Soulja Boy: Haterz Everywhere
For the past 18 months that entrepreneurial-minded young man, Soulja Boy, has been ridin high off the heat generated from Crank That (Soulja Boy), his #1 summer 07 smash. Hate it or love it, the catchy (or grating and repetitive to some) dance tutorial became the biggest body rockin movement since the Kid N Play kick step 20 years ago, which helped SB garner a platinum plaque for major-label debut, Souljaboytellem.com.
The now 18-year-old superstar is preparing for the December 16th release of his second Collipark Music/Interscope Records backed effort, iSouljaboytellem, and attempting to pull off one of the most difficult moves for any new artist with a hit record: releasing a follow-up that can match the commercial success of his first release to help him avoid the dreaded sophomore jinx and actually start building something resembling a reputable career.
However, it has become increasingly clear that many fans and artists alike are working overtime to ensure that doesnt happen and Soulja Boy goes down in music infamy as another one-hit wonder. HipHopDX recently spoke to SB about all the hate thats been directed at him from listeners who believe his minimalist production and chant-heavy rhyme style is the death of more polished and lyrically adept Hip Hop, journalists who Soulja Boy believes are purposefully trying to trip him up to make statements that will irreputably damage his career, and even elder-statesman artists who insist on registering grievances about the activities of this new generation of the culture, choosing to be bitter rather than do better than their newfound competition. Those who seem to have forgotten that actions always speak louder than words. Those who seem to be oblivious to the fact that they are rapidly becoming the grumpy old man (or woman) who serves to only alienate, and squanders any chance he or she could have at reaching the youth and showing and proving what classic Hip Hop music sounds like. Those, who if not careful are going to be deserving of words similar to those a then 25-year-old Tupac Shakur aimed at his largely older detractors: All you old rappers tryin to advance/Its all over now, take it like a man.
HipHopDX: Lets just get right to the question everybody in Hip Hop is asking right about now: Whyd you give a shout out to the slave masters [click to read]?
Soulja Boy: Basically this how the whole story went downI was at BET in Atlanta. I was filming the last episode of Rap City. And the dude Toure walked up to me and he said, Hey man, can I get you for an interview? And I was like, Hell nah, man, get out my face. Because, I seen an interview that he did before with Bow Wow [click to read] and Omarion, and basically like heI didnt really take him serious as no real interviewer because I seen the interview that he did with them. And I seen an interview that he did with R Kelly, and basically he was just like trying to make a fool out of them. So [when he asked me for an interview] I was like, Dude, Im straight. Watch out. Go on. Go away. And then after that my management team came to me and they was like, Man, you gotta do the interview. Thatd be good promotion for the album. So I was like, Alright, Ill do it. So as soon as I did the interview, the first question he asked me a dumb-ass question. He said, How do I wanna die? And I was like, Aww man, see I said I didnt wanna do [the interview] in the first place. I was like, What the hell kinda question is that, dawg? And then the second question, he asked meBy this point Im joking back and forth with him. Cause like, I think Im a funny dude. So Im joking back and forth with the dude. Then the comment that I made, he really just took it and blew it out of context. I was being sarcastic. But I was being funny at the wrong place at the wrong time, and it came back and bit me in the ass. Cause he took what I said and just blew it up and sent it to everybody. And it was just everywhere. And I was just like, Damn. Well I messed up, cause I told myself I wasnt gonna do the interview with dude in the first place. Cause I already knew what he was out for. He wasnt out for no real interview. He was out for me to say something stupid so he can hurt me with [it]. And thats what he did. So you know, it is what it is. Man, fuck Toure.
DX: Like you said, its blown all out there now. Do you think haters are just using this quote as an opening to try and take Soulja Boy down?
Soulja Boy: Exactly, man. Thats what they been waiting for. And I steered so clear away from that for so long. And I just knew, when I seen dude I was like, Man. I had a bad feeling just looking at dude. It is what it is though. I messed up. I told myself, I said, If I ever see dude I aint gon never do no interview with him. Cause I seen what he did to Bow Wow. And he got me. It is what it is. Fuck him.
DX: You seem to not really give a shit about what most people think about you. So how do you deal with the hate so it doesnt make you just wanna give up and quit?
Soulja Boy: Man, I got too much money to give up, dog. Hell nah.
Soulja Boy: Dog, in six months I done made over seven figures. Like if I stop rappin right now, man, Id be straight for the rest of my life. But, I dont wanna take that approach. I wanna continue to do what I wanna do, period. I wanna come out with a video game. I wanna come out with a cartoon. I wanna be in movies. I wanna keep droppin albums. I wanna make music for people who like my music. I wanna go on tour. I wanna put my homeboys on and put them on the map and let them rap and do they thang. So I cant let negative comments and haters stop me from all of this just because somebody say Soulja Boy wack. And I dont like his music. And he lame. You think Im gonna stop getting to the money because of that? Man, thats the [most] retarded shit I ever heard in my life. Never! Never would I stop because of thatIt gotta be something a hundred times more, way more, important than a hater [dissin me]. Like if they [eventually] say, Soulja Boy stopped his career and his legacy because of some haters, thatd be the dumbest stuff I ever heard, man.
DX: You did seem to let the Ice-T diss [click to read] get to you a little bit though. Whyd you even respond to him? Why not just brush it off?
Soulja Boy: Because he was doing more than hatin. He told me eat a dick. That aint hatin, thats personal right there. Now you can say Soulja Boys music is wack. You can say I suck. You can say this all day. But once you get to saying like eat a dick or something like that, thats some other words right there. That aint hatin. Thats on some other stuff. So I had to address that.
DX: Did you ever like get a chance to chop it up with him direct to try to like?
Soulja Boy: Nah, I aint never talk to him. They tried to set up a phone conversation, [but] I aint wanna talk to him. I aint got nothing to say to him.
DX: Howd it feel when Kanye West came to Soulja Boys defense during all that?
Soulja Boy: Aww I mean, ya know, shout out to Kanye. That was just another person holding me down. And basically, it is what it is, man. Like, I dont even know why I gotta have Kanye West to come and back me. I dont even know why Im being in the media like that in the first place.
DX: Just out of curiosity, how do most artists act around you? Do they talk shit to your face?
Soulja Boy: Hell nah! [Laughs] Aww, I cant believe you asked me that. Nah man, I aint never hadI mean, I done seen on like Hip Hop blogsites where people hate [on me]. But never ever, ever, ever has anybody ever said something to my face. And I dont even know whatll happen when that day come, if that day comes. But it aint never happened yet though.
DX: Now we talked about the hate, but explain to those who dont understand why more than a million fans love Soulja Boy.
Soulja Boy: Because man, its people out there who love Soulja Boy with a passion, believe it or not. As much as the haters hate Soulja Boy, its a fan out there that loves me a hundred times more than you hate me. That aint hard to believe, because you can go to YouTube and type in Soulja Boy and see all my fans. But what has a lot of popularity, and what has a lot of fame, comes with hate and negative comments, period. You cant name nothing thats popular, or nothing thats in the public eye, that doesnt have negative comments [aimed at it]. Look at Barack Obama. Look how many haters he got, and hes the President of the United States right now. Look at John McCain. He got haters too. Anything that has popularity has hate, period. It aint nothing that you can name [that dont].
DX: I read where you said youre not really worried about gaining respect as an emcee from people who dont like you anyway [click to read]. So what motivates you when youre making music just to have fun, orwhats the motivation?
Soulja Boy: The fans. Every Sunday I do a concert with over 30,000 peopleIm on the Battle of the Bands Tour. I do a [show] every Sunday. I do a different football stadium that has over 30,000 people at every show. Once I go to my concert, and its 30,000 people in the crowd and they singing my songs word-for-word, and all of them out there supporting me, and all of em out there getting the album, requesting my songs on the radio, I mean, thats all I need. You gotta actually see the world through my eyes, or you gotta walk a day in my shoes, and then maybe youll get more of an understanding of why I do what I do. But basically man, I just do it for me, and I do it for the people who love me, period.
DX: So whats the direction of the new album: if it aint broke dont fix it, or are you doing something different this time out?
Soulja Boy: I did a dance song, I did Bird Walk, [so] I did a dance song like Crank That. I got songs on there as far as likeI got a song on the album called Easy, and basically its just saying how I make the rap game look so easy and all these rappers struggling to sell records. And then like Im the most hated dude in the game but Im selling more records than everybody who hate me. Everybody saying I aint got no lyrics, and Im spittin bubblegum rhymes, but Im selling more albums than your favorite crack-spittin emcee. So basically, its just like me [bluntly saying] Im making the game look so easy [while] you trying so hard. And Im not trying at all and Im doing 20 times better than youBut this album man, I stepped up my production from the last album. I worked with a lot of different producers, from Drumma Boy [click to read], to Beethoven, to Polow Da Donmyself, my homeboy Arab. I got a lot of different features, from my mentor Gucci Mane [click to read], my homeboy Yo Gotti, Shawty Lo, T.I. [click to read], Sean Kingston, Bow Wow. I got a lot of different artists featured on the album. But basically man, I just made good music, thats all. For the people who love me, they gon really, really, really love this album. And for the haters, they might even like it too.
DX: You confident Bird Walk [click to view] is gonna be as big as Crank That?
Soulja Boy: Nah, I dont think Bird Walk gonna be bigger than Crank That at all. I think Crank That really is an untopable record. It was the number one song in the world, so no, of course Bird Walk aint gon top Crank That. I know that. But I know that I can create enough good music and sell enough records that Ill be happy with myself. And I know that this album is capable of going platinum again with no problem.
DX: And thats a statement in 2008.
Soulja Boy: Yep.
DX: I see your album is droppin the same day as ya boy Bow Wows. You wanna make a prediction on who gets the most sales that week between you, Bow, 50 Cent, and Plies?
Soulja Boy: I think Ima get Bow Wow. I think Ima get Plies [click to read]. I dont know about 50 Cent [click to read] though. I think that might be a tough one right there to predict, I dont know.
DX: Now I mentioned Bow Wow, and you were behind the boards for his hit Marco Polo. You talked about your production, are you planning on doing more production for artists outside of yourself and your own crew?
Soulja Boy: Yeah man, right now Im working on Chingys album. Im working on Twistas [click to read] album. I got a song that I did for Chingy that should be releasing pretty soon called Turn It Up, a real crazy record. Thats gonna be another hit coming from behind Soulja Boy Tell Em. So you know, Im working just with a lot of different artists basically. I think its gonna be a lot more Soulja Boy-produced hit records coming out. And its gonna have the game scratching they head. But I dont really wanna just get on no Lil Wayne [click to read] type stuff and just get on everybody records. I just wanna make enough hits to make a statement [like], You see that. Come get one.
DX: Did I read correct that youre about to have a TV show?
Soulja Boy: I got a cartoon coming out. I was gonna do a TV show at first, but it was too time consuming for my schedule to finish up my album and to do touring and all these different things that I wanna do. I got a cartoon coming out though called Soulja Boy Tell Em. Itll be coming out at the end of this month. And you can go to my website, Souljaboytellem.com, to get more information on it. But its gon be funny as hell though.
DX: And finally, I just wanna get your thoughts on Barack Obama winning the Presidential election.
Soulja Boy: I YouTubed when I went and voted. You can go to YouTube and type in Soulja Boy votes [to see that]. It was just a historical moment, because it was my first time voting and my first time voting the person who I voted for won and [he] was a black President. I think that in 2008 we are living in the future, man. With everything that Im seeing thats going on I think that now its actually turning into that new beginning for real.