This grandoise pomp rock number, which is built around one chord, draws upon Dave Eggers' What is the What for its lyrical inspiration. The 2006 novel is based on the real life story of Sudanese refugee Valentino Achak Deng. Thomas said in publicity materials: "You know how it is when you're in a book, you're living in that space. This is the first time I've ever done a song where I didn't really write down the lyrics; I just sang them."
Thomas told The Canadian Press that this stirring depiction of struggle and destruction amongst Sudanese isn't a political song per se, "It's a political situation, or a situation drawn out of politics, but it wasn't a political song," he said. "It is a human song."
When "Nothin' On You" reached #1 on the Hot 100, B.o.B became the first American act whose name is a palindrome to top the chart. The other two who did so prior to the Atlanta rapper were both Scandinavian groups - ABBA and A-Ha.