Many emcees have rags-to-riches stories, but B.o.B.’s may set itself apart.

In an interview with Shaheem Reid for Jay-Z’s Life+Times, Bobby Ray explained the meaning behind his upcoming album, Underground Luxury, and the experience that informed the theme of the it.

“[Underground Luxury is about] coming from nothing, literally, to making it to the top, or the proverbial top. This album, it really speaks to people who are in that situation or who came from that type of situation.”

“Me and my family stayed in an apartment, we got evicted from that apartment,” said the rapper. “My dad was a carpenter. He was building us a house. I know it sounds crazy, like some fairytale…but he was literally building a house, three-story house, for us to live in.”

B.o.B. and his family were forced to live in the home while his father was building it. “We had to move into this motherfucker. A wooden frame. Like, literally, there was holes in the floor where steps to the basement was supposed to go. It was a big, twelve-foot drop. We lived in it, we were covered up in plastic. There were no outside walls. There were no bricks, no siding, no nothing. It was just wrapped in black plastic. You could literally fall out the house.”

“If you wanted hot water, you had to microwave it. If you wanted cold drinks, we had to put it in the cooler. When the sun went down, we had to go to sleep, because we ain’t have no lights.”

Ultimately, the experience was a character-builder and source of inspiration for B.o.B. “It’s crazy because that’s where I come from…and it gave the drive that got me to where I’m at.”

Watch the interview below:

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