No song better encapsulates the dilemma that is engaging with new rap music in 2013.

As we see it, as a rap listener, you have a few options, each in increasing order of preference:

  • You're a kid who blithely ignores the social and psychic consequences of hip-hop that seemingly has no tether with reality, reveling in its reading of catchphrases that celebrate and glorify consumerism, sexism, drug abuse and violence, unconcerned about the potential harm caused by uncritical 3-minute viral advertisements for socially deviant behavior because, what the hell. Take this too far and you end up with "Drug That Hoe."
  • You retreat into a place of moral and political righteousness and disengage from the genre nearly completely, only venturing out when you hear a politically conscientious act has released a single that will never in 3.8 million years appeal to 99% of the populace that doesn't work in academia or think the solution to a politically-disengaged populace is trading in relevance for righteousness.
  • You operate on a case-by-case basis, engaging with the music so as to understand the shape of it as it actually exists, not as you wish it did, but remain vigilant or, at the very least, skeptical, confident that great art can be found everywhere, but aware that there are real consequences to ignoring or waving away the possibly-toxic byproducts of these popular confections.

Soulja Boy poses a particular challenge these days. His music is completely unusual, but somehow also derivative. It trend-hops, but ignores certain mainstream trends completely. He's been a star since he was a kid, basically, so hearing him spit drug dealer slang like a nu-Master P is distracting and weird. This is also a completely unoriginal song—every single hammered catchphrase and ad-lib has been done before (except maybe "swin-ag"?). The video is naseautingly shot, unable to focus in one place for longer than a split second. In essence: Soulja confounds every attempt to make sense of his music.

And yet .... it is somehow hypnotic, hip-hop reduced to fragments and slogans, intriguing despite being politically indefensible.

We elect to overthink it. In conclusion, this song is just OK.

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