B.o.B was virtually unknown when Chang Weisberg decided to follow his gut instinct and bill the young kid from North Carolina up front on the 2008 Rock the Bells tour. Two years and Grand Hustle Records (T.I.’s label) contract later, Weisberg’s belly turns out to be on the mark: B.o.B is absolutely killing it.

After 19 weeks on the charts, B.o.B and Hayley Williams’ crossover hit “Airplanes” is still sitting at #11 on the Billboard top 20, has scored over 48, 337, 242 youtube hits, and has probably been heard in every Williams coffee shop at least four times per day over the past 5 months. That damn chorus we all hate to love is literally inescapable.

Aware as I am that even multi-million dollar tracks aren’t made in the studio these days, I was still surprised that after five months of this track’s omni presence, the two who made it still hadn’t met until yesterday’s MTV VMA rehearsals. Some have already shook their fingers and quip that this is the stuff of “pop” music, but that idea is merely a romantic one; hip-hop, because it is sample oriented, has always been a genre of music that doesn’t prerequisite face-to-face interaction for an authentic “collaboration” to take place (though it doesn’t always end well, i.e. the recent trial Snoop Dogg vs. Michael Henderson, Miles Davis’ bassist).

But I still didn’t believe it, and scoured the video to see if this was just a hype generator (always a skeptic).

It’s amazing what can be missed when you’re not looking for it.

MTV VMA’s – Tonight at 9. Red Carpet at 8.