Soulja Boy is undoubtedly a trailblazer in the hip hop industry, and he’s willing to make sure that everybody knows. The rapper has many accomplishments that are proof positive of his impact on music including, but not limited to, the viral success of his 2007 hit and accompanying dance “Crank That (Soulja Boy).”
Speaking with DJ Nyla Simone on a special bonus episode of REVOLT’s “Off Top,” Soulja revealed he didn’t expect the success that came with the song when he posted it on YouTube. “When I started it, I didn’t think that it would, like, be a blueprint. I was just kind of just doing me. That was my only alternative in the trenches with no way out. I’m like, ‘Yo, how can I get my music out to the people?’ and I couldn’t get on radio. I couldn’t get on TV. So, I had to take the internet and all phones,” he said.
Big Draco’s internet-savviness also helped him push “Crank That” on formerly popular music downloading platforms Bearshare and Limewire. He confessed to Simone that he renamed his songs on the platform to the titles of chart-topping hits to gain traction. “I was looking at the charts and just looking at the most downloaded songs on the platform. And it was like, whatever was hiding at the top — I think it was like 50 Cent and Britney Spears off the top of my head — and I remember I just uploaded like my first couple of songs. One of those was ‘Crank That,’” the rapper explained. “And I just renamed it ‘50 Cent - In The Club’ and like Britney Spears — whatever her song was — whoever else was on the top ten chart. Then like, couple of days went by and it was like 25,000 downloads. 50,000 downloads. It just kept going — 100,000 downloads, 200 — and it got into the millions to where I was on charts too.”
Fast forward a few years later, the artist continues to advance the rap game with his technological contributions. Aside from his investments in cryptocurrency, he established Soulja Boy TV during quarantine. The platform features exclusive content for fans, as well as a glimpse into his creative process when he’s making music. Soulja proudly states that he was the first rapper to ever go live prior to the founding of Soulja Boy TV. “We had something called Kyte. I don’t know if you remember that… And you can stream straight from the phones — kyte phone, and I would just go live on that before live was even a thing,” he clarified. “On Soulja Boy TV, my platform is on Twitch. But, I’ve been on Twitch, I was the first rapper on Twitch. I was on Twitch when it was called Justin TV. It wasn’t even called Twitch. That’s how far I go back.”
Soulja Boy TV is only one of the things that Draco is working on. The rapper previously released songs “Triple Double,” “She Make It Clap,” and “Rick and Morty” — two of which have trended on the back of viral TikTok dances. When asked by Simone how he stays up-to-date with the evolving sound of music over a decade later, Soulja says both the internet and his younger associates keep him in the loop. “I’m always tapped in. Then I’ll be just on the internet. In the streets. So you just run into different things and stuff like that. I’m just type artist where like — not even artist, but the type of person where like I’m gonna tap in and listen to it.”
The hip hop pioneer toggles a number of different titles including being a producer. The artist teased his production credits on songs for Chance The Rapper, Lil Wayne, Justin Bieber and Kanye West. Soulja also worked on production for his album, Big Draco, which he says is different from his previous projects. “I done just evolved as an artist, you know what I’m saying? I’m just in a whole other zone than I’ve been in musically. I feel it. So, like I just wanted people to enjoy the music like they’ve been doing and it ain’t really too much pressure.”
Simone asked him about his experience being in the studio with Diddy, as well as if he’s learned anything from the music mogul. He responded, “Definitely. It’s always dope being in the studio with Diddy…because he was in game before me. So, it’s different from working with a new artist where it’s like I’m kind of like teaching you, whereas like I’m kind of learning from him. You know what I’m saying? So, it’s way different.” Diddy isn’t the only one dropping gems. Soulja also says he’s learned from Ye’s production skills.
While Soulja is no stranger to giving himself his flowers, Simone wanted to know if he feels he’s gotten the same recognition from the music industry. Though he feels that he has, he further emphasizes it so people know to give him his credit. “I forgot the quote that I’m looking for, but you know what I’m talking about. Like, only the strong survive, so it’s like you gotta — you gotta put your foot down. I had to let them folks know what’s going on. Now they know.”
Watch Soulja Boy’s full “Off Top” interview above!