This week’s edition of Why This Song Sucks carefully analyzes the most scientific rap battle we’ve ever seen. Not the battle between KRS-One and his braids, nor Meek Mill and the gravity of his own face. Something far bigger and greater.
History: B.o.B is a rapper from Atlanta. In terms of that city's rap power rankings, he's probably somewhere near Cash Out but nowhere above Young Dro. Which is to say, outside of his core fan base, very few people are looking for a B.o.B project in 2016. This, given his career trajectory as early as 2012, is fascinating. He became popular for making songs Lupe Fiasco didn’t want into hits with “Nothing On You” and “Airplanes” in 2010, to a lesser extent with “Strange Clouds” and “So Good” in 2012, and then went with more sensible subject matter on “We Still In This Bitch” and “HeadBand” in 2013.
Lately, B.o.B has overtaken Fiasco as the most woke and hotep of all rap bodies on Twitter. If Prodigy of Mobb Deep was among the first to rap about the Illuminati, then B.o.B has to be the first in history ever to involve the world's most noted astrophysicist in a rap beef. Over what, you ask? Whether or not the Earth is flat.
First, the notion that the Earth was flat was disproven by Aristotle, but plenty of people still question this. B.o.B is one of them. He came to his conclusion while on an airplane, presumably high, and then decided to go deeper and deeper into his theory. It's now lasted three days as the most insufferable Twitter argument of 2016.
To further back his claims, B.o.B released a diss record toward Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Yes, COSMOS's own Neil DeGrasse Tyson, just to prove his theory and that all of us people who don’t believe we’re revolving on a plate are stupid and not woke. What did Neil DeGrasse Tyson do? He sicced his nephew, a rapper ironically named Tyson, to spar for him.
Welcome to the first rap beef of 2016. Seriously.
SONG: B.o.B, “Flatline”
B.o.B’s opening bars declare NDT as a mason with his vest too tight; that "Flatline" is some real content over standard trap drums; and that people are probably going to come after him. Globalists, mostly. And that NASA is part of the Department of Defense. Well, he did tell us to Wiki David Irving (guy who believes the Holocaust never happened, a noted anti-Semite) and Richard Sauder (believes the government is working with UFOs); that Stalin was worse than Hitler; that Jews actually run the world, and a bunch of other "woke" conspiracy-theory concepts with NDT thrown in the middle. I guess it's also worth noting that B.o.B has been on this *woke* kit for his last two tapes, called WATER and FIRE, that have largely gone ignored. See, you can't rap about Freemasons and jet fuel melting steel beams over anything and expect it to work.
Does It Suck? Read back that last paragraph and tell me if any of it makes sense to you. Conspiracy theorist or not, B.o.B has entered supreme woke territory, where all conspiracies are tied to one another including the moon landing, 9/11 and Hulk Hogan body-slamming Andre the Giant. B.o.B is now Rap Game Alex Jones.
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SONG: Tyson, “Flat to Fact”
Neil DeGrasse Tyson's nephew Stephen J. Tyson literally sounds as if Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory had to win a rap battle. Thanks to Drake's "Back to Back," he not only sends shots at B.o.B but knocks off Donald Trump and Stacey Dash...all while saying his education is going to change the nation. There are so many "Are you serious?" quotables on "Flat to Fact" that you have to wonder, how did we even get here? How did we get to a point where a thin-voiced rap kid is accusing B.o.B of smoking bad marijuana and generally being smarter about the punch lines? All without mentioning that B.o.B effectively quit school in the ninth grade? That’s word to Carl Sagan and Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Wait, can we get Bill Nye in on this? Or Miss Frizzle from the Magic School Bus? Please?
Does It Suck? Remember in 8 Mile when B-Rabbit didn’t choke in his first battle against Lickety Split? This is the astrophysicist version of that. Also, it kind of proves that science guys are actually more teflon and gangster than we presume. Only Neil DeGrasse Tyson would use his nephew as a shooter to fight his battles for him. And win.
Winner: Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Because I’m pretty sure NDT could come up with a sentence or two that will effectively humble us all and make us feel uneducated and unequipped to battle him. As for B.o.B, the effect of his hotep theorem has worked, at least in a marketing sense. Nobody was talking about FIRE or WATER before, but “Flatline” has charted higher on Soundcloud than much of B.o.B’s recent material. We’re still fans over here, Bobby Ray — just know that you’re never, ever going to fall off the Earth in a physical sense.