Soulja Boy

Soulja Boy reigned as one of the kings of the late 2000s. Before dropping some of the defining anthems of the decade, DeAndre Way was unknowingly becoming the pioneer of online music. With access to YouTube, Myspace, and Fruity Loops, Soulja Boy uploaded his songs to services like SoundClick to distribute his music. In 2007, the rapper dropped “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” online, a song that would change the direction of not only his career, but hip-hop itself. A homemade music video followed the track’s release, detailing the “Crank That” dance. It was infectious, to say the least, and soon propelled the rapper into a teenage rap icon status (and a deal with Interscope Records). The track was even nominated for Best Rap Song at the 50th Grammy Awards, but lost to Kanye West’s “Good Life.”

Souljaboytellem.com, the rapper’s debut studio album, featured “Crank That (Soulja Boy).” The project was followed up by his second studio album, iSouljaBoyTellem, which changed many critics’ perception of the rapper as a one-hit wonder. Tracks like “Kiss Me Thru the Phone” and “Turn My Swag On” had the same contagious spirit of “Crank That,” with powerful yet simple hooks. In 2010, Soulja Boy released The DeAndre Way, which included features from 50 Cent, Trey Songz, and Gucci Mane. Though the album did not garner much commercial success, it was supported by the track “Pretty Boy Swag,” his most recent song to appear in the top 10 of the Billboard charts.  

Since then, the rapper has released a series of mixtapes and singles. In addition to releasing new music, Soulja Boy has had many memorable interviews, including his infamous Breakfast Club appearance. During these interviews, Soulja hawked his now-discontinued gaming console, dissed Drake, and even had smoke for Kanye West. The rapper’s reappearance only proves his outrageous yet bold presence will continue to remain relevant. We’ll just have to keep up with his Instagram Live sessions to catch what’s next.