Getty | Joseph Cultice
The pair's musical friendship started with a text out of the blue.
"I got a text one day: 'Hey. I know this is random, but this is Taylor Swift,'" the rapper tells AOL Music Blog as he recreates the stunned look of disbelief he first got when he looked at his phone. "Nobody gets that text message! But it was her."
Swift was preparing to come to Atlanta on her Speak Now tour and wanted to invite some of her favorite local rappers to join her on stage. B.o.B was out of town and couldn't make it (T.I. and Young Jeezy ended up performing with her that night), but the pop superstar wasn't about to give up on one of her favorite hip-hop artists that easily.
"She actually looked at my schedule and said, 'I see you're going to be near Dallas. How about I bring you to Dallas?' And I'm like, 'Yes! Let's do it!' So she brought me out to Dallas and that's when we talked."
B.o.B played Swift a demo version of "Strong Enough," and she immediately fell for the song's message of love and hope.
"She was like "I love it!' Before it was halfway in, she was all for it."
The rapper is still a little overwhelmed by just how much she adored the song.
"I don't want to say I didn't think she was going to like it, but I wasn't expecting that type of response."
He's also genuinely happy with how everything worked out. The way he sees it, if he'd been able to make it to Atlanta that night, the story behind "Strong Enough" could have been very cold and clinical -- and that collaboration might never have materialized at all.
"There would have been so much going on," says B.o.B. "I probably wouldn't have had a chance to play the song. I think it was supposed to happen that way. Those are the intangible things you can't mastermind, you can't plan or you can't set up a conference call for. That was a good moment for me, because features like that usually happen in a very, very corporate way, but it just happened artist-to-artist and I love that part about it."
Watch B.o.B and Taylor Swift's "Both of Us" Video