Five years since he first signed up for SoundClick, DeAndre Cortez Way has done what many believed just two short years ago was still the impossible: the now 20-year-old target for anyone young or old with a gripe about the current state of Hip Hop to hurl their frustrations at has firmly established himself in the music biz, surviving the sophomore jinx following his second major-label LP, iSouljaboytellem, and its “Turn My Swag On” success.
And now having solidified his place in the game, (to surely his detractors displeasure), Soulja Boy is preparing to take what will likely be his third victory lap with The DeAndre Way (due in stores today, November 30th).
He may not be cranking out “Crank That”-style dance sensations now that he’s made it to his junior release, but #18 on Forbes’ annual list of Hip Hop’s top 20 earners (with over $6 million netted) is still managing to sell massive amounts of CDs, downloads, ringtones, concert tickets, (and anything else not nailed down to the ground), during one of the most difficult economic periods in American history.
And no matter what he does – good or bad – the young entrepreneur manages to keep everyone reading this piece promoting for him by discussing Soulja Boy nearly nonstop. HipHopDX spoke to SB on Monday, (November 29th), about the irony of having his detractors function as promoters for him by incessantly commenting on the headlines that DX’s loyal readers refuse to ignore, including “Soulja Boy Takes A Shot At Lupe Fiasco?,” “Soulja Boy Addresses Kat Stacks, Cocaine Allegations,” and more tantalizing topics of discussion that Hip Hop’s most polarizing figure provided his response to during his discussion with DX – sensational statements that all of his promoters will predictably put to good use in the comment section below.
HipHopDX: Last time we spoke was a month before iSouljaBoyTellem dropped. The hatin’ on you was at an all-time high at that point. [Laughs] So before we get to the formal Q&A, is there anything you wanna say to the haters that was praying to the Hip Hop gods two years ago that you would just be a one-hit wonder?
Soulja Boy: I just wanna tell ‘em thanks for the love. [Laughs] I wanna tell ‘em this my third major album, The DeAndre Way, and we just grindin’ and we living good.
DX: I don’t understand how muthafuckas who claim they hate you stay reading and commenting on every single Soulja Boy-related post we put up to DX.
Soulja Boy: I know, that’s crazy, man. I see it. It’s like, they showing attention, so they [must] care.
DX: You give people plenty to talk about. You always seem to have a crazy-ass headline on the site, like this one from November 5th: “Soulja Boy Takes A Shot At Lupe Fiasco?” Can you elaborate a little bit on what you were saying to XXL about not wanting “to be super-Lupe-Fiasco lyrical…”?
Soulja Boy: They didn’t [publish] my whole statement. And basically, the interviewer dude, he was asking me why do I make lyrical songs like “Only God Knows,” “Born”… “The World So Cold,” and why do I make non-lyrical songs like “Crank That” and “Pretty Boy Swag”? And he was like, why don’t I just be lyrical all the time? And I was telling him on [a] specific song, like “Pretty Boy Swag,” I ain’t wanna be all lyrical. I just wanted to be straight-up, and just be simple, [so] people can get what I’m saying ‘cause it’s a club song. But I wasn’t saying as far as my whole music [output, with] all of my songs, that I don’t wanna be rappin’ like Lupe Fiasco. And they took it the wrong way, or whatever, and they blew it up. But I don’t even care, ‘cause controversy sells. And when that hit, Lupe hit me up and he was like, “Yo man, what’s up?” I was like, “Nah man, they just blew it outta proportion. I actually was giving you compliments.” And after that we chopped it up. We ‘bout to do a song [together].
DX: You went on in that XXL interview to explain that you wanna be recognized as one of the best rappers in the game and win Grammy’s. You might just get one for the appropriately-titled “Grammy” off your new album. That’s gotta be one of the tightest verses you ever spit.
Soulja Boy: Thank you, man. Thank you. Bruh, that means a lot. When I was working on that song I was like, man, I really believe that I deserve a Grammy. And I know what it’s gon’ take to get it. It’s gon’ take for me to step it up musically, and it’s gon’ take for me to just keep proving myself and just keep grindin’ and working. And once I get to that point, I’ll look back at all this and say it all was worth it.
DX: “Kidnap the world till they pay my ransom.” I love that line.
Soulja Boy: Thank you.
DX: “I don’t have time to rhyme, but I do have time to grind…I understand the fans, supply and demand.” I can’t knock the hustle, but I felt some hate creep into my system when I saw the headline from November 1st: “Soulja Boy Explains Digital Media To Wall St. Journal.” I was hatin’ till I watched the video of that interview and you rattled off those numbers! How the hell did you get five million people to pay to call you 50 million times thru SayNow?
Soulja Boy: Man, see that’s a whole ‘nother thing! …When I was speaking with Wall Street Journal, [I explained to them that] I made that song “Kiss Me Thru The Phone” and I put my SayNow phone number, 678-999-8212, [in the song] and everybody [who] was listening to the song, they didn’t know what it was [at first]. But I bet you that kids was calling that number all night trying to speak to Soulja Boy. And what I was telling Wall Street Journal was that’s just how I promote anything that I’m trying to do. And [the promotion] just been increasing ever since I released “Crank That.” I been working with [SayNow] since before I got signed to Interscope Records… People looking at my Twitter followers like, "Oh, he got 2.5 million Twitter followers, or he got 500 million views on YouTube and this and that." [But] I’m like, man, you not even paying attention to what’s really behind all the marketing.
DX: SayNow is free though, right? So this is more for promotion than paper.
Soulja Boy: Exactly.
DX: How much of your hustle are you breaking down for folks in your upcoming Teenage Millionaire book?
Soulja Boy: I’m really just giving people all of my theories on what I believe got me here in the game, and why I’m here and doing what I’m doing. A lot of people say it was luck and he’s gonna be a one-hit wonder and things like that, [but] this gon’ really break down and give people more insight on me, my life and my career. And just making a million dollars at 17 [and how that will] change any person’s life.
DX: So when’s the book gonna hit store shelves?
Soulja Boy: It’s gonna hit store shelves at 12 a.m. tonight, [November 30th].
DX: From reading the DX piece from November 8th with the headline “Soulja Boy Shares Lessons Learned From Kanye West And 50 Cent” I learned that 50 inspired you to write that book, and Kanye inspired you to buy an MPC. [Laughs]
Soulja Boy: Yeah, yeah. And what was crazy about that, when I got in the studio with Kanye [West], all I was using was my laptop with the software FL Studio. And Kanye come in with like three pianos, like three different MP’s. I’m looking around and I’m just like, “Wow, he’s taking production to a whole ‘nother level.” I was like, “Yo, I really need to expand on [what I’m doing].” I picked up that from Kanye, and I picked up a couple of different business moves from 50. So, it was well [worth] linking up with both of them.
DX: You made “Do It Big” on the MPC? That shit goes hard.
Soulja Boy: Yeah! [For] “Do It Big” I [used]…it’s this machine, it’s called Maschine [from Native Instruments]. And I actually got in contact with the company after I started making beats on it. And man, that really just – The first beat that I actually made on that was “30 Thousand 100 Million” with me and [my artist] Lil B… And I just started switching it up after that, just growing musically.
DX: Polow da Don did “Grammy,” Boi-1da did “Speakers Going Hammer,” why’d you fall back and let other producers do most of the album?
Soulja Boy: I really just wanted to open up [to] the things that I couldn’t quite grasp on [to]. I feel like I’m a good producer, but I still have my limitations [with] my sound. And I just wanted to grasp different sounds, that’s all.
DX: Now, “Do It Big” is on the deluxe edition of The DeAndre Way. You really are a hustler making folks pay three extra bucks for four songs they probably shoulda got anyway. [Laughs]
Soulja Boy: [Laughs] I mean, it’s two different albums, man. One of ‘em is 10 songs. It was a hard process [to narrow down to 10 songs]. I recorded around 100 songs. So narrowing it down to 14 and 10 [songs for each version of the album] was a process for me. But I felt like I got it down to where I can put the CD in and not skip to a favorite song and just play through it and get a good listen.
DX: That original [10 song] version is really cheap though too. I think it’s like eight bucks on Amazon or something like that.
Soulja Boy: Exactly, man. We gotta have the best of both worlds for the economy right now.
DX: I wanna wrap things up by asking you about two recent headlines you had on DX that are tied together. First, is there anything else you wanna say about your craziest headline of the year, [and] you know what it is: “Soulja Boy Addresses Kat Stacks, Cocaine Allegations”?
Soulja Boy: Um…let me see, well, it’s November the 29th, and how I feel about that situation now…uh…uh…I don’t know. It’s whatever. It’s not good or it’s not bad. It was a mistake. I learned from it. It is what it is, man. I’m tied up in the media, swagged up, I don’t give a fuck. [Laughs]
DX: [Laughs] I mean, were you quoted correctly when you said that you really “love” that broad?
Soulja Boy: Man, hell nah! Hell nah! I’ll clear that up, man. Blow this up on HipHopDX – Nah, don’t blow this up on HipHopDX, ‘cause I really don’t wanna give her no more attention. But man, I was just joking around. I was being sarcastic. And I guess the radio interview person was like, okay, he wanna be sarcastic [so] I’ma make him look like a ass. And that’s just what that was. But nah, I don’t love that bitch.
DX: And as for the cocaine stuff, the only white girl you should be fuckin’ wit’ is them big-breasted blonde college chicks. [Laughs]
Soulja Boy: [Laughs] Yeah man, I deny them allegations. I ain’t never did [cocaine]. I ain’t never been in no rehab centers or nothing like that. I’m too young for that. Y’all don’t believe that. That’s too crazy, they whylin’ out on ya boy.
DX: That Kat Stacks shit led to your second craziest headline of 2010: “Soulja Boy Attacks Fabolous On Twitter.”
Soulja Boy: [Laughs]
DX: [Laughs] Was you really ready to battle Fab on the mic?
Soulja Boy: Yeah man, I was ready to take it to Hip Hop. We could put the shit on wax, man. And that coulda – But hey, I ain’t got nothing against Fabolous. Fabolous [is] the homie. He was just joking around… Shouts out to Fabolous. We fin to do a song [together] real soon.