Photo: Prince Williams/Wireimage via Getty Images
  /  01.18.2019


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.

One of the first interviews to cause a ruckus this year was Soulja Boy’s appearance on “The Breakfast Club” this past Wednesday (Jan. 16) where the rapper pleaded his case for having the biggest comeback of 2018. While most rap fans — including hosts Charlamagne The God, DJ Envy, and Angela Yee — cast their votes for Tyga and Meek Mill having the most impressive comeback, Soulja’s insistence that his year was more successful drew more than a few eye rolls and chuckles.

However, while Soulja’s reasoning behind his statement was ludicrous, the rapper did make a few valid points that got lost in translation, particularly his influence on some of the biggest stars in rap. His outlandish antics may overshadow his merits. But, at one time, Soulja was viewed as a maverick and visionary. Catapulting himself to the forefront of the rap game at age 17, Soulja was one of the first true DIY artists to strike gold off the strength of the internet. Laying out a blueprint that has been followed by countless rappers over the past decade, the rapper’s brilliance may be understated. But, his imprint on the rap game cannot be debated.

In light of him being a pioneer and helping revolutionize hip hop in the new millennium, here are nine reasons we need to put some respect on Soulja Boy’s name.

1. His Debut Single Was Record Breaking

In 2007, Soulja Boy’s debut single, “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” took the world by storm, peaking atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart for several weeks. Within a year of its release, it was announced that “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” had set the record for most digital downloads in the U.S. with over three million units sold. This made him the first rapper to achieve that feat.

2. He Created His First Album Using Fruity Loops

Long before rappers were using software programs to create music from the comfort of their bedroom, Soulja Boy proved to be ahead of the curve. He utilized FL Studio to craft the beats for his debut album, “Just a PC,” Soulja explained to 50 Cent about the making of his album during a 2007 appearance on “Rap City.” “Yeah, no instruments or nothing. Just a PC and a software on there called FL Studio and just the beat and that was it.”

3. He Helped Set Off The Internet-Dance Craze

One aspect of “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” that elevated its popularity was the song’s accompanying dance, which spread like wildfire with die-hard fans. Transcending hip hop to become a mainstream fad, the “Crank That” dance was the first in rap history go viral on the internet and it helped inspire the various dance challenges that have become the norm in the last decade.

4. He Popularized YouTube As A Platform For Artists

Soulja Boy was already a household name prior to signing with Interscope Records due to his popularity on YouTube, which the rapper used to help promote his music and build his buzz. One of the first rap artists to embrace YouTube, Soulja’s “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” video amassed tens of millions of views, a first for a relatively unknown artist. Due to the overwhelming success that came from using the platform, other inspired artists followed suit. This resulted in YouTube becoming an integral asset for breaking new artists and music.

5. He’s A Grammy-Nominated Artist

Soulja Boy’s music has been maligned at times for what some see as a lack of substance and depth. But, he has achieved what a number of more acclaimed artists have yet to attain: a Grammy nomination. In 2008, “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” was included in the category for Best Rap Song at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards, making him among the youngest rap artists in history to earn a nod from the committee. While “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” ultimately lost out to “Good Life” by Kanye West and T-Pain, the moment helped validate Soulja as a credible artist of merit from the most respected institution in music.

6. He Helped Pioneer Troll Culture

Rappers like 2Pac and 50 Cent are two of the poster children when it comes to beef. But, Soulja was among the first to shift the tide of rap spats being violent to them being comedic. His war of words with the likes of Ice-T, Bow Wow and others often included more humor than vitriol. This new beef tactic has served as a precursor to the likes of Lil Yachty, 6ix9ine and other trolls who have followed in his footsteps.

7. His Musical Style Influenced A Generation of Rappers

Names like Lil Wayne, Drake, and Gucci Mane are often mentioned when listing the most influential artists of this generation. But, Soulja Boy has as good of a case as anybody in that group. Initially pegged as the antithesis of what hip hop represents by rap purists, over time; Soulja’s simplistic lyrics, catchy refrains, and sparse production would become the method of choice for aspiring rappers looking to make their way in the game. Listen to music by the “mumble-rap” set of today and you’re bound to hear traces of Soulja’s style in their songs. This is a testament to his impact on the landscape of rap.

8. He Revolutionized How Artists Market Themselves Online

First gaining prominence on SoundClick, Soulja’s usage of various social media platforms to connect with his audience online directly helped ingratiate him to fans in a way that had never been seen before. Originally more popular among independent artists, the rapper being able to translate internet hype into mainstream success opened not only the eyes of fellow artists, but their record labels. Over time, social media became a prerequisite for artists looking to survive in an industry that had gone from analog to digital, and Soulja Boy was at the forefront of that evolution.

9. His Acumen As A Businessman

Every artist in rap seems to be expanding their portfolio and championing the DIY approach these days. But, Soulja can be credited for taking an active interest in being a businessman from the beginning of his career. Leveraging his success in the music world into lucrative opportunities in other industries, the artist amassed partnerships with numerous companies over the years. Delving into fashion, gaming, online gambling and other arenas; his approach to entertaining the public may be whimsical and lighthearted. But, his acumen as a business is nothing to take lightly.

More by Preezy Brown:




View More



View More


Walmart has the home essentials for everyone on your holiday shopping list

Below, our gift guide highlights some of our favorite Walmart finds for anyone in need of a home refresh.

  /  11.24.2023

5 things you need to know about the 2023 Billboard Music Awards

“REVOLT Black News” correspondent Kennedy Rue counts down the top five moments from the 2023 Billboard Music Awards, including surprising wins, historic firsts, and dope performances. Sponsored by Amazon.

  /  11.20.2023

The Auditions | 'Shoot Your Shot'

The competition begins at REVOLT WORLD as rising rappers, singers, and musicians line up to audition for their spot on the main stage. Brought to you by McDonald’s.

  /  11.28.2023

Dig In & Drink Up | 'Bet on Black'

In this new episode of ‘Bet on Black,’ food and beverage take center stage as aspiring Black entrepreneurs from It’s Seasoned, Black Farmer Box, and Moors Brewing Co. present their business ideas to judges with mentorship from Melissa Butler. Watch here!

  /  11.15.2023

Walmart brings in heavy-hitters for Black and Unlimited Tour panel

REVOLT is continuing its impactful partnership with Walmart by teaming up to showcase Black creatives at HBCUs all-across America. The panel consisted of three experienced, accomplished Black HBCU alumni: Actor and media personality Terrence J, entertainment attorney John T. Rose, and actress and “REVOLT Black News” correspondent Kennedy-Rue McCullough.

  /  11.30.2023

Walmart's Makers Studio at REVOLT WORLD transformed passion into progress

Take a look inside the Makers Studio presented by Walmart at REVOLT WORLD, a space where Black creators could hone in on their brand and see it come to life.

  /  12.04.2023

Dr. Jaqueline Echols' mission to cure environmental racism

The health of a community can often be traced to the health of the environment that surrounds it. In Atlanta, a woman named Dr. Jaqueline Echols has dedicated her life to helping ensure that people in economically underserved communities have clean rivers – for better health and for the joy of outdoor recreational space.

  /  12.01.2023

Walmart's Opportunity Center at REVOLT WORLD empowered HBCU students

Fly Guy DC taps in with REVOLT WORLD attendees to learn what the Opportunity Center, presented by Walmart, means to them and their futures.

  /  12.04.2023

Meet The Semifinalists | 'Shoot Your Shot'

Get to know our semifinalists a little better. Learn what motivated them to shoot their shot, as well as how they describe their personality, and sound.

  /  12.05.2023

The $200,000 goes to… | 'Bet on Black'

In the season finale of “Bet on Black,” special guest judge Ray J joins as the finalists take the main stage to show they have what it takes to win the $200,000 grand prize; Melissa Butler and Eunique Jones Gibson mentor. Presented by Target.

  /  12.04.2023

So Phresh, so clean | 'Bet on Black'

There’s only one round left as the last few founders – Terra-Tory, Phreshly, and ConditionHER – pitch to the “Bet on Black” judges for their chance in the finals and winning the grand prize; Eunique Jones Gibson mentors. Watch here!

  /  12.04.2023

Fly Guy DC highlighted HBCU students' passion and pride at REVOLT WORLD

Walmart supports HBCU students and encourages them to be Black & Unlimited. Fly Guy DC talked to a few at REVOLT WORLD about how being an HBCU student has changed their lives.

  /  12.05.2023

Investing in stocks in a recession | 'Maconomics'

Host Ross Mac provides useful advice for preparing your personal finances in the event of a recession. He emphasizes the importance of budgeting properly, building an emergency fund, and maintaining discipline when investing.

  /  11.21.2023

16 best hip hop video games of all time

From Def Jam: Vendetta, Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style, DJ Hero and more, we list our favorite hip hop videos games of all time. Did yours make the cut? 

  /  11.06.2023

DDG has his sights set on becoming a fashion hero & talks Halle Bailey being his "best friend"

In this exclusive interview, DDG opens up about his fashion inspiration, what drew him to girlfriend Halle Bailey, dealing with negative opinions about his relationship, and more. Read up!

  /  11.28.2023

17 rappers named after food to make you crave their music

Here’s a list of rappers who are named after food. Enjoy — or shall we say, “Bon appetit”? 

  /  11.21.2023

Former kid rappers we loved: Where are they now?

From taking over the playground to dominating the rap game, many young artists have made music history. Check them out and where their journeys have taken them here! 

  /  11.13.2023

11 T-Pain lyrics to spit the perfect game

T-Pain has a way with the ladies. Take inspiration from 11 of his most flirtatious lyrics to level up your game.

  /  11.29.2023

17 of Megan Thee Stallion's most motivational lyrics

The artist has remained remarkably consistent in her song lyrics about making money, telling off haters and feeling liberated since her debut.

  /  11.07.2023

27 Drake lyrics that are perfect Instagram captions

The next time you’re looking for a caption for your perfectly curated Instagram, there’s a 95 percent chance that Drizzy’s got you!

  /  11.08.2023
View More
Revolt - New Episodes