You know, in a sense, it is quite a surprise Soulja Boy is still around, a year after he scored one of the biggest digital singles of all time: the triple-platinum juggernaut, “Crank Dat (Soulja Boy).” At a time when every other ringtone rapper who emerged in 2007â€”the same year as heâ€”has gone the way of the Beta tape, Soulja Boy lingers on like a turd in a latrine that has just been flushed. When was the last time you heard from Rich Boy, MIMS, the Shop Boyz, Huey and Baby Boy? What, youâ€™re still thinking about it?
Blame it all on the 700,000-plus people who purchased Soulja Boyâ€™s full-length debut (which I believe was one of the worst rap albums of 2007); the fact that he scored two follow-up Billboard Hot 100 singles in “Soulja Girl” (#32) and “Yahhh!” (#48); and the dubious assistance he provided V.I.C. in being a ringtone hit-maker like himself (He appears as a co-producer and in the video for “Get Silly”). Soulja Boy just wasnâ€™t going away.
But by the end of this year, however, it has become apparent that Soulja Boy has become more famous (or more accurately, infamous), for his exploits outside the studio than in it. With no inane, simplistic singles to pester the public with, the wiry teenager has become hip-hopâ€™s favorite punching bag for everything that fans perceive is wrong with the genre these days. (Only Lilâ€™ Wayne rivals him in this regard. And is 50 Cent still alive?) If Ice-T is not telling him that he needs to feast on a certain delicate part of the male anatomy, he is proving why he should consider upgrading his intellectual faculties by thanking slavemastersâ€”if for nothing else apart from donning metaphorical, glimmering equivalents of the devices that bound his ancestors in captivity.
And donâ€™t get me started on the e-thugs who litter the comment boards of hip-hop sites everywhere, verbally pummeling him with some of the coarsest words known to Man.
I donâ€™t see that changing with the release of Soulja Boyâ€™s sophomore album, iSouljaBoyTellEm. Thereâ€™s the album title: Whatâ€™s with the self-obsession? Remove the “i” and add the “dot com” to it, and it is the exact titular replica of his debut. Is this guy so bereft of imagination that he cannot even come up a remarkably different title? Yeah, youâ€™re Soulja Boy! We got it, like, a gazillion times already!
Maybe that is indicative of what to expect from the album, which I fearâ€”and I shudder greatly when I think of thisâ€”is even worse than the one that preceded it. And maybe, just maybe, the high level of derision for Soulja Boy will be commensurate with his workâ€™s commercial reception from this point onward. Itâ€™s already happening. How many people know that Soulja Boy has dropped four singles already for his latest project? Heck, it only took a browsing of BETâ€”which, in my humble estimation, is one of the most abominable TV channels currently in existenceâ€”for me to realize that “Bird Walk” was out. And was I surprised that it attempts to be a pathetic copy of “Crank Dat” (down to the “Youuuuuuu” refrain and dance-oriented vibe), let alone stalled at #40 and #19 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hop Rap Tracks charts respectively?
If you bet 20 bucks that I was, better hand over the dough to your buddy right now.
But ultimately, in another sense, you know what? Itâ€™s about time this happened. For all his campaigning to have his new album go platinum the first week, Iâ€™d be supremely surprised if this guy sells more than 50,000 copies.
Word of advice to Soulja Boy: You might want to hold on to your money a little more preciously. At least you have an idea of the fact that lightning will not strike twice.
And get an education.