No matter how high in elevation you are ... the horizon is always eye level ... sorry cadets ... I didn't wanna believe it either," according to the Guardian, but he then started feuding with his own fans online, attracting the ire of the one person you don't want to get into a spat with over science: Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Diss Tracks and dumb campaigns

Merely a day after B.o.B had his misjudged Twitter meltdown, Noisey was running with the following headline: "Beef Alert: Neil deGrasse Tyson's Nephew Just Destroyed B.o.B with Science Raps." Could anyone 48 hours earlier have seen this coming?

The track "Flat to Fact," which also featured vocal parts contributed by the scientist himself, was reportedly a response to an earlier diss, "Flatline," released by B.o.B after his online altercation with Tyson, in which the rapper attacks the scientist and also, according to Noisey, "says some crazy s*** about neo Nazis and Stalin."

The feud, silly as it was, was only the start of the bad press that B.o.B was about to accumulate. In 2017, the rapper began to solicit donations through a GoFundMe campaign (now deleted) titled "Show BoB the curve," according to Time, asking for $1 million to "purchase and launch multiple satellites into space" to help "find the curve."

It may all have seemed like harmless crankery, but before long the campaign began to attract some fierce criticism, and B.o.B's other beliefs began to come to the fore. "B.o.B's $1 million flat Earth conspiracy satellite GoFundMe is a scam," claimed The Verge, telling readers: "It should go without saying, but please don't donate money to this." Depressingly, other outlets such as Salon have accused B.o.B of harboring fascist leanings, and that the lyrics to "Flatline" suggest that he's familiar with the writing of the holocaust denier David Irving.