The American rapper, Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr, otherwise known as B.o.B, believes the world to be flat.

If you were unaware of this, one: congratulations for avoiding the internet for the past few weeks, and two: I will repeat, B.o.B believes that the Earth is not round, but is flat, and that the world governments, along with NASA, are covering this up as part of a global conspiracy.

B.o.B is not the first to make these accusations. Former Myspace star, Tila Tequila, also took to Twitter to challenge our understanding of a spherical Earth. Both B.o.B and Tequila have stated that if they were to suddenly disappear, it is because of a government cover-up, and have called on people to do their own research to discover “the truth”.

“B.o.B believes that the Earth is not round, but is flat, and that the world governments, along with NASA, are covering this up as part of a global conspiracy.”

B.o.B’s foray into the world of science only gained further attention, however, as the internationally renowned scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson took it upon himself to set B.o.B and his fellow ‘Flat-Earth’ theorists straight, via the power of Twitter.

Tyson replied to B.o.B’s tweeted assertion that, if the world was indeed ball-shaped, surely New York City would not be visible from Harriman State Park’s Bear Mountain? Tyson flew in to explain the flaws in the rappers seemingly watertight logic, as well as his mathematical errors, in fewer than 140 characters. Despite the fracas, Tyson ended his barrage of tweets with this – “@bobatl Duude — to be clear: Being five centuries regressed in your reasoning doesn’t mean we all can’t still like your music”, which is either a surprisingly gracious end or an amazing mic drop depending on how you view it.

“Tyson replied to B.o.B’s tweeted assertion that, if the world was indeed ball-shaped, surely New York City would not be visible from Harriman State Park’s Bear Mountain?”

B.o.B seemed to take this as a challenge though, and released the song ‘Flatline’ on SoundCloud, which now can be found all over YouTube, in which he slams Tyson personally, espousing: “Neil Tyson need to loosen up his vest / Probably write the man one hell of a cheque”. Frankly, it’s about time somebody called out Tyson for his part in covering up this despicable conspiracy.

Drama aside, this is where Impact Music comes in. You see, amongst the mayhem that the fight has caused, there is a distinct lack of reviews of ‘Flatline’.

The beat is minimal (not surprising considering how quickly it was put together), but it provides a nice backing track. The build up is good, with the music and beginning part of the rap slowly gaining speed to hype up the song. In fact, if you could ignore the lyrics, with a few more tweaks like getting rid of some of the jarring effects, it’s not bad.

Unfortunately, we cannot ignore the lyrics. The opening lines start well – “You ain’t seen my best / Checkmate in a game of chess,” which wouldn’t look out of place in any other rap track. However, after this, things start to go from bad, to worse, to batshit crazy, very, very quickly. B.o.B is quick to call out Tyson, as mentioned before, although it’s questionable whether attacking his dress sense rather than his logic is the right way to go. He also uses an out of context recording of Tyson to back up his claims but within the song makes no real mention of the ‘Flat-Earth’ conspiracy directly, beyond the frankly abysmal chorus of “Flatline, flatline”.

What’s even more worrying, and potentially even harmful, are the other references. Call outs to the Free Masons, Dr Richard Sauder, who has written books detailing the secret underground bases he believes have been built by the U.S. government and, most worrying, David Irving, most infamous for denying the Holocaust. This is only exacerbated by the prominent lyric “Stalin was way worse than Hitler”. Why no one appears to be discussing this is concerning, although it may be because it would change the situation from seemingly harmless conspiracy theorists yelling on Twitter, into much more dangerous and volatile accusations.

“B.o.B, however, has repeatedly stated this isn’t for attention and that he is not on any drugs (the two most likely explanations).”

The story does not end with this track however. Tyson’s nephew, Stephen Tyson, hit back with a diss track of his own, entitled ‘Flat to Fact’, probably referencing Drake’s diss track to Meek Mill ‘Back to Back’. This previously unknown rapper’s track is also fairly good, even managing to get in digs about Donald Trump feeding such conspiracy theories, and finally accusing B.o.B. of just using this conflict to get attention.

B.o.B, however, has repeatedly stated this isn’t for attention and that he is not on any drugs (the two most likely explanations). This is backed up by the fact that ‘Flat-Earth’ is not the only thing that has absorbed his attention. In November and December 2015, a series of tweets with #StopHumanCloning appeared in his timeline. B.o.B claims that this is the real reason the Egyptians kept their organs (yes, it apparently does go that far back), tweeted that “Clones don’t have dreams, they can’t gain weight, and they can’t grow hair…who are you sleeping next to?”, and posits the question “You ever wonder why it’s illegal to explore Antarctica or the North Pole?”, suggesting that these decidedly freezing areas are in fact cloning hotbeds.

“[B.o.B] posits the question “You ever wonder why it’s illegal to explore Antarctica or the North Pole?”, suggesting that these decidedly freezing areas are in fact cloning hotbeds.”

Of course, in reality, it isn’t illegal to explore either, just highly dangerous due to the climate, terrain, and wildlife. But, if he’s willing to, can we all chip in to send B.o.B to the North Pole to see for himself? Or, even crazier, let’s send him on a trip round the Earth in a straight line to see if he ends up where he began. We can call it the #FlatEarthTour2016.

So, finally, who do you believe? Is the Earth spherical? Or is that just what the government wants you to think? Has B.o.B lost his mind? Is Tyson hiding something? Do we even care? If it wasn’t for Kanye versus Wiz dominating the headlines, I’m sure it’s all we’d be talking about.

Abigail Houseman

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