B.O.B (song)

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"B.O.B"
OutkastBombs Over Baghdad.jpg
Single by Outkast
from the album Stankonia
ReleasedSeptember 19, 2000
Recorded1999
Genre
Length5:04
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Earthtone III
Outkast singles chronology
"Da Art of Storytellin' (Pt. 1)"
(1999)
"B.O.B"
(2000)
"Ms. Jackson"
(2001)
Music video
"B.O.B" on YouTube

"B.O.B" ("Bombs Over Baghdad") is a song by American rap duo Outkast from their fourth studio album Stankonia (2000). It was released as the album's lead single on September 19, 2000 through LaFace Records and Arista Records. Produced by Earthtone III, the song features a high-speed tempo beat consisting of drum and bass rhythms, guitars, organs, and gospel vocals. Although not a huge commercial success, the song has been cited as one of the greatest songs of all time by publications such as Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Blender and Complex. The song became popular during the Iraq War.[2]

Composition[edit]

Produced by Outkast and Mr. DJ under the name Earthtone III, "B.O.B" features "jittery drum'n'bass rhythms" and has been classified as a "stylistic tour de force" combining "Hendrix-ian" guitars, organs, and gospel vocals.[3][4] On the track, André 3000 and Big Boi employ a "frantic" flow in order to keep pace with the song's high-speed tempo, which runs at 155 beats per minute.[5][6]

Big Boi said that they wanted to differ from current music: "Everybody's been doing music like they all have the same formula — e = mc2. They get a beat, an MC, somebody to sing the hook, and go platinum. Where's music going to go when everybody's trapped in this same repetitious flow?"[7]

Release[edit]

In addition to the regular release, there is also a clean version available in the video game Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX, which removed expletives such as "hell" and references to recreational drug use to allow the game to receive an "E for Everyone" rating.

Reception[edit]

"B.O.B", peaked at number 69 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, 58 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart and 61 on the UK Singles Chart.[8][9] However, many urban Top 40 radio stations banned the single due to its title and the subject matter it was assumed to have.[6] The single was named by several music publications as one of the best songs of the 2000s. Rolling Stone ranked it 21st on their "100 Best Songs of the 2000s list and 50th on their "The 50 Greatest Hip Hop Songs of All Time" list.[10][11] Pitchfork ranked it first on their "The Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s" list.[12] Bested only by Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean", it was ranked second on Blender's "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born" list.[13] Complex ranked it third on their "The 100 Best Songs of the 2000s" list.[14]

Nathan Brackett of Rolling Stone said: "The furious 'B.O.B.' is a blast of up-tempo, turn-of-the-century dislocation with electro breaks and a gospel choir. 'Power music, electric revival,' chants the choir at the end, sounding like some funkified Southern congregation where Chuck D is the preacher and Afrika Bambaataa is the musical director."[15] Louis Arp of Sputnikmusic called the song a "drum ‘n bass assault at a frantic pace with perhaps one of the best guitar solos in hip hop history" and the duo's "rapid-fire delivery" "perhaps the most astonishing thing about this track".[16] Tony Green of The Village Voice called it Outkast's "strongest retort to the 'bounce and more bounce' crowd, just about the damnedest bass track ever" and an "electro workout reimagined as a praise-and-worship service".[17] Aishah Hight of PopMatters said its "fast tempo, complemented by the chant 'Bombs over Baghdad', makes this song edgy, animated, and entertaining."[18] Saron Baker of Yahoo! Music said that it "explodes in revved-up adrenaline".[19]

In 2009, Stuart Berman of Pitchfork named "B.O.B" the best song of the 2000s, saying "B.O.B. is not just the song of the decade-- it is the decade."[12] Pitchfork's review called the song a "fast-forwarded highlight-reel prophecy of what the next 10 years held in store."

Music video[edit]

The music video for "B.O.B" was directed by Dave Meyers.[7] Shmoop said it "combines all of your typical elements of a hip-hop music video, namely the girls, the cars, and the bling, except this video is on psychedelics. This is a good point of comparison to see just how much Outkast has changed both musically, artistically, and stylistically over the course of their career."[13]

Impact[edit]

The song became increasingly popular during the Iraq War in 2003. Many radio stations started playing it more and U.S. troops were using it as a battle cry. During the 2003 NASDAQ-100 Open, tennis player Jennifer Capriati requested it to be played. Both members of OutKast have clarified they did not support the invasion, with Big Boi wishing that the U.S. government consulted the United Nations before taking action and Andre 3000 stating that the half-hearted bombings are a metaphor for lack of dedication in the music industry.[2]

Iggy Azalea's 2013 single "Work" was inspired by the chord progression in "B.O.B".[20] The single's music video also paid homage to the visual elements of the "B.O.B" music video.[21] The Janelle Monáe songs "Many Moons" and "Cold War" were both influenced by the drum pattern of "B.O.B".

The song was featured in the video game Saints Row IV.

In October 2020 it was announced that Zack de la Rocha's remix of the song would appear on a 20th-anniversary rerelease of Stankonia later the same year.[22] This remix, which was made in autumn 2000, was originally released to rock radio. It has also appeared on file sharing sites as a remix credited to Rage Against the Machine, de la Rocha's band.[23]

Track listing[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2000) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart[9] 61
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[8] 69
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay (Billboard)[8] 58

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[25] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Review: Outkast light a fire under a soggy Day 1 of the Big Guava Music Festival". Tampa Bay Times.
  2. ^ a b April 12, Robert Hilburn; Am, 200312 (April 12, 2003). "When a song is mistaken for an anthem". Los Angeles Times.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Wang, Oliver, ed. (May 1, 2003). Classic Material: The Hip-Hop Album Guide. ECW Press. p. 133. ISBN 1-55022-561-8.
  4. ^ Huey, Steve. "Stankonia - Outkast - Review". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
  5. ^ Kim, Hyun (October 2000). "The dish on the latest cuts: Outkast's "B.O.B"". Vibe. Vibe Media Group. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Hess, Mickey, ed. (2007). Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture. ABC-CLIO. p. 465. ISBN 978-0-313-33903-5.
  7. ^ a b "OutKast breaks Hip-Hop's Mold". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. September 2000. p. 38. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  8. ^ a b c "Chart History: Outkast - B.O.B". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  9. ^ a b "Outkast" (select "Singles" tab). The Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  10. ^ "21. OutKast, 'B.O.B.'". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  11. ^ "50. OutKast, 'B.O.B.'". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  12. ^ a b "The Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s: 20-1". Pitchfork. August 21, 2009. Retrieved December 27, 2011.
  13. ^ a b B.O.B (Bombs Over Baghdad): Shmoop Music Guide. Shmoop. Shmoop University. July 2012. ISBN 9781610620888. Retrieved December 18, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "3. OutKast "B.O.B." (2000)". Complex. Complex Media. December 14, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  15. ^ Brackett, Nathan (October 26, 2000). "Outkast: Stankonia : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  16. ^ Arp, Louis. "Review: Stankonia". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved October 10, 2009.
  17. ^ Green, Tony. "Review: Stankonia". The Village Voice. Village Voice Media. Retrieved October 10, 2009.
  18. ^ Hight, Aishah. "Review: Stankonia". PopMatters. Retrieved October 10, 2009.
  19. ^ Baker, Soren (November 21, 2000). "Outkast Reviews on Yahoo! Music". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo!. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  20. ^ "Iggy Azalea". Original Penguin. May 2, 2013. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  21. ^ Alexis, Nedeska (March 14, 2013). "Iggy Azalea's 'Work' Video Inspired By Outkast". MTV News. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  22. ^ https://consequenceofsound.net/2020/10/outkasts-zack-de-la-rochas-b-o-b-remix-stream/
  23. ^ https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/zack-de-la-rocha-remix-outkast-bob-bombs-over-baghdad-1079652
  24. ^ "OutKast – B.O.B" (See "Other versions"). Discogs. Zink Media. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
  25. ^ "American single certifications – Outkast – B.O.B". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.