Bruno Mars Reacts to Dethroning Rihanna

Singer Bruno Mars may not have an album out just yet, but he surely has reason to celebrate after he helped displace Rihanna from her spot atop the Billboard Hot 100 last week. The 23-year-old Hawaii native, who sings the hook to “beautiful girls, all over the world,” on B.o.B’s infectious track “Nothin’ on You,” heard the news of the rapper’s jump to No. 1 while performing in his home state.

“I actually [was] forced to celebrate in Hawaii,” Bruno tells Rap-Up.com. “I booked a gig there. It was a perfect time being at home with my family while it was No. 1; that’s an amazing feeling.” While Mars was excited to relish the moment in front of his fans, he wasn’t able to tip his fedora hat to B.o.B, who was busy promoting the release of his debut album, B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray. “This week is gonna be the first time I’ve seen B.o.B since it’s been No. 1 on the charts,” Bruno reveals. “He’s touring everywhere. He has to do [‘Nothin’ on You’] without me. For my shows, we wrote a little remix, a special live version where we perform a verse and we sing the hook.”

As for knocking Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” off its pedestal, Bruno, who is also part of the production camp The Smeezingtons, felt the accomplishment was well-deserved. “I was happy because we worked so hard,” he continues, “we felt like, ‘If this song doesn’t go, we’re in the wrong business,’ ’cause we never believed in a song so much.”

For years, The Smeezingtons—comprised of Bruno, Phil Lawrence, and Ari Levine—would create records featuring Bruno on the hook, only to have A&R reps replace his vocals with an artist of their choice. “Finally I’m singing the hook and they didn’t replace me with anybody else,” Bruno joyfully exclaims. “They kept me on the hook. When B.o.B put his verses in, it was such a special contrast song. [Rihanna] had her shine, now can we get ours, please?”

Bruno Mars’ EP, It’s Better If You Don’t Understand, is set for release on May 11. Listen to one of the four cuts, “Somewhere in Brooklyn,” below.

–Georgette Cline