I was 13 years old in 2010, living my life in Malaysia with my only form of music consumption was from the radio, namely pop-music radio. I still remember very distinctly that there were two songs that defined that year for me — B.o.B’s “Airplanes” and Tinie Tempah’s “Written in the Stars“.
Maybe I’m a sucker for motivational raps with melodramatic hooks (still kinda am, to be honest), but these songs were inescapable back then. You’d hear them blaring everywhere, from the gym to the mall to your cool aunt’s car.
Both were rappers that dabbled heavily in pop-rap who blew up out of nowhere in 2010, with B.o.B hailing from the US and Tinie from the UK.
Since then whenever their names are brought up, a wave of nostalgia washes over me. Naturally, I got a little curious about how’d they’ve been doing after their sudden burst of fame.
B.o.B’s career implosion has been pretty well documented, but I just can’t help but wonder how these then promising pop-rappers have done in a decade since their big break.
Top charting songs
Colour me shocked when I found out “Airplanes” never reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 (it peaked at #2), instead, the Bruno Mars-featuring “Nothin’ On You” accomplished that feat.
He’d gone on to score two more top 10 hits with “Strange Clouds” and “Magic”, with an additional 16 songs that also charted. However, each subsequent release charted lower than the last, with his Trey Songz collab “Not For Long” peaking at #80 in 2015.
After that, he disappears from the charts completely despite releasing 6 more studio albums since.
Up till now, Tinie Tempah had only charted 2 songs on the Hot 100, “Written in the Stars” at #12 and “Till I’m Gone” with Wiz Khalifa at #90. He’s never hit it big in the US, but his career back in the UK tells a whole different story.
7 UK number 1s and an additional 8 others that hit the top 10, with his last charting single being “Text From Your Ex” with Tinashe in early 2017. He’s released a couple more singles in that same year that failed to chart, but Tinie’s been relatively quiet since then.
WINNER: Tinie Tempah
Overall, Tinie has had a longer-lasting career even if both artists have been succeeding in different countries.
Streams + Youtube Views
Tinie Tempah has 3.3 million monthly listeners on Spotify, with his most streamed song “Girls Like” with 252 million listens. B.o.B has 7.8 million listeners with “Airplanes” reaching 292 million listens as of 30/08/2019.
Despite falling into relative obscurity, B.o.B still manages to maintain a solid enough fan base, whereas Tinie seems to have failed at attracting a consistent listening audience.
Top charting albums
B.o.B has charted 5 albums on the Billboard 200 so far but each release performed worse than the last. His debut B.o.B Presents: The Adventures Of Bobby Ray reached #1 and his followup Strange Clouds peaked at #2. After that, it went downhill with his last charting album — 2017’s Ether only hitting #197.
Once again Tinie Tempah’s performance on this chart really hammers home the fact that he never really blew up in the US. His only charting record — Disc-Overy peaking at #21 in 2011.
Over in the UK, the performance of his 3 studio albums was a lot stronger but still underwhelming nonetheless. Disc-Overy hit #1, his sophomore album Demonstration reached #3, and album number three Youth peaked at #9.
WINNER: Tinie Tempah
B.o.B has had more placements atop the US charts but his performance across the years have dwindled so much that his latter records are barely worth mentioning in comparison to his debut.
Tinie, on the other hand, has had a pretty solid run despite less-than-stellar sales after Disc-Overy. His discography does pale in comparison to B.o.B’s though. Still, Tinie went out strong (he hasn’t released anything since 2012) instead of fizzling out, so the victory goes to him.
Tinie is just a lot more consistent than B.o.B. Numbers don’t lie.