The first single and title track from Atlanta rapper B.o.B's second album is 3 minutes 47 seconds of bass heavy bragging. In the first verse, the southern spitter swanks about his meticulous rhyming, declaring, "I do my job exceptionally, on point like a decimalist." Guest Lil Wayne steps in at 1:17, with his own boasts announcing "I'm top dog, you top ramen, I'm top dog," The track features some club-rap production from hitmaker Dr. Luke (Britney Spears, Kesha, Katy Perry) and was released October 3, 2011.
B..o.B discussed the song, while stopping by Atlanta's V-103, The Ryan Cameron Show. "Wayne actually got on it pretty quick," he said. "It was a quick turnaround. We were kind of debating on it, man, but we just felt like this is the song that should go first. I feel really strong about it and I like to take my time with music."
It appears that both rappers had been smoking plenty of weed around the time this song was composed. "All we do is light it up, all night, all you see is strange clouds," B.o.B. declares. Whilst, despite still being on parole after his stint in Rikers, Weezy is still "smokin' on that strong, that Arnold Schwarzenegger."
In another smoke-filled lyric, B.O.B. namechecks the ice skater Nancy Kerrigan, using her as a metaphor for his sexual prowess. "I hit her with that pipe, call that Nancy Kerrigan," the Atlanta MC raps. "Stay on the greenest greens, call us vegetarians." The rapper is alluding to the most famous incident in Kerrigan's skating career when she was clubbed in the right knee with a collapsible police baton at the 1994 US Figure Skating Championship. The assault was planned by rival Tonya Harding's former husband Jeff Gillooly and friend Shawn Eckardt.
Other songs that reference the infamous assault on the skater include "Terrible" by Insane Clown Posse ("Oh my god! look at that turn it up please/ Poor Nancy Kerrigan's sweet little knees/ Somebody took a black thing and went thump/ That's TEEERRRIBlE!") and "War" by Cam'ron ("Can't be nice right? Can't be arrogant/ I stab a bitch over ice, 'Nancy Kerrigan'/ Slash Tonya Harding, see the mobster's mobbing").
B.o.B told Billboard magazine he chose the album title to reflect his maturity as an artist. "It's reflective of the growth, and how my perspective has changed," he explained. "As the hip-hop community is becoming more influential to the world, I feel like we shed light on topics that are necessary to be addressed in order to progress socially. And 'Strange Clouds' is like a hybrid -- the sci-fi with the organic… It's all about art, it's all about music, and I feel like this album is going to be a classic."
When B.o.B first heard Dr Luke's instrumental he just saw it as something to rhyme on. "I was actually in mixtape mode when I heard it, so I just really wanted to go in on the beat. A hook came to me, and it kind of started to stick out to me the more and more I listened to it, and it ended up being the title track for the album," said B.o.B to MTV News. "I wanted to get an artist on it who could really bring it even more to life, the whole concept of 'Strange Clouds.'"