Nothin' on You

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"Nothin' on You"
Single by B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars
from the album B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray
Released December 15, 2009
Recorded 2009
Length 4:29 (album version)
3:42 (radio edit)
Producer(s) The Smeezingtons
B.o.B singles chronology
"Hood Dreamer"
"Nothin' on You"
"Don't Go There"
Bruno Mars singles chronology
"Nothin' on You"

"Nothin' on You" is the debut solo and lead single recorded by American rapper B.o.B from his debut studio album, B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray. The track features American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars on the chorus. It was written by Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr., along with Mars, Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine of The Smeezingtons. The production was handled by the latter three as The Smeezingtons. It was first released on December 15, 2009 via digital download by Atlantic Records. The song was supposed to be for Lupe Fiasco, however Atlantic Records' chairman, Craig Kallman, gave the song to B.o.B after listening to Fiasco's version and being displeased. The song took several months to finish and was born from a hummed melody by Mars and Lawrence.

"Nothin' on You" is a R&B, hip-hop and pop "southern rap ballad". Music critics gave the song generally positive reviews, praising it for its sweetness and positive vibe, while a few criticized the track due to Mars' performance. The song's main structure relies on a piano, a "helmed-beat", funky elements and a sample of Joe Tex's "I Gotcha". Lyrically, the record aims at a woman's heart by flattering and showing her she is unique. The single reached the number one position in some countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, the third and fifth spot in Australia and New Zealand, respectively, and the top ten in Canada. It was certified three times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and once by Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and Music Canada (MC).

The music video, directed by Ethan Lader, with animation done by George Rausch, and was filmed in Los Angeles. It prominently features the "paper cut-out technique", which takes multiple collages and taps them one over each other, in this case with various women. The video is interpolated with footage of the performers playing instruments along with Lawrence. The track has been covered by various recording artists, including "Weird Al" Yankovic. It was nominated for Record of the Year, Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 53rd Grammy Awards. The song has been performed live at The Ellen DeGeneres Show and at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. Both artists have promoted it during their respective tours.

Background and production[edit]

When "Nothin' on You" was being showed to different music industry decision-maker's, one of those like the song, but tried to give the song to another artist instead of Mars, because of his race. That experience made the singer feel like a "mutant", reaching his lowest point so far in his career. Mars concluded, "Even with that song in my back pocket to seal the deal, things like that are coming out of people's mouths. It made me feel like I wasn't even in the room."[1]

According to American record producer Jim Jonsin, Atlantic Records' chairman, Craig Kallman, wanted him to work on the track for Lupe Fiasco. However, Jonsin pressured Kallman to give the song to B.o.B.[2] Lupe stated that Kallman told him his lyrics and performance on the record were "wack", and ultimately Lupe did not get the record. He claims that this was a breaking point and drove him to be lightly suicidal. Afterwards, his verses were removed and new ones were written by Mars and B.o.B.[3] An unmixed version of the song with Fiasco's verses and Mars' vocals leaked later in the same year.[4]

"Nothin' on You" was written by Bobby Simmons, Jr., Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, and Ari Levine, and produced by the latter three under their stage name, The Smeezingtons.[5] Levine and Mars played all the instruments on the track, while Brody Brown was responsible for playing the bass. Levine was, as well, in charge of recording, engineering and mixing the song, which he did at Levcon Studios in California.[5] Chris Gehringer mastered the record at Sterling Sound in New York City.[5]

Conception and writing[edit]

During the summer of 2009, The Smeezingtons were booked for a week of writing sessions for Lupe Fiasco, B.o.B and Travie McCoy.[6] Mars and Lawrence usually hummed melodies, while Aaron Bay-Schuck, former Atlantic A&R,[7] encouraged both of them to develop the best of those melodies, such as "Nothin' on You" and "Billionaire". In the beginning, they only had "scratch chorus demos of "Nothin' On You" and "Billionaire", with a guitar on the backing track and Bruno singing on top of it.[6] In an interview to MTV News Mars and Lawrence explained how the song was created "Me and Phil always had that hook," Mars told MTV News, spontaneously breaking out into the chorus. "It was a different melody at first, though," Lawrence added.[8] "Nothin' on You" was only finished a couple months later, around November, with B.o.B working with The Smeezingtons to shape it in the best way possible. It was recorded with a couple of different arrangements.[6][9]

The instrumental of the song was composed when Levine programmed the drums [over], based on an old-school hip-hop beat. When Mars heard it, he started playing the piano and "Magically, that melody worked with this track we were doing", the latter explained.[8] Mars confessed that the lyrics are about someone, saying they come from "real-life experience, whether it's at the time or me back-tracking to how I felt at another moment."[10]


"Nothin' on You" was first made available in the United States via digital download on December 15, 2009 by Atlantic Records.[11] American rhythmic contemporary radios began adding the track onto their playlists on February 2, 2010, being released under Atlantic Records and Grand Hustle. On March 29, 2010, a promotional CD single of the radio version of the single as made available via Atlantic Records. Contemporary hit radios in the United Kingdom (UK) added a remix of the "Nothin' on You" featuring American rapper Big Boi on April 9, 2010.[12][13] On May 14, 2010, an EP of the song, containing the album version of the song, a remix and its respective radio cut, an instrumental and a cappella of the original version, was issued on several countries.[14][15][16] Later, on May 17, 2010, the radio version of "Nothin' on You" was released in the UK via digital download by Atlantic Records and the album track issued on CD single, which also contained B.o.B's "Haterz Everywhere" featuring Wes Fif.[17][18][19] The same CD single was also made available in Germany on May 21, 2010.[20] On June 15, 2010, the song was released in South Korea with Jay Park's vocals, instead of Mars' verses by Warner Music Group Asia Pacific.[21] In 2010, a 12" single containing different versions of "Nothin' on You" and "Airplanes" was issued by Atlantic Records in the United States.[22]

Composition and influences[edit]

B.o.B co-wrote "Nothin' on You" with Mars, Lawrence and Ari Levine, the latter three also produced the song, under their alias The Smeezingtons.[5] The track is backed by a "jazzy" piano, a "Jim Jonsin-helmed beat", funky elements[23][24][25] and contains an interpolation of Joe Tex's "I Gotcha".[nb 1] According to the digital sheet music published by Alfred Music Publishing, it was composed in time signature of common time and in the key of B-flat major, and follows a chord progression of Eb 9-Cm 9-Dm-F, with a tempo of 104 beats per minute.[26] B.o.B's and Mars' vocal range span from F4 to Bb5.[26] "Nothin' on You" has been labeled as a R&B,[27][28] Hip-Hop,[24] and Pop[29] "southern rap ballad".[30] It has been described as "slow" and "lulling", as well as, "charming and unabashedly sweet", having an "up lifting melody".[31][29][32] Its chorus and bridge is "silky-smooth".[23] Pitchfork's Jayson Greene said the whole album sound as a "sticky-sweet" for "modern-rock radio", including "Nothin' on You".[33] Angus Batey from The Guardian called the recording "glorious, euphoric, essentially old-fashioned kind of love song".[9]

Lyrically, it finds B.o.B throwing away his old habits and telling the girl he loves not to worry about other women as he wants to "settle down", while flattering her.[30][24][23] In the hook and bridge, Mars is able to allure the girl, who is the object of all this affection, by serenading her.[23] B.o.B, during his verses, makes references appealing not only to younger supporters, "Just like that, girl, you got me froze/ Like a Nintendo 64", but also to older admirers, "Baby you the whole package, plus you pay your taxes".[30] Tiny Mix Tapes pointed out that the song's lyrics use "clumsy analogies".[29] Batey found B.o.B's attitude and rapping verses care free, in which you can almost hear him smiling.[9] David Jeffries had a different opinion, stating that the rapper "courts the ladies" on the song along with Mars. He also added that B.o.B transmitted his "positive vibes" on "Nothin' on You".[34] B.o.B compared the song's "spirit" to "Bonita Applebum" by A Tribe Called Quest.[9]



"Nothin' on You" received generally positive reviews by most music critics. Billboard's Evan J. Nabavian gave the song a 4 out of 5 starts, denoting that the song explores the swell appeal "between Mars' delicately delivered melodies and B.o.B.'s Southern twang." He compared it to Lupe Fiasco's duet with Matthew Santos' "Superstar" (2007), "especially its feel-good, singalong hook". The review concluded with a with positive feedback for the recording's lyrics and references.[30] The same rating was give by Nick Levine of Digital Spy. He called the track a "smash" and praised its piano and hook. Levine concluded that although it doesn't show the same class as "Empire State of Mind" (2009) by Jay Z and Alicia Keys, "it's all so goddamn catchy you'd be a fool to give a hoot."[18] Lee Tyler from Blues & Soul's awarded the single 8 out of 10 stars, calling it a "delight" from its beginning until the end. He said "Whilst not being content to just please the ear ... seems to laden with instant charisma, stopping only to refresh the parts others cannot reach of late". Tyler opined that it wouldn't surprise him if Gym Class Heroes sang the track, "is sweet in it's up lifting melody, while giving the rapper plenty of room to flex his prowess."[32] Richard of DJBooth enhanced the way B.o.B. "drops lovestruck bars as agile as they are flattering," and the "silky-smooth bridge and chorus" Mars uses to seduce "the woman in question".[23] Angus Batey thought the song would have stuck out in 2010, even without B.o.B's verses, since is a clear departure from the "in-the-club, eyeing-up-the-booty cliches that have come to pass for romance in hip-hop".[9] While reviewing the album, Kenny Herzog of Spin felt "Nothin' on You" to be the only "high point" on the record and titled it a straightforward "buoyant R&B".[27] Similarly, Tiny Mix Tapes' Embling also believed the recording was one of the few satisfying tracks, as it is "invigorating" and "transcends its sometimes clumsy analogies and manages to be charming and unabashedly sweet, without coming across as cloying."[29] David Jeffries of AllMusic began by complementing B.o.B persona since its "filled with positive vibes and he isn't above pouring on the sweetness as he courts the ladies" and found "Nothin' on You" to be a "perfectly packaged for some Hollywood romantic comedy."[34] Mike Diver from BBC, labeled the single "sweet, summertime RnB" and its chorus, finalizing "much of this impressive set showcases a deep appreciation of one of hip hop's four elements, MCing".[28]

In a negative review, Bob Hoose from web magazine Plugged In Online, once a magazine that published reviews from a Conservative Christian's perspective, harshly criticized the lyrics for being "corny" and "steer around typical hip-hop excesses." Hoose, also noticed the use of swear words and sexual references.[25] M.T. Richards of Slant Magazine, while reviewing the album, gave "Nothin' on You" a negative review, calling it "anticlimactic" and found it to be a "slow, lulling song that sounds like it was recorded in the midst of a drab winter, and I'll take Sacha Baron Cohen's Bruno over Bruno Mars."[31] Pitchfork's, senior editor, Jayson Greene shared the same negative opinion as his peer dubbing it as a low moment on the album and criticized Mars' crooning as it sounded like an "air-conditioned sub-Coldplay".[33]

"Nothin' on You" was considered one of the 100 best summer songs, in a list compiled in 2010 by The Telegraph.[35] Becky Bain of Idolator when comparing B.o.B's and Lupe Fiasco's versions of "Nothin' on You", noticed the lack of "audacious and energetic vocals" of the latter when comparing to B.o.B., who has "more personality" on the track.[4]


"Nothin' on You" received several nominations. In 2010, it was nominated for Choice Music: Single at the 2010 Teen Choice Awards,[36] as well as, Best Collaboration at the BET Awards 2010[37] and Reese's Perfect Combo Award along with Verizon People's Champ Award at the 2010 BET Hip Hop Awards.[38] In the same year, the "Nothin' on You" won the category Song of the Year at the 2010 Soul Train Music Awards.[39] In 2011, "Nothin' on You" was nominated for Best Rap Song, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Record of the Year at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards.[40] It was also nominated for Top Rap Song at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards.[41] The single received two awards from ASCAP, one from the Pop Music Awards as one of Most Performed Songs and Top Rap Song from Rhythm & Soul Music Awards.[42][43]

Chart performance[edit]

North America[edit]

In the United States, "Nothin' on You" debuted at number on the Billboard Hot 100, spent 28 weeks on the chart and topped it on week ending May 1, 2010.[44] It stayed there for two consecutive weeks.[45][46] The single spent 34 weeks on the Hot Rap Songs chart, peaking at number one on the issue date of April 24, 2010.[47] The recording topped the Pop Songs and Rhythmic Songs, spending 22 and 29 weeks on each chart, respectively.[48][49] On the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, the song was only able to peak at number five, on its 30 weeks spent there, in the issued date of May 29, 2010.[50] As of December, 2010, "Nothin' on You " has sold 2,668,000 copies in the US.[51] Later, by September 2012, that number rose to 3,062,000 copies sold, which led it to be certified three times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[52] On the Billboard Hot 100 Year-End chart and in the Billboard Hot Rap Songs, the track placed at number 11 and one, respectively.[53][54] In Canada, the song didn't reciprocate the success it found in the United States, since it chart in the top 10 on the issue date of June 12, 2010, with 22 weeks on its chart run.[55] Nevertheless, it was certified Platinum by Music Canada (MC), denoting 80,000 copies sold.[56]


In the first week in the United Kingdom, May 29, 2010, the song topped the list, with a total of 85,333 copies, replacing Roll Deep and Jodie Connor's "Good Times" at the top of the chart.[57][58] In July 2013, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) awarded the recording a gold record by selling 400,000 copies.[59] It also debuted at number one on the UK R&B chart, succeeding Jason Derulo's "Ridin Solo".[60] The single reached number one in the Dutch Top 40, making the Netherlands the first country where it reached the top spot on a national chart, on the issue date of April 24, 2010.[61] It did so after eight weeks on the chart run and it was able to spend two consecutive weeks on the top.[61] As of May 20, 2010 the song debuted at its peak position of number seven.[62] Although it never charted in the Italian chart, it has received a gold plaque by the Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana (FIMI).[63] In Australia it debuted at number 25 in the ARIA Singles Chart and six weeks later reached its highest peak, number three.[64] It spent sixteen weeks on the Australian chart.[64] After its success in the country, the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) certified it platinum for selling 70,000 digital copies.[65] In New Zealand, the song spent eighteen weeks on the chart and it was number five for one week.[66] Grenade sold 7,500 copies sold, earning a gold certification by the Recorded Music NZ (RIANZ).[67] In South Korea, two versions of the song were released, one featuring Mars and another with Korean-American singer and ex-2PM member, Jay Park. Both versions reached number one on the South Korea International Singles (Gaon).[68][69] As of January 2016, the original version sold 431, 657 copies in South Korea.[70] On the 2010 Year End Chart list of Gaon, it was number one in South Korea.[71]

Music video[edit]

Background and concept[edit]

The music video for "Nothin' on You" was filmed in Los Angeles, California.[72] It was directed by Ethan Lader, while the animation process was conducted by George Rausch.[73] Lader explained how the animations were created, they first shot the video with a white background, he then edited it on the Final Cut Pro. It was followed by printing over 3,000 frames onto paper. The team, which consisted of 8 people, was in charge of torn by hand every one of those frames, which were animated and photographed individually with a digital camera. Finally, the frames were imported back into the Final Cut Pro. He also elucidate how the background came to live as they are also paper collages, "we took digital stills of and keyed in after animation". Lader concluded, "It was a process and a half".[73]

Development and synopsis[edit]

The stop-animation video is similar to the one used in "Womanizer" by Sliimy, also directed by Lander.[73][74] The music video for "Nothin' on You" premiered on March 9, 2010.[72] It features multiple collages of women, wearing tight and revealing clothes, taping over each other.[25][75] In the video B.o.B is seen revolving the world, in cities as London, Paris, Tokyo, Georgia (Atlanta) and New Orleans, searching for beautiful girls, as he did in his "skirt-chasing days", and the woman he has chosen is revealed towards the end of the video.[25][74][72] During the video there is a scene in which B.o.B plays guitar and sings, Mars is seen playing the drums, while Philip Lawrence plays the piano. Eugena Washington, the second runner-up of America's Next Top Model, Cycle 7, appears as one of the many girls in the video.[76] Five years after the release of the music video for "Nothin' on You", on July 10, American indie pop/rock band American Authors released a video for their song "Go Big or Go Home" with the same "paper cut-out technique". It was also directed by Ethan Lander.[77]


Alyssa Rosenberg of The Atlantic criticized many of B.o.B video clips, including the one made for "Nothin' on You", saying that it was to "literal", since the track is "about seeing pretty girls! And there are pretty girls to be seen!. However, at the time, Rosenberg thought the "collage concept" was "cute".[75] The accompanying music video for "Nothin' on You" was nominated at the 2011 MTV Video Music Aid Japan in the Best New Artist Video category.[78] It was also nominated for Video of the Year at the BET Awards 2010 and Best Hip Hop Video at 2010 BET Hip Hop Awards.[37][38]

Live performance[edit]

B.o.B and Mars made their debut performance of "Nothin' on You" at MTV Spring Break, on March 26, 2010.[79] Nearly a month later, April 20, B.o.B and Mars sung the recording at The Ellen DeGeneres Show.[80] On the next day, B.o.B belt out it alone at SOB's in New York City.[81] The single was also intone at American late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! by B.o.B and Mars, who played the guitar, both backed up by a band, on May 13, 2010.[82] Jayson Rodriguez said B.o.B was "boisterous and energetic" during the show.[82] Becky Bain from Idolator, while commenting the Jimmy Kimmel Live! appearance, thought that despite Mars and B.o.B playing the track in several places, it still sounds "lovely".[83] In the same year, on June 23, B.o.B the recording at The Wendy Williams Show.[84] A couple of days later, on June 27, B.o.B performed the song at the BET Awards pre-show.[85] B.o.B. and Bruno Mars performed a medley of "Nothin' on You" and "Airplanes" along with Hayley Williams at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards on September 12, 2010.[86] On December 1, B.o.B and Mars intone of the single at "Grammy Nominations Concert Live!!: Countdown to Music's Biggest Night" was aired.[87] On the same month, the track was sung at Z100's Jingle Ball 2010 by the same performers.[88] In 2011, the song was performed twice only by B.o.B, first on SXSW and then at SuperTraxx.[89][90] It was the eleventh song of Mars debut worldwide tour, The Doo-Wops & Hooligans Tour (2010),[91] and was seventh along with "If I Knew" (2014 set list) on his second worldwide tour, The Moonshine Jungle Tour (2013).[92] B.o.B performs the single on all his tours.

Cover versions and media usage[edit]

In 2010, Jay Park recorded a solo cover of the track and posted it on YouTube. The effect was so strong that the original version went back to the top of iTunes.[93] In the same year, American rapper XV cover the song was included in his mixtape 30 Minute Layover (2010) and Dead Prez sampled the song for his 2010 mixtape with DJ Drama titled Turn Off The Radio Volume 4: Revolutionary But Gangsta Grillz. The recording is called "The Beauty Within", with additional vocals by Antonia Jenaé.[94][95] The American group Boyce Avenue covered "Nothin' on You" along with Justin Timberlake and T.I.'s duet, "My Love" and "Rocketeer" by Far East Movement and Ryan Tedder, they included it in their sixth EP, Acoustic Sessions, Vol. 1, released on December 6, 2010.[96] In 2011, South Korean girl group Wonder Girls covered "Nothin' on You".[97] In the same year, "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded a parody of the song called "Another Tattoo", which is featured on his album Alpocalypse (2011).[98] The song is featured in the movie Just Go With It (2011).[99]

Track listing[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Mixing and mastering

  • Mixed and engineered at Levcon Studios, Hollywood, California; mastered at Sterling Sound, New York City, New York.


Credits adapted from the liner notes of B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray, Grand Hustle, Rebel Rock, Atlantic[5]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Ref
United States December 15, 2009 Digital download Atlantic Records [11]
United States February 2, 2010 Rhythmic contemporary
N/A March 29, 2010 CD single Atlantic [64]
United Kingdom April 9, 2010 Contemporary hit radio (Remix) N/A [13]
Brazil May 14, 2010 EP WEA [15]
Ireland [16]
United Kingdom [14]
May 17, 2010 Digital download Atlantic Records [17][18]
CD single [19]
Germany May 21, 2010 [20]
South Korea June 15, 2010 N/A Warner Music Group Asia Pacific [21]
United States 2010 12" single Atlantic Records [22]


  1. ^ The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees (2017) stated that Joe Tex's, "I Gotcha" has been interpolated by Wu-Tang Clan and B.o.B.'s and Mars' collaboration "Nothin' On You".


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