The rapper BoB has experienced a major uplift in exposure over the past few days after tweeting his apparently sincerely held belief that the world is flat.
Grammy-nominated artist BoB, otherwise known as Bobby Ray Simmons Jr, posted a number of tweets giving 'evidence' that scientific wisdom regarding the Earth being round is a mass deception.
“A lot of people are turned off by the phrase ‘flat earth," he tweeted. "But there’s no way u can see all the evidence and not know... grow up.”
He also claimed to have seen for himself that the Earth has no curvature: "I was on a plane the SAME time the Red Bull jump happened," he wrote in another tweet. "The pilot told us to lookout the window.. 5 miles to the left was the balloon. We were flying at the SAME altitude as the guy who did the red bull jump... NO curve... even tho their footage shows otherwise."
BoB has 2.3 million Twitter followers. His debut album, B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray topped the Billboard 200 album chart in 2010, and he's known for hits singles including Nothin' on You (a UK number 1 in 2010), Strange Clouds and So Good.
His tweets quickly garnered a huge amount of attention, including from Neil deGrasse Tyson, a prominent American astrophysicist, who posted rebuttals to some of of BoB’s evidence.
Tyson later tweeted BoB to say: "Being five centuries regressed in your reasoning doesn’t mean we all can’t still like your music." The rapper replied: "Why can't the curvature of the earth be measured anywhere in nature? why does only NASA have photos of the curve ? r u a mason?"
BoB also posted a 'diss track' to Soundcloud, titled Flatline, in which he samples a recording of Tyson discussing the shape of the Earth, and encourages listeners to to their own research into his claims.
BoB isn't alone in his thinking. According to Google Trends, over the last few months there's been a steep rise in the number of people searching 'Is the Earth flat?'