B.o.B. has no problem with Beyoncé's surprise album release last month. Just its timing.
"It's like, 'Dang, couldn't you have waited for 2014!' " he tells Billboard with a laugh. His third album, "Underground Luxury," dropped just four days after "Beyoncé" appeared and gobbled up the spotlight, but B.o.B. hastens to add that there's certainly no hard feelings. "It was definitely, like, Whoa.. She showed the world how powerful an artist can be, and at the same time how powerful the Internet is. That's how to end the year, y'know? She ended with a bang."
B.o.B. meanwhile, hopes that "Underground Luxury" – which debuted at No. 22 on the Billboard 200 – is at least heard amidst the noise, too.
"This album is all about me," he explains. "I executive-produced it, and I think it turned out the way it did because I needed to say the things I'm saying on this album. I needed to tell my story. I needed to let people know who I am and let people know the thoughts that are on my mind. With success sometimes you feel like you're shot out of a cannon and you don't want people to be distracted by the explosion. So I think it's just uncensored. It's unfiltered. It's just about me telling my story."
B.o.B. says he also "let myself have fun" on the eclectic, 15-track set. "If I felt like talking about my past, the I talked about it. If I felt like making a club record, then I made a club record. It's just me doing exactly what I wanted to do. I never had this much fun making an album. It's really kind of empowering."
B.o.B. plans to tour in support of "Underground Luxury," which features guest appearances by Future, Chris Brown, 2 Chainz, Ester Dean, Priscilla Renea, T.I. and others. He's also gearing up for the launch of his own label, which he hasn't named yet.
"It's probably going to come from a lyric off my album," B.o.B. says – although he is starting to recruit artists. And he has other musical projects of his own in motion, including a long-promised rock EP.
"That's definitely coming," B.o.B. promises. "I have a lot of projects that I'm working on. I"m really juggling a lot. I'm having fun in the process because I'm doing things I've never done before. I'm really producing projects that show I'm understanding music better than I ever have. I know I'll get everything done and out, hopefully sooner than later."