Soulja Boy biographySoulja Boy Lyrics
DeAndre Cortez Way (born July 28, 1990 in Chicago, Illinois), better known by his stage name Soulja Boy Tell 'Em, or simply Soulja Boy, is an American rapper. In September 2007, his single "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. He produced his whole album Souljaboytellem.com using just the demo version of FL Studio.
At age six, Way moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he developed a love for rap music alongside his then partner Young Kwon, who taught him how to make repetitive beats and record himself saying the same thing over and over and introduced him to snap beats, according to Way. Right before he dropped out in 8th grade, he moved to Batesville, Mississippi with his father.
In November 2005 Soulja Boy, along with another rapper "Arab" posts his songs on the music-based social community SoundClick. Following positive reviews on SoundClick, Soulja Boy opens a YouTube account on January 13, 2006 so "... people can put your face to the things you spitting." The following month Soulja expanded onto MySpace to increase his fan base. A year later in March 2007 he would record "Crank That" and release his first independent album Unsigned and Sill Major. On April 11th a low budget video is filmed demonstrating the "Soulja Boy" dance. By the end of May 2007 "Crank That" receives its first air play and Soulja Boy meets with Mr. Collipark to sign a deal with Interscope Records. August 12, 2007, the song appears on the Emmy-award winning HBO series Entourage and by September 1st it has broken into the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and tops the Billboard Hot RingMasters chart.
Soulja Boy, like many other crunk and snap music rap artists from the south, has come under criticism for his musical style. Similar to those other artists (such as D4L and Dem Franchise Boys), the main criticisms have been that his songs are low in quality lyrical content and have no real meaning or purpose. This is especially prevalent from the "Hip Hop is Dead" movement who think that modern crunk and snap music does not live up to the many great artists of the past.
Nobodysmiling.com said, "Think of Soulja Boy as sort of a Lil Jon for mentally disabled teenagers and pre-teens, that means don’t expect to hear much in the way of metaphors and narratives, just crunk-ass music.". The Daily Yo also says, "If anyone has not yet embraced the fact that hip-hop, through a main-stream perspective, is a dying breed; after listening to the musical styling of Soulja Boy in his debut album, Souljaboytellem.com., I'm sure that the truth will become evident.". The Review says "Soulja Boy seems to think irritating repetition mixed with loads of moans and groans are enough to replace any skillful presentation of words.", and "Soulja Boy, making no effort to persuade his audience otherwise, offers little diversions from stereotypic garbage rap lyrics." Many other hip hop and music critics dub Soulja Boy the "Nickelback of hip hop".Although his debut album, Souljaboytellem.com, had a somewhat positive review (All Music Guide gave it 3.5/5 stars), in general it has not been received well by critics. TheDailyYo gave it 1/5 stars, 411Mania 3/10, NappyAfro 1/5, Okayplayer 1.5/5, Rap Reviews 3/10, and The Review 0.5/5.
Further criticism of Soulja Boy came from rappers and others within the business. In an October 18, 2007 article on Yahoo.com, rap veteran Snoop Dogg was quoted as saying, about Soulja Boy and other new rap artists (such as those aforementioned) "They're not making substance material — they're not really going into creating a sound. It's all about making the hot song for right now, but the artists who will stand the test of time like myself are about making records, not songs. You got to make a quality album so you can hold people's attention. It's like a movie. If you make a movie that got (only) one good scene, ain't nobody gonna go see it." Jermaine Dupri added "That's just a business mind-set for the record companies ... instead of artist development, they're looking for that. It makes the record companies not want to artist-develop the groups anymore because that's what they're into — they want to try and sell as many ringtones as possible." Even rapper 50 Cent said "Right now the state of where we are at in hip-hop, it's different. I don't think they want the lyrics to be complex — they want it to be simple, catchy. The Southern-based artist can be credited (with) that, because they're dancing, so now your record has to pretty much be catchy. It doesn't have to be super content, extreme content. It has to have a good rhythm to it and dance."
However, Soulja Boy himself has tried to somewhat combat some of the criticism. In the same interview he said that lyrical complexity and high content in his songs is not something that potential buyers of his music are interested in, saying "People don't want to go to a club and hear (about) people getting shot or hear about your life story," he says. "People want to ... have fun and dance and party."